Ride Into Reading



Growing Independence and Fluency

Cathryn Albright


Rationale: The goal for this lesson is for students to develop or improve fluency in reading. Fluency is a crucial component of students' reading development. If students are fluent readers, the will be able to decode words automatically and effortlessly. As a result, the students will be able to focus their attention on comprehending the meaning of the text rather than on decoding individual words. This lesson uses repeated readings and timed one-minute readings to help students learn to read fluently. In this lesson the students will continue to work with the same text until they become fluent with it. They will also participate in one-minute reads with a partner to work on their reading speed.



1. Nate's Bike Ride by Geri Murray

2. Bike rider progress chart for each student

3. Stopwatch for each pair of students

4. Whiteboard

5. Cover-up critters for each student (Cover-up critters are Popsicle sticks with eyes that can be used to scaffold students' decoding.)

6. Reading check sheet for each student




1. Say: Today we are going to practice our reading fluency. Fluency is important because when we develop it, we can read much faster than when we have to decode each individual word. This allows us to focus more on the message of the story.


2. Next, we will review how to decode words using the cover-up sticks. Say: Everyone take out your cover-up critters. We can use these cover-up critters to decode words that we do not know. Let's look at the word trip. If I did not know this word I would use my cover-up critter to hide all of the letters except the letter I (demonstrate on whiteboard while explaining). Now I know that the letter i says /i/, so now I can uncover the r and I have ri. Then I uncover the p and I have rip. Finally, I uncover the whole word and I see that it is trip. Does everyone understand how I used my cover-up critter to decode this word?


3. Say: Our goal today is to be able to decode words much more quickly than I just did. We want to decode words automatically so that we can read more quickly. Let's read the following sentence together with fluency. (Sentence will be displayed on board.) Jim went to the park. Do you see how we read this quickly without having to decode each word by itself? Now I am going to show you how a non-fluent reader would read this. Jjjj-iiii-mmmm wwww-eeee-nnnn-tttt ttttt-oooo th-eeee ppp-ar-kkkkkk. Do you see the difference between fluent and non-fluent reading?


4. Say: Now I am going to put more sentences on the board and I want us to practice reading them fluently as a class. I will put the following sentences on the board for students to read:

- Kate likes to play ball.

- Mark goes to the store.

- Jed went for a run.

- Sid swims in the pool.

- Jack eats all the time.


Following student reading ask if students now understand what it means to read fluently.


5. Say: Now that we have practiced our fluency as a class, it is time for us to practice our fluency with partners. I will assign the students partners to work with for this activity. I will give each student a fluency check sheet, a copy of Nate's Bike Ride, and a progress Chart. I will also give each pair a stop watch. 


6. Say: Now I want one partner to be the reader and the other to be the timer. The reader will read for one minute while the timer times and records the number of words the reader reads correctly. Then the reader will move the bike rider on his or her fluency chart. Remember we are working on reading quickly and so do not worry about trying to get all the words correct. After the reader has read for one minute, switch and let the other partner read. We will repeat this three times, and our goal is to read more words each time. Does everyone understand what to do?


7. Say: In just a moment we are going to be reading Nate's Bike Ride. In this story Tim wants his friend Nate to come outside and play with him, but Nate is lazy. He wants to stay inside and watch television all the time. So Tim and his sister Jan create a plan to trick Nate into coming outside with them. Will Tim and Jan's plan work? Let's begin reading and find out!


8.  Students will participate in one-minute reads using Nate's Bike Ride. Partners will fill out check sheet following each reading.


9. After students have completed their one-minute reads, they will read the rest of the text silently on their own.


For an assessment, I will take up the students' check sheets to evaluate their words per minute and the progress they made during their second and third readings. I will also have each student read for one minute with me individually so I can assess their fluency and words per minute first-hand. 




Geri Murray. Nate's Bike Ride. Genie Collection. 2007. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/bookindex.html.

Murray, Bruce.  Developing Reading Fluency

Montgomery, Greer. Read Fast to Win the Race



One Minute Read Chart (for each pair):

Name: _____________Partner: _______________Date: __________

1st minute: ______

2nd minute: ______

3rd minute: ______


Partner check- sheet:

Name: _____________Partner: _______________Date: __________

I noticed that my partner... (check the circle)

After 2nd           after 3rd

( )                     ( )                     Remembered more words

( )                     ( )                     Read faster

( )                     ( )                     Read smoother

( )                     ( )                     Read with expression


Progress Chart - Words Per Minute
















































       Directions: Move the biker up the chart as you read more words per minute.


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