Read with Speed and Be in the Lead!


Laci Rickard


Growing Independence and Fluency



Rationale:  Students need to be able to read fluently in order to be able to read a sufficient amount of material over a certain period of time. Reading fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically.  Fluent readers learn to read smoothly, with expression, and fast.  In this lesson students will practice reading a text over and over to improve their reading speed in order to focus on fluency. 



- A copy of “Fuzz and the Buzz” decodable text by Sheila Cushman (1990 by Educational Insights) for every student

- a stopwatch for every pair of students and one for myself for individual assessment

- a white board

- Repeated reading checklist that says “As I listened to my partner:

            1. Remembered more words

            2. Read faster

            3. Read smoother

            4. Read with expression

- progress charts for individual assessments

- notepad and pencil to note miscues during individual assessment




1.  Begin lesson by telling students that to become better readers, they must learn to read faster, effortlessly, and automatically.  “When you can do all of this, reading will be much easier and more fun than ever!  That is what we call fluent reading.  To help you become a fluent reader you can read a story several times.  Every time you read it, I want you to read it faster and faster! Eventually, you will remember the story!”


2.  “First I want us to talk about a way you could figure out words that you are having trouble with.  One way is called cover-ups.  Let me show you.  If I were stuck on the word plug (write the word on the board) then I would first cover everything up but the vowel u.  I would think u makes the /u/ sound like in under.  Then I would uncover the first letter p and think p makes the /p/ sound and then uncover the l and think the /p/ sound plus the /l/ sound together make the sound /pl/ like in please and that added to the u makes /plu/.  Now uncover the last letter g and add the /g/ sound and I get plug.  Now let’s practice a few words together. Now remember when you finish figuring out the word to crosscheck and read the whole sentence make sure your word makes sense!” “Let’s try a word together – lamp.”


3.  “Students, I want you to see the difference in how reading WITH fluency makes reading much more fun and the story easier to understand. I am going to read the same sentence twice (write on board so they can read along). The first time I will read it slow and without fluency.  R-E-A-D-I-N-G-I-S-F-U-N. Did you see that I read slowly and it was hard to understand what I said? That’s because the words were choppy and did not flow together to make sense. Now I will read faster and fluently.  Reading is fun!  Could you understand what I read? See how reading faster makes reading easier and more fun?  My reading became fluent because I was able to automatically recognize the words and read them immediately.  Does everyone understand? (questions) Great. I want you all to read this way in your stories today. I want you to practice reading faster so that you can understand the meaning of the story better.”

4.  “Now I will give everyone a copy of the book Fuzz and the Buzz.  This book is about a cub named Fuzz who goes out to play.  He first gets bopped in the head with nuts and then the bugs start buzzing around him.  We will have to read to find out what he does to get rid of the buzzing bugs.  I want everyone to read it once first to yourself.” (give time for this to take place) 


5.  “Now that everyone has read the story once I want you to partner up with someone at your table and the two of you take turns reading it aloud to each other as the other listens and times you with the stopwatch (every pair will have one). Once you time your partner write their time down.  When you are done I want you to take the Repeated Reading Checklist that I handed out and I want you to each read each other again as the other listens and times you then writes the time down.  This time I want you to fill out the checklist for your partner.  Mark which ones your partner completed.  For example, the first one says “Remembered more words” so if your partner did remember more words the second time you mark this.  Number two says “Read faster” so look at the times you took on your stopwatch and see if they read faster and if so check this box.” 



To assess the children, I will have them come up to my desk individually during center time and complete one minute reads.  I will chart their time, miscues, and progress.  By doing this I will be able to tell where they are on their path to fluent and independent reading. 




Linne, Virginia.  “Reading Racers.”


King, Milissa.  “Catch Me If You Can.”

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