Go Speed Racer!
Growing Independence and Fluency
by Sara Roehm

Rationale: Fluent readers must begin to read with automaticity so they can focus on the meaning of the text. One-minute reads allow students to reread the same text numerous times and keep track of how many words they read each time. Ideally, the student will read more words each time he/she reads a text because the words become more familiar. It is also important that students comprehend what they read.

Materials:
* book- Arthur's Thanksgiving by Marc Brown (one copy per student or pair of students)
* rubric (one per student)
* stopwatches (one per pair of students)
* markers/ crayons
*board and chalk

Procedure:
1. Begin by reviewing cover-ups. "Class, we have talked about what to do when you are                 reading and come to a word you do not know. Who can tell me the strategy we use?                 Right, cover- ups. For example, (write stretch on the board) if I saw this word I would             cover up everything but the e, like so (cover the str and tch). I know that e=/e/. Now                 look at what comes before the vowel, str=/str/. Blend them together to get /str/ /e/. Now         look at the end of the word- tch=/ch/. Put it all together and you have /str/ /e/ /ch/.                 Whenever you see an unfamiliar word, use the cover up method to try to decode it."

2. Explain fluency. "Good readers are able to read fast because they read and reread a text.         The more times you read a book, the easier it is because you become more familiar with         the words. I am going to read a sentence from the story you will read with your partner.         'Ar---th----ur's cla---class was s-o qui--et you c--could h--ea--hear a p-p-pin dr-op.' This         is difficult to understand because I am not reading fluently. Now I will read the sentence         smoothly: 'Arthur's class was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop.'"

3. "Fluent readers must read fast, but thet must also understand what they read.                             Crosschecking is a way to make sure what you read makes sense. (Write this sentence on         the board: The cat ran away from the dog.) If  I read this sentence quickly and say 'The             car ran away from the dog', I would have to use my crosschecking skills to notice that a             car doesn't run from a dog, so the sentence doesn't make sense. I would then look back             and say 'Oh, the cat ran away from the dog.'"

4. Now have the students pair up (partners should already be assigned) and give each pair         a stopwatch, a copy of the book, some markers/crayons and 2 rubrics. Explain the                     directions ."I want you to read the whole book together. Then go back to the beginning.             One person will be the reder and the other person is the timer. The timer will start the             stopwatch as the reader begins to read. At one minute, the timer tells the reader to stop.         They will count how many words the reader read and record it on the graph/rubric. Use         a marker to color up to the number of words you read. Then switch roles. Each student             needs to be the reader 2 times. Record both numbers on your sheet using the first two             columns. Any questions?"

5. For assessment, have each student come up individually and do a one-minute read with         you. At the end, ask questions to check comprehension. Some sample questions include:         What part does Arthur have in the play? (director), What was the most important role of         all? (the turkey), or What did Francine give Arthur for lunch? (two chocolate cupcakes).         Questions will vary among students depending on how much of the story they read in             one minute. Then the will color in the last column.

References:
Brown, Marc Arthur's Thanksgiving. New York: Scolastic, Inc., 1983
Burns, Kim D. I Have the Need for Speed!!!
http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/breakthroughs/burnsgf.html
Eldredge, J. Lloyd Teaching Decoding in Holistic Classrooms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:                     Prentice Hall, Inc., pp122-145.