On your marks, get set, READ!!

Growing independence and fluency

Katherine Harris


Rationale: In order for readers to become fluent, they must read faster, smoother, expressively, silently, and voluntarily. To obtain fluency, students should read and reread decodable words in connected texts. The more times a student experiences a text, the easier it becomes for them to read it. This lesson focuses on how to help students increase their reading speeds and read with expression. The teacher will time each student on repeated readings and will note their expression when reading. The time and amount of expression should improve with each repeated reading. The students will also have practice reading sentences with expression to a partner and will be able to hear the difference between reading with expression and reading without expression.


Materials: A teacher copy of No, David!  by David Shanno, individual copies of Sam’s Trip to the Doc by Heather Lewis for each student, individual graphs of a monkey trying to reach a banana for each student, cards with expressive sentences on the front and back such as I LOVE to ride bikes! and I do not like green eggs and ham!, etc., and a stop watch.



1. I will first go over and model decoding and crosschecking strategies. Who can tell me  how we decode and crosscheck? Good! Here’s an example: TTToooommm- Tom llliccckksss-licks to ddrraawww-draw. Tom licks- I mean likes- to draw. Tom likes to draw. Okay. We have been doing repeated readings this week. Who can remember what our goal is each time we read our repeated text? That’s right! Each time we read, we are trying to read faster and with more expression. Have any of you ever heard someone talking with no expression that sounded really boring? Have you ever heard someone reading with no expression? Did that make you interested in what they were saying or reading? Did you understand them, or do you think you might have understood them better if they were more expressive? Well, we are going to practice reading faster and with more expression today when reading our repeated texts. First, I am going to show you an example. I am going to read, No, David!. I will read it twice. Listen carefully to how I read. I will read the book the first time very slowly and with little expression. The second time, I will read it faster and with lost of expression. Did you like the way I read the book the first time? What was different about the way I read the book the first and second time? Would you like me to always read to you the way I did the first time or the second time? Did you understand the book better when I read it the first or second time? I will demonstrate that I am learning the words better the second time.

2. Now, you are going to practice reading with expression to a partner. I will divide the class up in groups of two students each. I will give each group cards with sentences on them. Partner 1 will read the sentences on the front of the cards and partner 2 will read the sentences on the back of the cards. You will alternate who reads. First, read all of the sentences to your partners with no expression. Then, read the sentences again using a lot of expression. I will be coming around to each group, listening for your expression the second time.

3. Now that you have had practice reading with expression to your partners, you are going to show me how well you can read with expression. Each of you is going to read Sam’s Trip to the Doc to me three times. It is about a boy that has a horrible itch and goes to the doctor. What do you think he has, and what do you think is going to happen? Do you think he is going to get better? I will time you each time and make sure you are reading with expression. I will record your time on a graph. It is a graph of a monkey trying to reach a banana. You are going to be the monkey and each of your reading speed goals will be the banana. I am hoping each of you can get to the banana by your third reading!

4. For assessment, the teacher times each student individually reading Sam’s Trip to the Doc three times. She records their results on their graphs for each reading and notes their expression while reading each time.



Hendricks, Shanon, Ready, Set, Read!



Spinks, Ellen, Exercising Expression.



Shannon, David, No, David!, New York City, New York, Blue Sky Press, 1998, 32 pgs.


Lewis, Hather. Sam’s Trip to the Doc. Retrieved from the website, Decodable Books Written by Teachers http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/teacherbooks.html.


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