The Race is On

Growing Independence and Fluency
Virginia Collins

Rationale: For children to become successful readers, they must learn to read fluently. Fluency includes the ability to decode words automatically and effortlessly. For children to be fluent readers, they must read often. Children become better readers by reading texts multiple times. The ultimate goal of reading is comprehension; children must be fluent readers to comprehend text. During this lesson, students will perform repeated readings and practice reading fluently.



- Class set: "Arthur's Reading Race" by Marc Brown

- Stop watch

- Poster with a banana tree, numbered 30-120.

- One laminated monkey for each student

- Fluency Rubric:
Reader _________________         Evaluator__________________
Circle one:
Expressive Reading-   Good        Great
Smooth Reading-         Good        Great
Fast Reading-              Good        Great



1. Review decoding strategies with students, reminding them the importance of using cover ups and crosschecking.

2. Explain to students the importance of being fluent readers. "It is important for you to be able to read fast and smoothly. If you can read a book fast and smoothly, then you will enjoy books more!"

3. "I am going to read this book to you. Would you like me to read it slow and take a breath after each word or should I try to read it with expression and at a moderate speed? Let me show you both ways and you let me know."

4. I will read the first page slowly, pausing after each word. I will read the second page at a normal pace. I will ask students, "Which reading did you enjoy more?"

5. I will model for students good speed and reading with expression by reading two pages of the book. I will then give a book talk for the book, "Arthur's Reading Race". Arthur is a young boy who is trying to become a great reader, just like you all. One day he is challenged to a reading race. He reads as fast as he can, but he still does not seem as fast as some of the other kids in his class. Will Arthur be able to win the race?

6. Each student will read "Arthur's Reading Race" completely through individually.

7. Students will partner up and practice one minute reads. Each student will read twice with a partner and the partner will record the number of words read per minute.

8. Students will then individually come to the reading corner with the teacher where we will do one minute reads. Students will chart their progress on the banana tree with their individually labeled monkey.


Assessment: With a partner, children will complete the fluency rubric. Each student will read the text again and their partner will rate them on their reading in the following categories: fast, smooth, expressive.


Darby Wallingsford: Speedy, Speedy Students Reading Fast.

Mark Gullion: Read for Me.

Murray, Bruce. Developing Reading Fluency.

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