Racing into Reading

Brittany Williams


Rationale:  In order to become a skillful and successful reader one must be able to read fluently.  Fluency is reading smoothly, quickly and with emotion while also reading accurately.  Fluent readers recognize words automatically effortlessly aloud and with expression.  Before children become fluent readers they read slowly and focus on decoding each individual word.  In order to improve children's fluency teacher's can do one minute reading drills in which the students read for one minute.  This activity improves the student's smoothness and quickness because they are asked to read aloud.  The teacher can keep up with the student's progress throughout the year in order to see what the student needs to improve on as well as charting their progress.  This lesson will provide the students an opportunity to improve on their fluency as well as their expression while reading. 



Sentence Strip with the sentence "The red car is on the track with the pink car."

Small dry erase board and marker

Sentences (enough for each student to practice cover-up and fluency)

            -"Mom can mend my top."

            -"Ben sails his ship in the tub."

Sentence to model reading faster  "The kids play at the lake."

Sentences (enough for each pair of students to have ten sentences to practice reading faster)

            -"Bob makes a cake."

            -"Sam leans on the tree."

Stop watch

Fluency Sheets for each student












Copy of Kite Day at Pine Lake for each student

Race Track (for each student) (laminated) (numbered 1-100) (velcro on each number)

Race Car (for each student) (laminated) (Velcro on the back)



1.  Say, "Today we are going to learn how to become better readers.  To become a better reader you have to read words quickly and correctly.  When you read words quickly and correctly reading becomes a lot of fun." 


2. Say, "Now let's pretend that we are reading and we come to a word we do not recognize (fast).  To figure out what the word says we use the cover-up method.  First we cover up the end and the beginning of the word.  This leaves just the vowel a= /a/.  Next we add the first part of the word l= /l/.  So now we have la= /la/.  Then we add the ending which is st= /st/.  Now we have the word /l/ /a/ /st/, last.  To become better readers we would now reread the sentence so we can understand what it says."  Now the teacher will model using the sentence "The red car is on the track with the pink car."  Say, the sentence while showing the students the sentence on the sentence strip using the cover-up method for the word track.  Then reread the sentence using fluency to model to the students the correct way to read fluency. 


3.  Say, "Now let's practice using cover-ups."  I will write a few sentences on the board and the students will take turns coming up and using the cover-up method the figure out a word they do not know then rereading the sentence to see if it makes sense.  This process will continue until each student has had a turn or until I feel the children understand. 


4.  Say, "Now that we are becoming better readers we will practice reading faster."  I will write a sentence on the board to model how to read faster.  Then the students will get with a partner and practice reading faster using sentences and the cover-up method.  Give them enough time to practice.


5.  Say, "Now we are on our way to becoming better readers; the last step is understanding what we read."  Hand out the book Kite Day at Pine Lake to every student.  Give the students a book talk then let them read the rest of the book on their own to find out what happens in the book.  Say, "Students remember that good readers read smooth, fast and with expression.  We also want to understand what we read."  Give the students enough time to read the book at least twice then discuss the book with them as a group. 


6.  To assess the students I will give them one minute readings with the book Kite Day at Pine Lake.  This will make it clear as to what each student needs to work on.  I will continue doing these one minute readings throughout the year until each student has made sufficient progress.


7.  Each student will be given a race track numbered 1-100 and a race car.  After each one minute reading the words read will be counted and the student will place their race car on the corresponding number on the track.  After each reading the student and the teacher will mark on the track a goal for the next reading (should be a reachable goal within five words).  This will help the students track their own progress as well as give them motivation to get better.   


References: "How to Teach Reading Fluency"

Kite Day at Pine Lake.  Cushman,Shelia and Kornblum,Rona. Educational Insights: Carson, CA. 1990.


Up, Up, and Away With Fluency!, Lacey Adams


On Your Mark. Get Set. Read!, Volandra Holloway


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