Speeding Into Reading

Growing Independence and Fluency

By: Mandy Jones


The goal of this lesson is to allow children to practice reading and rereading texts which will enable them to become more fluent readers. Becoming a fluent reader is important because children can begin focusing on the meaning of the text rather than focusing on decoding each individual word. The activities in this lesson will allow the children to become more fluent readers by allowing them to learn how to read faster. They will work on their reading fluency by rereading the text and participating in a timed reading activity.



Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

1 pencil for each child

1 rubric for each child. Each rubric will contain 3 boxes for the student to record the time of their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd readings.

1 stopwatch per pair of students

Assessment rubric with a box for each child's score.



1. Begin the lesson by reviewing cover ups. "Who can tell me what to do when you come to a word that you don't know? Right, you use cover ups to sound out the letters then blend them together. Let's try one together. I'm going to write the word stick on the board. If I saw this word and I didn't know how to say it, I would use cover ups to help me sound it out. I'm going cover up everything but the i because that is the vowel. I know that i says /i/. Now we look at what comes before the vowel which is /st/. We can now blend them together to get /sti/. Now we look at what's left at the end of the word which is /ck/. Now we put /sti/ and /ck/ together to make stick. We can use this strategy when we see an unfamiliar word.

2. Explain how fluency works when reading a text. "Good readers can read fast because they learn to read faster by reading and rereading books. The more times you read a book, the better you will be at reading it because the words start to become familiar to you. I'm going to read a sentence from the book you are going to read today. 'O-n on e-eve-ery br-a-an-ch branch sat a m-mon-k-ey monkey. When I read the sentence like that, it is hard to understand because I am not reading it fluently or quickly." Practice reading the sentence over and over getting more words correct with each try. Finally, read the sentence smoothly and fluently. "On every branch sat a monkey."

3. Explain and model crosschecking. "Not only do fluent readers read fast, but they also must understand what they have read. A way to make sure we understand what we read is to use crosschecking. For example, I'm going to write this sentence on the board: The cat chased the mouse. If I read this sentence quickly and say 'The can chased the mouse' I would have to go back and use my crosschecking skills to make sure what I just read made sense. A can doesn't chase a mouse, so I know that I need to go back and check which word I missed. I can now read it correctly by saying 'The cat chased the mouse.'"

4. The students will practice fluency by pairing up and reading the text. Teacher will pass out a copy of the text Caps for Sale to each pair of students as well as pencils, stopwatches, and a rubric. The rubric will contain 3 boxes for each child to record how many words they read on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd readings. Directions: "I want you to read the entire book together. Then go back to the beginning. One person will be the reader and the other person will be the timer. The timer will start the stopwatch as the reader begins to read. At one minute, the timer tells the reader to stop. After the reader has finished, they should count how many words they read and record that number on the rubric. Each student will read the book 3 times and record your numbers for each time."

5. For assessment, I will have each child read a passage from the book to me which will contain 30 words. I will assess how fast they read by timing them and recording it on a rubric that has a box for their score. After they have read the passage once, I will show them their score.  They will then be able to read the passage through two more times and try to improve their reading score. 



Slobodkina, Esphyr. Caps for Sale. William R. Scott, Inc. 1940, 1947, 1968.

Lilly, Jennifer. Speed Reader. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/constr/lillygf.html

Return to Sightings Index