Mountain Climbers Read Fast!


By: Jessica Penny

Growing Independence and Fluency



For a student to read fluently means that he has the ability to read at a fast, even pace and with expression. To become fluent readers, he must first be able to decode words in the text he is reading. These decodable books must be read multiple times to gain fluency. This lesson encourages students to practice reading decodable books fast and smoothly. Student's will build fluency by reading these decodable texts independently and then timed by a partner for 1 minute.


-Dry-erase markers
-White board
-Decodable book: Chuck and Chad Get Lunch by Bridgett Clabby; 1 copy/student (Reading Genie-
-Classroom clock for one minute timer
-Paper for student to record partner's reading time
-Pencils for student to record partner's reading time
-Large piece of chart paper to record times
-Black sharpie maker to record reading times on the chart. Chart should look like a mountain (in shape of triangle) and each student should have a Velcro piece with their name on it.  Each side of the mountain should be numbered as follows:  5,10,15,20,25,30,35,40,45,50,55,60,65,70,75,80,85,90,95,100; Start numbering at the bottom, and the mountain peak should be 100.  Put boys on one side and girls on the other side.  This will record how many words per minute each student was able to read, and it will help them work towards reading faster to get their name on the mountain peak.


1. ''Good morning boys and girls! Today we are going to practice speed reading. You will practice how to read fast, like a cheetah, and smoothly, like a swan. Does anyone know why it is important for us to read fast and smoothly? We want to read fast and smoothly so we can focus on understanding what we are reading.  If we read too slowly, sometimes we forget what we read or cannot focus on what it is we are reading. Reading is more fun when it is done fast!''

2. ''Let us start by practicing reading a sentence on the board.'' The sentence; The black bird sings a sweet song. Is written on the board. ''I am going to read the sentence aloud slowly, and I want you to listen carefully how I do this. Then I will read it again a little faster than before so you can hear how to smooth the words together. Again, I will read the sentence one more time to show even more smoothness. Listen to me (read slowly and spread out the pronunciations) Chhhuuuuck aaannndd Chhhiiimmmp rrrraaaaann iiiin thhheeee ssssuunnn.'' Now read the sentence again, this time smoothing the letters and faster this time. One more time, even faster and smoother. ''Do we hear how much better it sounds when we read it faster and smoother?  When we read the same thing several times, it improves our fluency, and makes us better readers!  You can focus on the meaning of the sentence rather than the individual letters and words.''

 3.  ''Now you try.  You will each get your own book called Chuck and the Chimp Get Lunch. Chuck and Chimp are best friends, and they go on a picnic.  Read to find out if they had a good time, or a bad time!  I want you to spread out and practice reading by drawing out the sounds and then reading it again. You will see how much faster and smoother you can read after some practice.  Just follow my example that I showed on the board.''

4.  ''When you think you are done practicing and have read your book many times, come back to the circle. Take your time and get really good at reading your book because then we will see how fast you can read it.''

5.  ''Now that everyone is back sitting so nicely in the circle, I am going to pair you up with a partner. Each set of partners will get a piece of paper and a pencil. The pair will go sit together away from other partners. One partner will record while the other reads. When I say go, the reader will begin reading the book you practiced and read as much as you can until I say one minute is up (stop). At that time, the recorder will count up the words the partner read and write that number down. Then you will switch and the other person will read.''

6.  ''Now that you both have read, come back to the circle, and we will record everyone's scores. Let us start with Nathan and Penny. How many words did Nathan read in one minute? What about Penny? (record scores on big chart). Thank you. Next set of partners?''

7.  ''Look at what good and fast readers you all are! We will do this once a week with a new book and record your time then as well.  You will be so surprised to see how much better you are getting at reading fast and smoothly. Great job today!''



Individually, teacher can look at the chart used during the lesson to see their student's fluency. She can look at how many words each student read in one minute. Also, teacher can have children do this lesson over with another book, maybe a more challenging decodable text, to see where their level of fluency is.



Sarah Daughtry; Speed Reading is Fun


Chuck and Chad Get Lunch- by Bridgett Clabby