As Fast As a Mouse!

Growing Independence & Fluency
Ashley Wild

Rationale: The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension, and in order for students to fully comprehend texts, they must be able to read them fluently.  To be able to read fluently means to be able to read quickly, smoothly, and expressively.  This lesson will help students to do just that through repeated readings, timed readings, and one-minute reads.


Materials: For each pair of students: copy of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and a stopwatch; for each student: reading chart to record the number of words he/she read after each one-minute read illustrated like so: a mouse will work its way from a cookie, up to a glass of milk, up to a straw, and so on like in the book; repeated reading checklist to see whether the student remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, and read with more expression after each one-minute read; and a pencil



  1. Introduce the lesson by explaining that in order to become successful readers, we must read quickly, smoothly, and with expression.  Introduce the term “fluency.”  “Have you ever heard that practice makes perfect?  Well, it’s true with reading.  The more practice you have reading a story, the easier it becomes to understand what the story is actually about.  This is called fluency.”
  1. “Today we are going to learn how to read with fluency using the book by practicing reading this book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as fast as we can.”  Introduce book by giving an engaging booktalk. Reading fast helps you keep up with the story instead of reading s-l-o-w.”  The teacher will model how not to read by reading the first page of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie very slowly without fluency, sounding out each word, and taking long pauses between each one.  “I-f y-o-u (pause) g-i-v-e a (pause) m-o-u-s-e a (pause) c-o-o-k-i-e.”

  1. “Did that sound good?  No, it was very slow and choppy and boring!  Now read the same page, although this time read with fluency and expression and use different tones of voice.  “If you give a mouse a cookie….”
  1. “Did it sound better that time?  Yes, it did; it was faster, smoother, and I used a lot more expression, didn’t I?  This helped me to understand what is going on in the book.  That’s what it means to be a fluent reader.  Now you all get to practice reading fluently by reading the same book several times.”
  1. Divide the students into pairs of two and allow them to time each other for one minute as they each read a book.  Give each pair of students a copy of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and a stopwatch.  Make sure the students know how to use the stopwatch.  Give each student a pencil and a one-minute reading chart. “You and your partner are going to practice fluency by reading If You Give a Mouse a Cookie for one minute.  One person will read aloud while the other person times a minute with the stopwatch.   Once your minute is up you will count the number of words you have just read and write it on the cookie (the first thing the mouse wants).  You will read again for one minute and write the number of words you read on the glass of milk (the second thing the mouse wants).  You will continue to do this a few more times.  Then you will write the number of words you read each time on the next thing the mouse wants (in the book).  Your goal is to get a higher number of words each time.”  Give enough time for at least three repeated readings.  Your partner will then fill out the repeated reading checklist.  After that, you will switch and your partner will read and you’ll fill out his/her checklist.  I will be walking around in case you have a question or need help.  Okay, let’s begin!”


Assessment: Collect each child’s one-minute readings chart as well as his/her repeated reading checklist.  Compare the number of words the child read in his/her one-minute readings.  The goal is that the number increased each time.  Review the repeated reading checklist.  Hopefully after the second and third time reading, the student will have become more fluent, that is, reading quicker, smoother, and more expressively.   



Melton, Shealy. “Ready to Race.”

Numeroff, Laura J. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. Scholastic, Inc., 1985. Felicia Bond. 28 pages.

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