Lightning Speed Reading

Growing Independence and Fluency

Carlie Larson


Rationale:  In order for a student to become fluent with reading, they must be able to read smooth, fast, and with expression, as well as be able to read accurately and automatically.  This lesson will improve fluency through one-minute reads, repeated reading, and timed readings. 



-         Copy of “When Lightning Comes In a Jar” for each individual student

-         Stopwatch for each pair of students

-         Pencil for each student

-         Reading Progress Chart

-         Stickers for each student




  1. Introduce the lesson by telling the students the importance of fluency and what it means to be a fluent reader.  Today we are going to practice becoming fluent readers.  To become a fluent reader, we must be able to read words without stopping, pausing, or slowing down to sound out words.  In other words, fluent readers can read words automatically which can help you better understand the story.  We are going to practice becoming fluent readers today by reading and rereading When Lightning Comes in a Jar.  By reading this book a number of times, you will be able to become fluent readers by recognizing the familiar words.
  2. Now I am going to read a few sentences to you and I want you to tell me whether or not I am reading them fluently.  Wwwwweeeee wwwweeeennnntttt ttttooo ttthhee pppaarrkk. (not fluent)  It was hot outside today {pausing between words}. (not fluent)  The dog chased the cat. (fluent)  Great Job! Now lets see if we can practice reading some other sentences fluently just how I did the last sentence, smoothly and accurately.
  3. Now we are going to read When Lightning Comes in a Jar with partners to practice reading fluently.  “Trisha’s family reunions are always the same every year.  There is always a feast, a croquet game, story telling time and a few other things, but this year Trisha has a surprise when her grandmother shares with her how to catch lightning in a jar.  We’re going to have to read this book in order to find out how Trisha is able to catch lightning in a jar.”   It is important to remind the students to cross check when they are reading the story. If they do not recognize a word then they should cover up part of the word and sound it out in pieces. It is also important that they also make sure that the word makes sense in the sentence. If they can’t figure out the word, then they should have their partner help them and if both of the children can’t figure out the word, then they should ask me and I will assist them.
  4. Now the students will divide into groups of two each with a copy of When Lightning Comes in a Jar and a stopwatch.  One student will be the timer and one will be the reader.  Tell the students that they should read as much as they can while being timed for one minute and then put a sticker after the last word read.  Then inform the students that they will take turns doing the one minute reads and adding up the number of words they have read every time and then marking the number of words on their progress sheets.  While the students are doing theses one minute reads, I will be walking around the room listening to them read and monitoring their progress.


Evaluation:  I will have the students come show me, individually, their progress sheets.  Then we will engage in our own one minute read on When Lightning Comes in a Jar.  During our one minute read, which will consist of the student reading a selected passage and being timed on that passage for one minute, I will be checking for things such as:  skipping words, inserting words, saying words incorrectly, and not reading smoothly.  Then I will assess the student’s comprehension of the story by asking them specific questions about what happened in the story.




Read, Read Red Dog by Ashley Keel


Ready, Get Dressed….Read!! By Sarah Sullivan


Polacco, Patricia.  When Lightning Comes in a Jar. Philomel Books, 2002.

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