Ready Set Read!

race car
By: Anna Ludlum

Growing Independence

Rationale: In order to for children to be able to read a sufficient amount of text in a certain amount of time they need to be able to read fluently and skillfully. Reading fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically. Fluent readers learn to read fast and smoothly but also with expression.  By gaining fluency, students also gain comprehension skills because they do not have to focus on sounding out the words.  The goal of this lesson is to help students develop reading fluency using timed reading. 

Charts to record one-minute reads (one for each child)- the chart could be a racecar that moves forward on a track as the students increases words per minute.  Use Velcro to attach the racecar.  The words per minute would be written vertically on a page, and The faster the child reads, the further his/her racecar can go.

Multiple copies of Arthur's Reading Race, by Marc Brown. 

Multiple copies of James and the Good Day.

Fluency checklists (The checklist will include headings such as: read fast, read slow, stopped many times, or no stopping during reading.)


1. Explain to students that to become better readers we must begin to read fluency which mean reading faster, automatically, and effortlessly.  “Becoming more fluent readers will make reading easier and more fun!  One way to becoming a fluent reader is by rereading the same story and each time getting faster because you are more familiar with the book.  Today we are going to read a book and then reread it with better fluency.  First let’s review how you can figure out a word own your own that you are stuck on.  First use cover-ups: for example, if you wanted to figure out the word pan, first you would cover up everything but the vowel, a. The a makes the /a/ sound.  Then uncover the first letter, p.  The p makes the /p/ sound.  Now combine the sounds.  Next uncover the last letter, n.  The n makes the /n/ sound.  Combine all the sounds, pan.  Also remember to crosscheck.  If you get stuck, read the rest of the sentence to see what would make sense.”

2. "I am going to read a sentence two different ways. While I am reading I would like for everyone to notice the difference in the sentences."

Read the sentence first by sounding out each phoneme, and read the second time quick and smoothly. 

"Which one was smooth?" 

"Which was easier to understand and why do you think so? I will now read two other sentences, listen again for the difference of the two." 

Read the first time with in a monotone and dull manner, and the second time with excitement and enthusiasm—expression. 

"Which time did you better understand what I read?" 

Next explain to the student how reading with expression can make reading fun and easier to understand.

3. “First we will read Arthur's Reading Race. In this book Arthur learns to read, he likes it so much he reads in the car, in the bed, to his puppy, and even to his sister D.W. Arthur tells D.W. he will teach her how to read, but she says she already knows how to read. Arthur doesn't believe her and they set out to see if she could actually read. Let's read to find out if D.W. proves Arthur wrong.  Since we will be practicing how to increase our reading speed. We will be reading the book several times, so we can increase fluency while also reading faster." 

4. Handout a copy of the book to each student.  Have the students read the story quietly to themselves first. If students finish early they can reread the story.

5. After reading, discuss the story with the class.  Ask questions to check for students understanding of what they read.  “Could Arthur’s sister read?”  “How did he find out?” Allow students to reflect and make comments.

6. Introduce the fluency checklist to the class and go over how to fill it out.  “If your partner reads fast check here, stops too many times, check here, etc.” Divide the students into partners.  Have each person read the story to his/her partner all the way through one time.  Next, have the partners take turns reading to each other while the one listening fills out a fluency checklist on the student reading.  Then they will switch and the other will read. The checklist will include headings such as read fast, read slow, stopped many times, or no stopping during reading, etc...  The students will have to make a check under the headings that apply.

7. Assess the students by having them individually come to teacher’s desk and have the students read the book to you as you do a one-minute read.  Record each student’s time and chart his or her times on a graph.  As you test students have the other students read the new book James and the Good Day that you will reread tomorrow.


Reading Genie Website

"Speedy Gonzoloz" by Lauren Reynolds

"Reading Like Rabbits" by Michelle Strowd


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