No Speed Limit

Growing Independence and Fluency

Emily Colburn


This lesson teaches children about reading words faster and accurately. In this lesson students will time themselves to see how many words they can read correctly. The goal is for students to recognize words automatically and become fluent readers.


Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia, timer, pencil, paper, and timing chart


1. Today we are going to work on reading words automatically and at a good speed. The more you read a text the faster you should be able to read it. This is called fluency. We want to be fluent readers so that we can understand the story we are reading.

2. Write this sentence on the board. Everyone write this sentence on your paper, “I like to play ball” Reread the sentence until you can read every word without messing up. If you are having trouble cross check or use your cover up to help you. This means to cover up all of the letters except the first one. Move the cover up to the next letter and sound out each letter as you come to it. Remember to finish the sentence to help you figure out the word you are struggling with.

3. Give a booktalk. Amelia Bedelia is going to fill in for a sick baseball player. Do you think she will be a good baseball player? Let’s read to find out!  

4. Model how to read fluently and not fluently. Aaaaameeelliaa Bbbeedeeliaa ssswuung aaat tttheee neext baalll. I read it very slow and was struggling. To read fluently you want to read like this, Amelia Bedelia swung at the next ball. I read smoothly and with an excited voice! I am becoming more fluent because I am remembering words that use to slow me down.

5. Everyone will have a partner. Each group will have a book, timer, pencil, and timing chart. One student is to read a chapter. The other student will be checking to make sure that the reader is reading the word correctly. Then we will switch. Remember not to skip any words! Start the timer as soon as the reader begins reading, press stop when the reader is finished. If they miss a word put a check mark above the word. Don’t take too long on the check mark because you want to keep up with the reader.

6. On your timing chart you need to write how many words they read in a minute. The first column says trial 1 and trial 2 the second column says words per minute. Put the words the reader got correct in the “words per minute” column.  If both partners have read once you may do it again. Try to get more words this time!

Trial 1

Words per minute:

Trial 2

Words per minute:


7. Assessment: I will call each student to my desk and have them read a page from the story to assess how many words they read in a minute. I will then tell them what they need to work on to become a more fluent reader!  I will also ask them to bring me their timing  I will ask the student a few questions about what they just read. What was this about? Why do you think will happen next? Why did the author write this?


Parish, Peggy, and Wallace Tripp. Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia. New York: Harper & Row, 1972.


Jenn Miranda, Go Speed Reader!


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