Racing Monkeys

Laura Ashley Norman


 Rationale :

In order for students to become successful readers they must learn to read fluently. Children demonstrate fluency when they read words automatically. When reading is automatic, it becomes more appealing and children are able to read expressively, and faster. This enables them to read on their own which is twice as fast as reading aloud. In order to achieve fluency students must read and reread decodable words in connected text. In this lesson children will learn to read fluently by  reading  a short poem from  Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstine, and timming themselves. Students should be looking for speed not accuracy. 



Fluency Chart (one per two students)

Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstine (one per two students)

One stop watch per group




1.      Explain the purpose of the lesson to the students. "Today we are going to learn how to become more fluent readers. Fluent readers and readers who can read words automatically and they do it with lots of expression in their voices. Fluent readers can read like you would talk. When we become fluent readers it is much easier and fun to read because we don't get distracted by stopping as often. If you read the same story over and over, you will learn the story and be able to read the words automatically, or fluently. Today, we will read the same passages over and over with a partner in order to become a more fluent reader. "

2.      On the board or overhead, write the following sentence: The monkey climbs to the top of the tree. "I am going to read this sentence like a kindergartner, with no fluency." Model reading the sentence as a reader without fluency would, stopping at every word and exaggerating every phoneme. "Now I am going to read this sentence like a super smart 1st or 2nd grader would, with fluency!" Model reading the sentence with heightened expression, smoothly, and without stopping between words. "Who noticed a difference in the way I read the sentence? Which was easier to understand? Which was faster? Very good! The sentence I read the second time was best."

3.      "Now its your turn to practice the sentence." Children should practice reading the sentence until they read it fluently. Provide a few other sentences for students for extra practice.

4.      Break students off into pairs and pass out a copy of Shel Silverstine's Where The Sidewalk Ends and one fluency chart to each group. "I want you to each take turns reading a passage of your choice out of this collection of poems. While one is reading, the other should be taking time. If you are the reader, I want you to try are read as expressively and smoothly as possible. The timer/recorder will record how many words you get write in one minute. You will then be timed again and reread the passage. Check and see if you can improve your score each time. When you are done with four trials, switch and allow the recorder to read.

5.      Model reading a passage from the poems. First, read it slowly, and mundane. Get faster and smoother with each reading to demonstrate how the students will read and understand the text better as they continue.

6.      Assessment: Have students come to you for a one on one reading from the book. Allow students to show you the passage they worked on, and have them show you their chart. Ask them how they improved, did they understand the poem the first time they read it, or as they continued to practice it.



 Reference :


Lincoln, Katie "Buzz, Buzz, Buzz!"


Where The Sidewalk Endsby Shel Silverstine

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