3, 2, 1...READ!


By: Lauren Dooley


Rationale:  Students need to understand the importance of reading fluently and with accuracy. They should realize that fluency is being able to read words easily and without having to stop to decode each word. After fluency and accurate reading is achieved, the students can begin to progress into better readers because they will start to comprehend more. The students will learn how to improve their fluency and reading accuracy by learning and using strategies such as cover ups and cross checking.


Cover up critter (per student)

Several copies of the book The Tug [Sims, Matt. The Tug. High Noon Books, California. 1999.]

Chalkboard/Whiteboard to write sentence: I went to the tennis court to play a tennis match.

Stop-watch for one-minute reading (per pair of students)

Reading record sheet (per student):

                -Name: _________________________            Date: ___________


                        - After 1st read            _______

                        - After 2nd read           _______

                        - After 3rd read            _______

Partner reading check sheet (per student):

            -After each reading my partner:

                                                                                    After 2nd           After 3rd

                        1. Read more words                            yes/no              yes/no

                        2. Read smoother                                yes/no              yes/no                  

3. Read with expression                      yes/no              yes/no



1)         Begin by explaining to students the importance of reading fluently and accurately. Introduce this lesson to them like the following sample dialogue:

"We all want to become better readers. Today we are going to learn how to read faster than we know how right now. Not only is it important to learn to read more quickly, but it is also important to understand what you are reading. Today we are going to learn ways to become more fluent."

2) Introducing or reviewing several strategies for decoding unfamiliar words is helpful at this point of the lesson. Using a cover up critter can be very useful for when the students get stuck on difficult words. Model to the students how to use a cover up critter. "One way to help us get through the tough words while we are reading is using our cover up critter. I am going to try to figure out what this hard word is by using my cover up. (Have the word spruce on the board to decode.) First, I will notice there is a u_e in there. That makes the /U/ sound. Then I will look at the letters in front of my vowel. S/s/s/p/p/r/r/r‰¥Ï.spruc/c/c‰¥Ï.spruce. This is a great way to read an unfamiliar word in a book." Also review crosschecking with students as another helpful strategy for decoding unfamiliar words. Explain to students how they may use crosschecking. As example would be: "I am going to read a sentence from a book and show you how crosschecking can be helpful. The cate chased the mouse. Wait! That didn't make since, let me go back and check. Oh, it was the cat chased the mouse."

3) Now, write the sentence on the board: I went to the tennis court to play a tennis match.  Use this as a model for reading fluently. Tell students that you will be modeling it first as a non-fluent reader, and then you will be rereading it as a fluent reader. Ask them to pay close attention, so that they can recognize any differences in each time it is read. Read it the first time with breaks in between words and with little change in voice pitch like the following: I----went----to-----the---tennis---court----to ----play----a----tennis----match. Next, read it as if you were a fluent reader with automatic recognition of words and different levels of pitch in your voice. Do not add long pauses in between words during this reading. It should be read like the following: I went to the tennis court to play a tennis match. Ask the students the following questions:

                1) Which one sounded the best?

                2) What was different in each time that I read it?

                3) Do you think it is easier to understand when it is read more fluently?

Explain to students that the better readers that they become the more meaning they will get from what they are reading. They will be able to understand the text much better.

4) I will give the students a book talk about the book called The Tug. I will then let them read through it for a few minutes before they begin their timed readings. The book talk could be, "This book is about a man named Bob who has a job on a tug. This man has a dog named Sam. The dog wants to go on the tug with the man, but his boss will not let him. There is a sub that cannot get to the dock that day. The tug has to go get the sub and bring it in to the dock. On their way back they get into fog. It is too hard to see how to get to the dock. They are afraid they will crash into the dock. Will Bob's dog still be waiting on him at the dock, and will they make it to the dock without crashing? You will have to read to find out." After the students have time to read it on their own, there will be a class discussion to check for their comprehension. Questions will be asked, such as:

                1) What happened to the tug?

                2) Was Sam, the dog still at the dock or did he run away?

                3) What kept Bob and the tug from crashing into the dock?

5) Students will then break up into pairs. Each pair will be given a stopwatch and a Partner Record sheet. The students will take turns reading as many words as fluently and accurately as possible in one minute. One student will read as the other one records, then they will switch. Allow them to switch several different times to be able to check their progress. Tell them, "I want each of you in your pairs to read the story out loud. One of you will start off as the timer and recorder while the other one tries to read as fluently and accurately as possible. Then, you will switch roles and do the same thing. You will end up reading this story at least two times with your partner. Make sure if you are recording and timing that you are just paying attention to how they are reading and the time. We do not make fun of each other's reading ability. I expect you to take your job seriously during this activity."

Assessment: I will call each student up individually for assessment. They will be given one minute to read as much as they can of The Tug as fluently and accurately as possible. The Reading Record sheet will be used to mark their progress. There will also be a place at the bottom for comments to write in anything noticed during their one minute readings that they may need to work on. This could be things such as their breaks in between words and their voice pitch.


AU Sims, Matt. The Tug. High Noon Books, California. 1999.

Whitman, Kristan. "Quick, Let's Read Fast!!!"


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