Read, Read, Read as Fast as You Can…

You Can’t Catch Me,

I’m the Speedy Reading Champ!

                                                                                        Growing Independence and Fluency

                                                                                                                                              Barret Freeman


When students first begin to read, their reading is slow and choppy.  This causes great difficulty with text comprehension (they have to put so much effort into sounding out words that they lose the meaning of the text!).  In order to read faster and smoother, students must learn to read fluently.  Reading will be much more enjoyable when most words come effortlessly and automatically to students.  The key to improving fluency is having students read and reread decodable words in connected text.  The more time the student spends on a piece, the more fluent he will become with it.  This lesson will help students learn how to read faster and more fluently.  The students will work towards increasing reading fluency through one minute repeated readings.  By rereading the text, the students will be able to read more words per minute.  They will gain confidence and be able to read more fluently with this kind of practice.


·  Dry erase board and maker

·  Page 12 from Dr. Seuss “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” (written on board) Dr. Seuss, (1990). Oh, the places you'll go!. New York: Random House.

·  Fluency literary rubric

·  Speed record sheet

·  Large paper (for modeling cover ups)

·  Cover up book mark for each student (the students can make their own)

·  The Stinky Cheese Man- Scieszka, Jon (1992). The Stinky cheese man and other fairly stupid tales. New York: Penguin Putnam.

·  Copy of “Is Jo Home” for each student- Educational Insights: Carson, CA. 1990.

·  Copy of “Slim’s Outing” for each student-  Gerri Murray. Reading Genie Website.

·  Transcription of Slim’s Outing for each student (for assessment 1 min. reads)

·  Stinky cheese man numbered chart for each student

·  Stopwatch for teacher


(Previous to this lesson, I will have read The Stinky Cheese Man to my class) 

1.I will explain what a beginning reader sounds like compared to a fluent reader.  “Ok class, today we are going to practice reading fluently.  Does anyone know what the word fluently means?  Good, it means fast and smooth.  Good readers learn to read fast.  They also learn to read automatically, or without thinking about it.  I am going to show you the difference between beginning reading and reading fluently.”  I will display a page from Oh, the Places You’ll Go  , by Dr. Seuss on the board for the students to see.  (I can use this book to model fluent reading because I am a consolidated alphabetic reader…but I would not ask the students to read these books because some of them may not be at the consolidated stage yet and this book is not decodable!)  “I am going to show you how we go from choppy reading to fluent reading.  (I will use a pointer to point to each word while I read it for the class).  Y-o-u-‘ll be o-n y-o-u-r w-ay up! Y-o-u’ll be s-ee-ing g-r-ea-t s-ight-s! Y-ou-‘ll j-oi-n the h-igh- f-l-ie-r-s who s-oa-r to h-i-g…h-i-g-h h-ei-g-h-ts (read very slowly and choppy).  Well, that was ok, but I think I can do better.  I’ll try it again (read the same page again, but this time a little quicker…still leaving space between words).  That was a little better, but it still did not sound like talking.  What do you think I should do?  You think I should read it again?  Ok…here goes…(read the same page again, but this time faster and leaving no space in between the words).  Well, that was the best time yet, but I still think I can do better.  I am going to try to read with expression.  What does that mean?  Good, it means that I make my voice get higher or lower, louder or softer…that’s what we do when we talk to each other.  I want this last time to sound like I am talking to you , instead of reading a book (read quickly and with expression…exaggerate so that the kids will really notice what it sound like to read with expression).

2.I will now review the cover-up method with my students.  “Class, do you remember when we talked about what we do when we get to a word that we do not know?  Yes, we use cover-ups to help us figure out the word.  Let’s do a quick review to make sure everybody remembers how to do that.  (write “script” on the board).  If  I do not know what this word is, this is what I would do… I would cover up everything but the “i”, like this (cover up all other letters).  Then I would be able to remember that i = /i/.  Next, I would uncover all the letters before the vowel (i)…I would blend the letters together to get scr = /scr/.  Then I would blend these letters with my vowel…it now says scri = /scri/.  Lastly, I would look at the end of my word and blend the last sounds with my chunk (scri)…now I read scri-pt…script = /script/!  Whenever you are reading and come across a word you do not know, remember to use cover-ups to try to decode it!”

3.I will split the students into partners.  “Now it’s your turn to practice reading fluently.  I know that you can do it!  I am going to give each student in the groups copies of the book Is Jo Home?.  “In this book there is a sweet, gray dog.  He wants to find out if Jo is home.  The dog wants Jo to play with him.  Do you think Jo will be home?  Will she want to play?  Will she run away?  To find out, you have to read the book Is Jo Home?  Ok, now each of you is going to read to your partner.  In the beginning, one person will be the reader and one will be the recorder, then you will switch jobs.  The reader will read the book for one minute.  I will keep track of the time with a stop watch and tell you when to stop.  After I tell you to stop, the recorder will place a post-it note at the place where the reader stopped.  The recorder will count all the words that the reader read and record them on the hand out.  The reader will move their stinky cheese man up to the number in the road where they read to.  The recorder will also fill in the fluency literary rubric by coloring in the circles for how the reader did.  (I will show them how to do this and go over the sheet with them before we begin).  After we do this once, you will switch jobs and we’ll do it again.

4.I will allow the students to have a practice round to see what they are supposed to be doing.  We will then do 3 rounds for each partner (at the end, each will have 3 different number scores).  Each round will last one minute and the students will be reminded to start from the beginning for each round and re-read what they have read, trying to read more words.  The recorders will fill out the fluency rubric after the second and third readings. 

5.After all of the groups have finished their one minute reads, I will ask the students to go to a place in the classroom away from everyone else.  “You will need your own personal space for this part of the lesson.  Now that you have had lots of practice with this book, I want you to read it alone…but this time I want you to read quickly and with lots of expression.  Practice being dramatic with your reading (like you were putting on a play!)”

6.I will then give the students something new to read.  I don’t want to assess them on the text that they have already been practicing.  I will call students to my desk to have them read to me.  I will need copies of “Slim’s Outing” for each student.  I will quickly model expressive reading for the students again (I modeled this at the beginning of the lesson, so I just want to refresh their memory).  While the students are practicing expressive reading (“Is Jo Home”) I will call them individually to my desk.  I will explain to them that I am giving them a new book to work on speedy reading with.  I will have each student read a transcription of “Slim’s Outing” once as a baseline.  I will record how many words the student read in one minute.  The student will then be asked to read the same transcription twice more (one minute each).  I will record the scores.  I will then be able to see if the repeated reading is helping the student to read faster and more fluently.  If not, I will have to do more extensive work with the student later on. 


Dr. Seuss, (1990). Oh, the places you'll go!. New York: Random House.

Scieszka, Jon (1992). The Stinky cheese man and other fairly stupid tales. New York: Penguin Putnam. 

Is Jo Home? Educational Insights: Carson, CA. 1990.

Slim’s Outing. Gerri Murray. Reading Genie Website. 

Rickard, Laci. “Read with Speed and Be in the Lead” 

Mosley, Meredith. “On your mark…get set…read”


Speed Record Sheet

Name:________________    Date:__________

1st time:____

2nd time:____

3rd time:____


Fluency Literacy Rubric

Name:____________         Evaluator:____________         Date:___________

I noticed that my partner… (color in the circle)

After 2nd                         After 3rd

O                                    O                          Remembered more words

O                                    O                          Read faster

O                                    O                          Read smoother

O                                    O                          Read with expression

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