Race into Fluency!


Growing Independence and Fluency

Emily Young


Rationale: Fluent reading is reading in which words are recognized automatically.  Reading becomes faster, smoother, and more expressive with automatic word recognition. Once this is mastered, students can begin to read silently, which is performed at a rate almost twice as fast as oral reading. The direct approach to improving fluency involves modeling and practice with repeated reading under time pressure. In repeated reading, children continue working with each text until it is fluent. In this lesson, the students will practice fluency using repeated reading and graphing their progress on a chart.



*Student copies of Jane and Babe (Phonics Readers by Educational Insights, 1990)

*Word Count sheet for each student (see example)

*Reading Evaluation Form for each student (see example)

*One minute timer for each pair of students

*Progress chart for each student (This will be a race track with a moveable paper race car. Numbers that indicate the number of words read in a minute will be placed around the track. Each time the child reads the text, they will move their racecar to the appropriate number. This will help to visually show the students their progress. These charts will be kept and used in future fluency lessons. At the end of our fluency lessons, the students will be able to take them home so that they will be encouraged to practice fluency at home.)

Word Count Sheet

Name: _________________               Date: ________________


The first time I read ___________ words.

The second time I read __________ words.

The third time I read _________ words.



Reading Evaluation

Name: _______________     Date: _________     Evaluator: _______________


My partner……… (fill in circle)

                                           After 2nd time         After 3rd time

Read faster                                  O                      O

Read more smoothly                    O                      O

Read with expression                   O                      O

Read the most words                   O                      O



 1) “Today we are going to practice reading faster and smoother, which is called reading fluently. I am going to show you an example.”  Read the first sentence of Jane and Babe very slowly.  “How did that sound? My words didn’t flow together very well because I was reading too slow.  Let’s see if I can’t make it sound better.”  Read it again, this time faster.  “Did that sound better?  What did I do differently?  That’s right, I read it faster.  Let’s see if I can do it even better.”  Reread the sentence using speed, fluency, and expression.  “That time, I read the sentence quickly and my words flowed together smoothly. Did you notice how my voice went up and down as I read certain words?  That is called expression.”

 2) Explain to the students what they are going to be doing. “ Today we are going to work on reading using speed, fluency, and expression. To help us do this we are going to the read the same book three times. Each time that we read it, we will become more familiar with the words in the book which will help us read more fluently.”

 3) Divide the class into pairs (2 students).  Give each pair of students a copy of Jane and Babe along with two speed record sheets and reading evaluation rubric for your partner.

 4) Give the students directions. “In this activity each of you will have the job of being the reader and the listener. One of you will read while the other times the reading with the countdown timer. After the timer goes off you will switch jobs. You will repeat this until each of you have read the book 3 times.  Each time you read you will start at the beginning of the book and read for one minute. When the timer goes off, make sure to place your finger on the last word that you read.  Your partner will then count how many words that you read and record the number on the word count sheet. Make sure to do this every time you read. After each of you have read the book three times, you will need to fill out the reading evaluation for you partner. At the end of the activity I will take this and the word count sheet up so make sure that your names are on them. ”

5) Give a booktalk about Jane and Babe. "Jane is a zoo keeper and her favorite animal is Babe. Babe is a very sleepy lion. Jane wants to play with Babe, but he will not wake up. Jane tries and tries to wake up Babe. Will Jane every get Babe to wake up and play? We will have to read to find out!"

 6) Give each student a race track and a paper race car cutout. Explain how they are to use them. “You are going to use these race tracks and the race cars to help monitor your fluency. The numbers that are around the track represent how many words that you are able to read in a minute. After each time you read and count your words, move your race car to that number. Each time that you read, your car should move closer to the finish line. We will be using these in later activities, so make sure to take care of them. At the end of the today’s activity, I will take them up and hold onto them for you.”

 7) Once everyone has finished reading three times and filling out the charts, I will ask the students to be sure their name and date are on their charts and then ask them to turn them in to me.


Evaluate the Word Count Sheet and the Reading Evaluation Rubric. On the Word Count Sheet, compare the number of words for each reading. These numbers should have increased with each time. On the Reading Evaluation Rubric, each student should have accomplished each of the goals by the 3rd reading.



Murray, Dr. Bruce. Developing Reading Fluency.


 Self, Jamie. Reading Race.


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