Rounding the Bases!

growing independence and fluency
Margo Sexton

Rational: In order for students to read in a timely manner, fluency is needed. Gaining fluency is an important part of reading education. Reading fluency includes automatically recognizing words. The goal of this lesson is to increase fluency with timed one minute readings.


-Stopwatch for each group of students
-A baseball field with a baseball that goes around the field (use velcro to move the baseball).  The field will have numbers all the way around it from 0-100 counting by 5‰¥ús. Each time the student reads, calculate the number of words read correctly in one minute.  Then move the baseball around the field to the number of words read correctly.
-Chalk and chalkboard
-Book:  Lee and the Team (Educational Insights book)
-Pencil and paper



1. I will begin by explaining to the students how important fluency is in reading, and give examples of a fluent and nonfluent reader. "Today we are going to practice reading passages quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  When we read fluently our reading sounds more like we‰¥úre ‰¥þtalking‰¥ÿ because it is much smoother!  Then I will model for the students how to read with fluency.  Write on the chalkboard the following sentence: The pig went up the hill.  Tell students, "First, I am going to read the sentence without fluency.  T-t-t-the p-p-p-pig w-w-w-went u-u-u-up t-t-t-the h-h-h-hill.  Now I am going to read the sentence as a fluent reader would.  The pig went up the hill.  Did you hear the difference between reading with fluency and reading without fluency?  Listen as I read the sentence once again.  The pig went up the hill.  This time I read the sentence faster because it was not the first time I had read these words.  The first two times I read the sentence gave me practice and helped me read the sentence fluently the third time."

2.  I will now introduce our book by doing a book talk: Lee is the leader of a baseball team. His team is going to be late for the game because they don‰¥út want to run. They want to sit under a tree. Will they make it to the game on time? You‰¥úll have to read the book to find out!

3. Pair students up.  "Read the second sentence out of our book to your partner. Then each of you read the sentence 5 times to yourself.  By reading it over and over you will be able to understand it better and read it quickly and smoothly.  Now, read the sentence to each other out loud again.  Notice how each other reads the sentence." (Read sentence out loud to students.)

4. I will give stopwatches to each pair of students. I will tell them they are going to read the books to one another.  "One person is to read the book while the other times for one minute.  Then count the number of words read in one minute.  Write down the number of words to keep track. The student then should move their baseball around the bases to the number of words in the book. Keep reading the same passage and book 3 times.  Practice makes perfect."  There are 102 words in the book.  Before turning the students loose to do the activity, model timing and reading for one minute. ‰¥þTommy is going to read the passage for me while I time him. When I say go, he is going to start reading and I am going to push the start button on the watch. After one minute, I am going to tell Tommy to stop while I push the stop button. Ready, go! Ok, stop! I stopped it at one minute and Tommy stopped reading. Now I am going to record the number of words that he read to keep track. Tommy will now move his baseball to the number of words that he read on the bases. He will reread the passage 3 more times to practice. Now it is your turn.‰¥ÿ

5. "Now that everyone has gotten all the way around the bases its time to write your name on the paper where you wrote down the number of words per minute. Please bring those papers to me."

6. Assessment: Have students turn in paper with number of words read correctly in one minute.  There should be a steady increase in the number of words.


Cushman, Shelia and Kornblum, Rona. Lee and the Team  Phonics Readers.  Educational Insights, 1990.

Watts, Abby

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