“Speedy Gonzalez Reading”



Growing Independence and Fluency

Kimberly Barton


Rationale: In order for students to learn how to read faster, smoother, and more expressively, they must become fluent readers. Fluency refers to a student’s ability to read words accurately and automatically. This lesson focuses on students’ development of the ability to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively. When a student accomplishes these tasks, he or she has gained fluency. In this lesson, fluency is gained through repeated reading, timed reading, and one-minute reads.


* “The dog plays all day long in the park.” written on the board

* Laminated cut outs of Speedy Gonzalez with Velcro on the back

* A laminated picture of a dusty pathway (like the desert) that is numbered from one end to the other with a block of cheese and a book at the end and pieces of Velcro by each number

* Class set of the book of What Will the Seal Eat?


  1. “Today we are going to work on a reading skill called fluency. Fluency is when you can read fast, smoothly, and also with expression. If we want to become fluent readers we must practice a lot though. I am going to read this sentence on the board without fluency. “Th-e  d-o-g  p-l-ay-s  a-ll  d-ay  i-n  th-e  p-a-r-k.” That was pretty hard to understand wasn’t it? Now I am going to read it fluently. (Point to each word as I read). “The dog plays all day in the park.” That was a lot easier to understand and it was faster, right? So we see how important it is for us to be able to read fluently. Sometimes when we are reading, we will come to words that we do not know. When that happens, remember to use your cover up critter, or cross check by reading the rest of the sentence, or pick out the vowel sound first and then read the beginning of the word and put it all together” (model each of these methods when explaining them).
  2. Split the class up into pairs.  Pass out to each student: a copy of the book What Will the Seal Eat, a Speed Record Sheet, a Fluency Literary Rubric, and a laminated Speedy Gonzalez cut out.
  3. I will explain to the students that one person is going to be the “reader” and the other is going to be the “recorder.”  After the first person has read, they will switch jobs. Then I will tell them that they will start at the beginning of the book and read for one minute.  I will be in charge of starting the stopwatch and telling the “reader” when to stop after one minute.  When I say stop, the reader will put his/her finger on the word they were on.  The “recorder” will count the words that the “reader” read and then record them on the Speed Record Sheet.  The “reader” will now move their Speedy Gonzalez up to the number on the pathway that matches the number of words they read.  The “recorder” will also fill in the Fluency Literary Rubric by coloring in the circles that describe how the “reader” did.  They will then switch roles and the “reader” becomes the “recorder.”  They will then follow the same steps in their new jobs.
  4. Allow the students to repeat this three times, in order to compare their results.
  5. After every pair of students has completed the “one minute reads” three times, I will read the rest of the book to the class in case they didn’t get to finish it during their minute reads.
  6. Then we will have a discussion about the book, in order to make sure they comprehended what they read individually and what I read.
  7. For assessment, I will take up the Speed Record Sheet and the Fluency Literary Rubric.  I will compare the first and last readings because they should have increased with each time. 


Barrowclough, Lauren. Ready, Set, Let’s Read!


Cushman, Shelia and Kornblum, Rona.  What Will the Seal Eat?  Phonics Readers.  Educational Insights, 1990.

            Kenny, Heather. Racey Readers. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/invent/kennygf.html


Kimberly Barton- bartokc@auburn.edu


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