Race into Reading!!!!


Growing independence and Fluency

Jessica Brown


Rational: Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately and quickly. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. They group words quickly to help them gain meaning from what they read. Fluent readers read aloud effortlessly and with expression. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking. Readers who have not yet developed fluency read slowly, word by word. Their oral reading is choppy and plodding.

Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding the words, they can focus their attention on what the text means. They can make connections among the ideas in the text and between the text and their background knowledge. Students will gain fluency through repeated readings, timed readings, and one-minute reads.



One sentence strip with the sentence: "Jess will race Ben to get to the cake" for each group

Stopwatch for every group

Poster with a race track on it with runners placed at the starting line.  Along the track will be water bottles that represent the number of words read; cut out a runner for each student.

One copy of "Race for Cake".



1. Explain to students what being a fluent reader means.  "It is very important that we all become fluent readers.  To be a fluent reader, you must read with speed and ease.  Being a fluent reader helps us to understand what we are reading because we do not have to stop and think about "sounding out" each word, instead we can focus on understanding what the story is about.   When we are fluent readers our reading sounds much nicer and smoother.  It also allows us to enjoy what we are reading!"

 2. Demonstrate a fluent reader and a non-fluent reader.  "Listen to me as I read a page from the book "Lad and the Fat Cat" This is how a strong reader would read this sentence, Ssscccaaattt iiisss fffaaattt. Ssscccaaattt cccaaannn'ttt ssstttaaannnddd.  (Read one sentence from the book) (The first time read the sentence very slowly, without expression, and choppy.)   Now I am going to read the same page from "Lad and the Fat Cat" again. (Read the sentence slowly and without expression).  How do you feel about how I read that sentence?  Does it make you want to listen to me read the whole story?   This time I am going to read like a fluent reader.  (This time read the text faster, with ease, and expression.)  That it what a fluent reader sounds like.  I read the text quickly, smoothly, and with expression, I tried not to pause throughout my reading and tried to keep you interested in what I am reading to you.  Our goal is for everyone to be a fluent reader."

3. Explain to students that they are going to be doing repeated readings.  "To help make you a more fluent reader, we are going to practice by doing repeated readings. I am going to give you a partner, and then you and your partner will take turns reading.  I am going to give each pair of you a sentence on a piece of paper.  I want each of you to read the sentence aloud to your partner. Don't worry if you are not reading like you think a fluent reader should read the first time, by doing repeated readings and hearing your partner read you will get better each time. Pass out to each group a sentence strip with the sentence "Jess will race Ben to get to the cake".  Pairs will be given a few minutes to take turns reading the sentences. 

4.  Explain to the students that they are going to be doing one minute reads.   
"Now we are going to practice reading in order to become more fluent in another way, a one minute read.  Each pair will be reading the book "Race for Cake". Ben and Jess like to play.  One day they are playing and Jess remembers her mom has made a cake." Ben and Jess race to see who can get to the cake first, but they have obstacles that get in the way. Who do you think will win the race?  You will have to read to find out." I am going to give you a copy of the book, a stopwatch and a sheet to record how many words that your partner reads.   While one person is reading their partner will be timing them.  The reader should read as many words as they can.   The reader will read for one minute four times.  After each one minute, the timer will write down the number of words the reader reads.  After the first person reads four times then switch and let your partner do the same thing. When we are finished I will give each of you a Runner and you will put your highest number of words on it a put it on the l water bottle that is closest to the number of words you read.  Your goal is to get as close to the finish line as you can by the end of your four readings.   I will be walking around the room.  If you need help, just raise your hand

Assessment:  As the pairs of students are doing their one minute reads the teacher will circulate among the pairs and assess their progress. Students should demonstrate increasing fluency as they do more repeated readings.  After the students have finished the activities the teacher will continue to do two one minute reads with each student individually to assess all aspects of fluency.



Fleming, Mandy .  Hippity Hop into Fluentcy.


 Murray, Geri. "Race for Cake" The Reading Genie. Genie Collection 2006.

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