Hot Rod Readers

 Growing Independence and Fluency
 Ashley Ramsey

Rationale: Students become fluent by learning to read at a faster pace without mistakes.  Fluent readers should be able to read automatically with accuracy and use expression.  Fluency is developed through repeated and timed readings.  “Hot Rod Readers” will help students to become fluent readers by developing the skills they need to read automatically, accurately, and expressively. 



1. Copy of In the Big Top per student

2. Copy of In the Big Top for the teacher

3. Dry erase board and marker for each student

4. Stopwatch for each pair of students

5. Post-its

6. Pencil for each student

7. Cover-up critters for each student

8. Growth chart for each student *the chart is circus themed with a picture of a hot rod moving toward a circus tent.  Each time the student reads, they will record the number of words they can read in a given time period (chart is numbered from 0-50) and put a post-it above the number that matches the number of words they were able to read.  The goal is to the highest number possible so that you can be close to reaching the circus tent or “big top”.  Each time the student reads they should get a higher number.


Procedure: 1. Teacher says to class "Today we are going to work on developing fluency.  Does anyone know what fluency is?  Fluency is when you are able to read fast without stopping to decode or sound out each word.  You are able to recognize the words as soon as you see them without struggling.  One way that we can work on fluency is by reading a book more than once.  Each time you read the book, you get faster because you are becoming more familiar with the text.  Today we are gong to practice fluency by reading a book more than once and recording the results of our exercise.”


2. Teacher will model for the students how to read with fluency:  Teacher says to class, â€œWrite on the dry erase board the following sentence: The cat took a nap.” Teacher explains, "First, I am going to read the sentence without fluency (teacher struggles to decode the words).  “The c-a-t t-o-o-k a n-a-p.”  “Now I am going to read the sentence like a fluent reader would.” “The cat took a nap.”   â€œCan you hear the difference?”  â€œListen as I read the sentence one more time.”  â€œThe cat took a nap.”  â€œThis time I read the sentence faster because it was the second time I read the sentence, it was familiar to me.”


3. Teacher says to class, “We are going to read In the Big Top to practice improving our fluency.” Give Book talk:  “Everyone has to get in the hot rod to go to the Big Top.  There are a lot of people and things that must fit before they can leave.  Will they make it to the Big Top?  You will have to read to find out.”  Students will read In the Big Top more than once to improve their fluency. "Do not forget that cross checking is a tool that fluent readers use to make sense of the sentences that they read and to read more successfully.  If you do not automatically recognize a word use your cover-up critter to hide part of the word to make it easier to decode/sound out.   Once you are able to read the word, go back and reread the sentence to see if the word makes sense in the sentence.  If the word does not make sense in the sentence, that is a hint that you did not read the word correctly.  If you and your partner together cannot figure out how to pronounce a word correctly, come ask me and I will help you."  Teacher models fluent reading to the students by reading In the Big Top aloud.


4. Teacher says to class "Now that you know how a fluent reader sounds, you are going to get to try to be one while you read to your partner!”  The teacher will now put the students in pairs and give each pair a stopwatch and two copies of the book.  One student will be the reader and the other student will be the timer.  Then, the two students will trade roles.  "When it is your turn to read, I want you to see how many words you can read in one minute, be sure to read every word- no skipping!  Put a post-it where you left off so that you will know where to stop counting. When you are finished reading, count the number of words that you read in one minute and write that number on your growth chart.  Keep trading with your partner until you have each read four times.  Ready, set, read!”


5. Teacher circulates around the classroom to listen to the pairs reading and to assist if needed.


Assessment: Teacher says to class, “When I call your name, come to my desk and show me your progress chart. I will go over your chart with you.  Then, I will ask you to read a page from In the Big Top.”

The teacher will monitor fluency by taking miscue and comments on how automatic, accurate, and expressive the students' reading was.  After all of the students have come up, the teacher will ask the students to take out a sheet and paper and a pencil.  The instructor will do a quick comprehension check by asking the class to record their answers to the following questions:

1. How did they get to the Big Top?

2. Who had to fit in the hot rod before they could go?

3. Pop looks different from the rest of the characters, what is he dressed as?


*Rickard, Laci.  Perspectives: Read with Speed and Be in the Lead!

*Benom Lauren.  Perspectives: How Fast Can YOU GO??!!

*Cushman, Sheila.  In the Big Top. Educational Insights 1990.

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