“Ready, Set, Speed Read!”

III. Growing Independence and Fluency

Whitney Patterson



To become fluent readers, children need plenty of time to practice reading familiar text in order to remember more words, read faster, smoother, and more expressively. The more students reread familiar text, the more their reading skills with improve. Students will practice these skills with a partner as they work on reading more words per minute.



Stopwatch (one per pair), pencil, paper, Race For the Cake decodable text (1 per student), Fluency Checklist (1 per student), and Words Read Per Minute Worksheet



1.) Begin the lesson by explaining to the students the importance of fluency. Explain how rereading the same text helps us to better comprehend what we read. “Today, we’re going to learn a new skill that will help us to read faster, smoother, and with more expression. This is called repeated readings. Does anyone know what repeat means? That’s right! It means to do something over and over again. We are going to practice reading a story today to help us to read faster, smoother, and with more expression.”

2.) Model how to read a passage with more expression from Race For the Cake. “I am going to read a sentence to you in two different ways. When I finish, I want you to tell me which way you liked the best.”  First read in a very monotone and choppy voice. Then read it again in an exciting, smooth voice. Ben yelled, ‘Stop Lad! He is licking my face. Help! Jess, chase him away!’ So, which way did you like best? I liked the second way the best too! Can you raise your hand and tell me something I did differently on the second reading?” Have students discuss what made the second reading sound better than the first.

3.) “Now it’s your turn to practice reading.” Put students in groups of two. “With your partner, you will listen to them read one time through Race For the Cake in one minute. Once one-minute is up, you will record the number of words you read in one-minute on the words read per minute worksheet. You will do the same thing for the second and third time you read the story. Your partner will also be using the checklist to see each time you read if you remembered more words, read faster, smoother, or with more expression. Once you have read 3 times and your partner has recorded all the information for the checklist and the words read per minute worksheet, then you will switch and record the information for them.” Distribute Race For the Cake decodable text to each student, fluency checklist, stopwatch, and worksheet with words read per minute. 

4.) For assessment, I will observe the children as I walk around the room during their one-minute reads with their partner. I will have each child individually read one minute for me as I record their progress on my chart.



Murray, Geri. Race For the Cake

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