Off to the Races!
RaceCar
Growing Independence and Fluency
Heather Langley

Rationale:
    The characteristics of a fluent reader are reading effortlessly, quickly, and with expression. Fluent readers have to have the ability to recognize words automatically. When reading if a student encounters a word that they do not know they should decode the word. Once the student had decoded the word they should cross check by rereading the sentence to make sure the word make sense. Students should reread books several times so they are able to familiarize themselves with words and therefore able to recognize them automatically. One-minute reads are very important in fostering fluency. In this lesson, students will be conducting one-minute reads with a partner to improve their fluency.


Materials:
Pencils
Racecar stickers
Racecar progress chart (the paper will be in the shape of a racecar with lines going across it like notebook paper)
Cover up critters- Popsicle stick little eyes on the end (1 per student)
Stopwatch (1 per pair)
Dry erase board
Tin Man Fix It (1 per student)
Paper for the teacher to record assessment notes


Teaching Procedures:
1. Introduce the lesson to the students. “Today we are going to be working on becoming more fluent readers. Fluent readers read words quickly and with expression. You will be using decoding and cross checking strategies to help you read difficult words.”

2. Model to the students how to read fluently. Using the dry erase board write the following sentence: I like to walk my dog. “Listen to me as I read the sentence. I llllliiik like to wwwaaalllk walk my ddddooog dog. Did my reading sound good?” Allow time for students to respond. “That’s right no it didn’t, because I read too slow without using fluency. Now I am going to reread the same sentence and if I can make it sound better.” Reread the sentence a little faster. “Did that time sound better? What did I do that made it sound better? That’s right I read the sentence faster. I am going try it one more time and see if I can make sound even better.” Reread the sentence using speed, fluency, and expression. “This time, I read the sentence quicker and my words flowed together smoothly, because I was reading with fluency. I also used expression when I read making my voice go up and down as I read certain words.  Each time I read the sentence I got better and better because I had seen the words before.”

3. Review cross checking with students. “When reading if come across a word that you don’t know you can use our cover up critter to decode the word.” Write the word stick on the board. Model how to use the cover critter (popsicle stick with little eyes glued on) to decode hard to read words. “When reading, if you come across a tough word use your cover up critter to cover up parts of the word to make it easier to sound out.” Cover up all the letters except the i and sound out the sound of the short i=/i/.  Then, look at the letters leading up to the vowel, s = /s/ and t = /t/. Finally, focus on the ck = /k/. “We are going to start by looking at only the vowel. What letter would that be? That’s right the i, so we are going to cover up all the other letters. We know that the short i makes and /i/ sound, like the we hear in the word itch. Now, we are going to look at the letters leading up to the vowel, so s=/s/ and t = /t/so we have /s/ /t/ /i/. Finally, let’s look at the end of the word, so ck = /k, so we know have /s/ /t/ /i/ /ck/.  So from now on remember when you come across a tough word to use your cover up critter.”

4. “We are now going to read the book Tin Man Fix-It. This book is about a tin man named Tim. One day, Tim is outside working in the garden with his friend Jim when out of nowhere a big kid comes racing down the sidewalk on his skateboard and crashes into Tim! Tim, the tin man is broken into pieces and is lying on the ground. What is going to happen to Tim? Let’s hurry and read the book to find out what happens to him. I am worried. I hope he will be okay.” Model to the students how to read Tin Man Fix-It as a fluent reader would.

5. “Now that you all have heard me read the book as a fluent reader, I want you all try.” You are going to reading fluently with a partner.” Divide the students into pairs and give them one stopwatch and two copies of the book. Explain to the students that one will be the reader and the other will be the timer and then they will switch roles. “When you are the reader, see how many words you can read smoothly in one minute. Remember not to skip any words. Place one of the racecar stickers where you left off at the end of one minute. Then continue reading the book without the timer. Now go back and then count the number of words that you read in one minute and write that number down on your racecar progress chart. Then switch with your partner until you have both read the book three times each. You may begin reading. ”

6. The teacher should be walking around the room listening and providing assistance where needed.

7. In order to assess the students I will call them up to my desk individually and have them bring their progress chart. I will go over the chart with the student, highlighting their areas of improvement. The student should have gotten faster each time they read the book so will talk about why this happened. Then I will have the student read Tin Man Fix It aloud as monitor their fluency by taking notes on their ability read smoothly and quickly. I will also record the student’s miscues. After the student has read the book I will ask the following questions to check for comprehension:
1. Who is Tim?
2. What was the kid riding on that hit Tim?
3. Were they able to put Tim back together?


References:
Shumock, Emily. Zot, Zap, Read!  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/shumockgf.html

Tin Man Fix It. (1990) Phonics Readers Short Vowels. Carson, CA (USA): Educational Insights.

Wheat, Kathleen. The Need for Speed.  http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/encounters/wheatgf.html



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