Get Ready to Race!

Haley Davis

Growing Independence and Fluency

Rationale: To read fluently, a student must read quickly, smoothly, and expressively.  In addition, word recognition must be automatic for students to comprehend what they read.  If word recognition is automatic, reading becomes an enjoyable activity for a student.  In order to become automatic in word recognition, students should read and re-read connected, decodable texts.  The more exposure a student has to a specific text, the more fluent he/she becomes.  In this lesson, students will learn how to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively in order to gain fluency.  Students will do this through repeated readings and one-minute reads.


1. A marker board with the sentence "We loaded on to the bus after school."  written on it

2. Individual pieces of paper with the sentence "My friends and I played baseball on Sunday afternoon." and a corresponding picture on them

3. A large piece of paper for each student that has a racetrack printed (or painted) on it; on the track there should be a place to track words per minute (charts should go up to one-hundred words per minute)

4. Velcro (to stick the cars on the words per minute racetrack

5. Small cut outs of cars for each student (these will be put on the racetrack using Velcro)

6. Velcro to attach each racecar

7. One stopwatch for every two children

8. Multiple copies of In The Big Top and Charlie (enough of each book for every two children) (both books should be marked with pencil after every ten words so that the children can count the words)

9. Pencils for every child

1. Ask the students to look at the marker board.
 Read the sentence slowly and then quickly. “I am going to read a sentence twice and I want you to see if you notice anything that is different the second time I read it. Okay! Is everybody ready? Perfect! (Read) W-e loa-d-e-d th-e b-u-s a-f-t-e-r s-ch-oo-l. Listen again. (Then read) We loaded the bus after school. Raise your hand if you noticed a difference. Wonderful you are exactly right, the first time I read really slowly and it was not very interesting and fun. The second time I read it faster and it sounded a lot better. That is what good readers do when they read. It is very important for readers to read quickly and smoothly.  If we read quickly and smoothly, two things happen as we read: our reading sounds nice and we can understand what we read better.  Also, our reading becomes more fun and enjoyable! 
2. Pair the students into groups of two. Be sure to pair them off homogenously so that they can share a graph and be able to use the same book. Pass out paper with "My friends and I played baseball on Sunday afternoon."  “Now I am going to pair you into groups of two.  Each group is going to get a sentence to read. I want each person to read the sentence out loud to your partner.  Be sure to pay attention to the way it sounds the first time that each of you reads it.  After you have read it out loud, I want you to read the sentence silently to yourself five times.  Reading the sentence over and over will help it make more sense and sound better.  It will also help you read faster.  Then, read the sentence out loud to your partner again.” (Allow them to complete the activity.)  “Did you notice a difference from the first time that you read it aloud?  What made it sound better?  (Answer: It is quicker and smoother.)  Did it sound better when you read it the first time or the second time?  (Answer: The second time.)  Perfect!”
3. Pass out the stopwatches, cardboard racetracks, cars, and various books to each group. Instruct the students to conduct one-minute reads, record the number of words they read, and move their cars accordingly. Each student will do four one-minute reads.  “Now each group is going to practice using a real book!  While one member of the group reads the book, the other will be the timer.  The reader will be timed for one minute.  If you are the reader, I want you to read as many words as you can during the one minute.  If you come to a word that you do not know, use the cover-up strategy to try to figure it out. Let me show you how to do the cover-up strategy. (Model using cover-ups for the students) If cover-ups does not work, ask your partner for help.  I will walk around the room to help anyone who needs it. The reader will read for one minute four different times. After each one minute read, the reader will record the number of words that they read and move their car to that number on the race track. Then they will draw a star above their car. The stars will allow you to tell how much faster you read each time. I bet that your car will get farther and farther up the track with each reading that you do! Then you will switch so that the timer gets a chance to race to read!”

Assessment: Once everyone has finished, the student’s will turn in their racetracks making sure their names and the date is on it.  I will assess the children by looking at their progress charts.  The chart will show each student's beginning and ending point, which will allow me to see the improvement.


Eldredge, J. Lloyd.  Teaching Decoding in Holisitc Classrooms.  Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc., 1995. pp. 122-145

In The Big Top.  Phonics Readers Short Vowels.  Educational Insights.

Vaughan, Richard.  Charlie.  New Zealand, Scholastic, 1990. 24.

Adams, Jennifer. Off to the Races!

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