Read Fast to Win the Race!


Growing Independent and Fluency

Greer Montgomery


Rationale:  The lesson is important for improving reading, specifically in improving fluency. Fluency includes the ability to decode words automatically and effortlessly; fluent readers are at a much better advantage because they read with more expression, a faster pace, and a lot more smoothly. One proven way to improve reading is to reread decodable words in connected texts several times. In many instances, the more a student works with a particular text, the more familiar they become with it, and therefore the more fluent they become, which is the purpose of this lesson. During this lesson, the students will perform repeated readings and practice reading fluently.


Stopwatches for each pair of students

Racecar reading chart for each student (this will consist of a piece of paper shaped like a race track. The racecar will begin in the in the lane closest to the crowd and try its best to make it the inside lane which is known as victory lane)

Racecar stickers for students to use

Class set of the book Fuzz and Buzz:

        Cushman, S (1990).  Fuzz and the Buzz.  Carson, CA:  Educational Insights.

Class set of Tin Man Fix It:

Tin Man Fix It. (1990) Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Carson, CA (USA):Educational Insights.

White board

Cover-up critter for teacher to model

Popsicle stick for each student

2 googly eyes for each student

Glue for the students to use when creating the cover-up critter


Paper for teacher to record assessment notes

Speed Reading Record sheet for each student (see below)

Fluency Literacy Rubric for each student (see below)


Speed Reading Record Sheet:

Name:­­­______________________________________           Date:__________


1st time:____________       2nd time:_____________             3rd time:_____________


Fluency Literacy Rubric:

Name/(Reader): __________________________                                Date: __________


I noticed that my partner:

                                                    1st observation           2nd observation      3rd observation

Remembered more words            _________              _________           ________       

Read Faster (with time)                _________                        _________          _________

Read Smoother                             _________                       _________           _________

Read with Expression                   _________                         _________           _________


1. I will start the lesson by explaining to students what begin a fluent reader means and why it is important that students are fluent readers. Today we are going to practice reading with speed and accuracy; this helps us become more fluent readers. Reading a story many times helps us to become fluent readers. It is important that we learn to read fluently so that we can read things easily and we can read with an appropriate speed. Reading fluently also allows the reader to be able to focus on the meaning of the words; this will allow us to understand the comprehension of the text better.

2. I will then go over the cover-up technique with the students. I will remind them how we use our cover-up critter (a popsicle stick with googly eyes on it) and how it helps us decode words we do not know. Sometimes, we come across words that we do not know right away. Something we can use to help us figure these words out is a cover-up critter. I will show the class the cover-up critter and model how to decode a word using my cover-up critter. Let’s see if we can use our cover-up critter to figure out this word. I will write the word prize on the whiteboard. Now watch what I do. I will cover up the pr and the z. I know that i_e says /i/, so next I will sound out what becomes before the vowel, which is pr. I will say each sound that these letters make, and then blend them together to get /pri/. Last, I will look at the end of the word z= /z/ and I will blend /pri/ together with /z/. So, the word is prize. This strategy of covering up the letters and starting with the vowel sound will help us figure out tricky words more easily. Therefore, next time you come across a word that does not look familiar to you, you can use your cover-up critter. I will distribute the cover-up critter materials to each student. The students will make their own cover-up critter so they can use it to decode words.

3. Then, I will show the students the difference between reading with and without fluency. Class, I am going to show you how important it is to read with fluency. You will see how much reading fluently will help us; listen to me read a sentence with fluency and read a sentence without fluency. I will write the following sentence on the board: The big kid took a dive in the pool. First, I will demonstrate how a non-fluent reader would read the sentence. Look at this sentence (point to the sentence on the board). I’m going to read it first without fluency. T-th-the b-b-bi-bi-g-g-big k-ki-i-d-d-kid t-t-to-too-k-took a d-d-di-v-div-dive i-i-n-in t-th-the p-p-pp-poo-pool. Did you notice how slowly I read the sentence and how there was hardly any expression in my reading? I am not going to read it again, but this time I am going to read the sentence with fluency. I will read the sentence fluently, a lot more smoothly, and with a lot more expression. The big kid took a dive in the pool. Did you notice that my words were closer together and they were a lot smoother? Which time was easier for you to understand? The students will respond (hopefully saying the second time I read the sentence it was easier to understand.) Right! It is much easier to understand text when you read it fluently. I will explain to the class that it was hard to understand the non-fluent sentence is because the words were all chopped up and did not flow together to make sense; also I will explain to the students that I got better when I was modeling fluently because I learned all the tricky words.

4. I will distribute the book, Fuzz and Buzz to each student. Once each student has received a book, I will give a book talk. Fuzz and Buzz is about a bear cub that gets into mischief and gets stung by a lot of bees! What do you think the cub is going to do when he gets stung by so many bees? Let’s read and find out how he gets out of the sticky situation! The students will read the book individually, and we will then discuss the story as a class to assess their comprehension on the book.

5. I will split the students up into groups of two. I will explain the Speed Reading Record Sheet and Fluency Literacy Rubric. Then, I will explain and model how we are going to do our class activity. Now that you all have heard me read the book as a fluent reader, I want you all try. You are going to reading fluently with a partner. Divide the students into pairs and give them one stopwatch and two copies of the book. Explain to the students that one will be the reader and the other will be the recorder and then they will switch roles. When you are the reader, see how many words you can read smoothly in one minute. Remember not to skip any words. Place one of the racecar stickers where you left off at the end of one minute. Then continue reading the book without the timer. Now go back and then count the number of words that you read in one minute and write that number down on your racecar progress chart. Then switch with your partner until you have both read the book three times each. You may begin reading.

6. After the students have recorded the one minute read aloud, they will fill out a fluency literacy sheet about their partner’s performance.  The teacher should be walking around the room listening and providing assistance where needed.


In order to assess each student, I will call them up to me one by one and have them read Tin Man Fix It aloud as monitor their fluency by taking notes on their ability read smoothly and quickly. I will also record the student’s miscues. After the student has read the book I will ask the following questions to check for comprehension:

1. Who is Tim?
2. What was the kid riding on that hit Tim?
3. Were they able to put Tim back together?

I will also assess the students by recording their first reading and comparing it with their last reading. The students should have been able to read more words per minute during their last read. While each student is doing their assessment with me, the rest of the students will be at their desks practicing their fluency while reading a decodable book.



Brock, Sarah Jane. "It’s a Fluency Party!"

Cushman, S (1990).  Fuzz and the Buzz.  Carson, CA:  Educational Insights.

Murray, Bruce.  Developing Reading Fluency

Simpson, Angela.  "Ready, Set, Off We Go!"

Sweatt, Keri. "Race for Reading."

Tin Man Fix It. (1990) Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Carson, CA (USA): Educational Insights.


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