Read, Speed Reader, Read!

By Morgan Pierce

Rationale: Reading smoothly, quickly, and expressively are all characteristics of fluent reading. Reading fluently requires automatic word recognition. Through fluent reading, a  reader can begin to read silently, which is faster than oral reading. The fluency formula is "read and reread decodable words in connected text." This lesson will use that formula by reading a decodable text, and then rereading it to aid in the development of fluency.

Materials: A stopwatch, a copy of Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble, Fluency chart for each student (the chart has a column with numbers counting up towards the top of the page. The chart has a Speed Racer theme), dry erase board with markers.


1. Begin the lesson by explaining what fluency is. "Fluency is when you read fast, smoothly--so you don't sound out each word--and when you read with expressions in your voice." Tell them that being a successful reader requires fluent reading. "One way we can all become successful, fluent readers is by reading a text more than one time. Today, we are going to try to improve our fluency by rereading a text."

2. Use your dry erase board to write a sentence. My sentence will be, "I have a dog named Mudge and he is very big and likes to run." Now, review decoding steps. "What do I do if I get to a word and do not know what it is? That's right! I use the cover-up method. Show me that you remember how to use the cover-up method by trying it with me now." Use a word on the board to practice. "Let's try it with the word dog. First we find the vowel. Which one is the vowel? Right! It's o. The letter o makes the /o/ sound. Then we uncover the letter d which makes the /d/ and say out loud by blending the /do/ together. Then we uncover the letter g which makes the /g/ sound. The we blend all the sounds together to say dog." Then we check to make sure we blended correctly by rereading the sentence to check that dog makes sense.

3. "Now I am going to show you the difference between reading without fluency and reading with fluency. First I will read my sentence without fluency, and the next time I will read it with fluency." Write on your board the sentence, "I love my red bag." Then demonstrate reading by reading slowly "I-l-o-v-e-m-y-r-e-d-b-a-g. What did you notice about my reading? I got stuck on a few words. Did that make you have trouble understanding me? It did! This can happen a lot when we read, but the more we practice reading the same words, the better we become at reading. Now I will read the same sentence again in another way, not getting stuck on the words. 'I love my red bag.' Which one sounded better? Why? The second one sounds better because it is faster and more fluent that the first. The second time you could understand be better because I was not getting stuck on the words. I was not trying to sound out every word, so I could focus on what the text was saying. This is what we are practicing today.

4. Give each student a partner. Pass out a book (Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble) to each child. "Follow along in your book while I read the first two pages. I am going to read them three times to practice reading fluently. When I finish you will do the same thing with your partner. Read the first two pages aloud to the students. The first time you read, read slowly and sound out each word. The second time, improve your reading by reading smoothly, quickly, and with emotion. "Now it is your turn. Read the whole story one time, then reread it again. While you read I would like partner 1 to read the even pages and partner 2 to read the odd pages. That means you are reading every other page (go over even and odd numbers depending on the age of the students).

5. Walk around to observe the students as they read with their partner. Take notes if needed.

6. Once every group has read the story twice, pass out a stop watch and the chart to each group. "We are going to play the Fluency Game! Listen closely so you will know what to do. One person will be the timer and one will be the reader, then you will swap. I want partner one to start as the timer and partner two to start as the reader. The timer will set the stop watch to 1 minute. The reader will read until the timer goes off. The timer will count the number of words the reader read in 1 minute. Then, you will graph it on the chart I have passed out. After you have graphed the readers number, I want you to swap jobs." As you are explaining the graph, show the students what you mean. Use an extra graph to visually demonstrate the oral instructions. "Do this three times. Use the different "trackers" to mark each one-minute read, so each partner should have three "trackers" on the chart marking their number for each read."

7. After they have completed their three one-minute reads, collect their graphs. Use these graphs for your assessment. This will allow the teacher to teach the students according to the level they are on and know which students need additional help. To assess comprehension either ask the students questions orally or give a written quiz.


          Jennifer Falls "Go, Go Speed Reader"

          Rylant, Cynthia. "Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble."

          Aladdin: 1987 pages 5-19

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