Racing to Read Better


Growing Independence and Fluency Design

MaeLee Mathis



Decoding strategies are important to learn and use; however, they slow reading down and do not facilitate comprehension. The process can be sped up with fluency instruction. Becoming a fluent reader helps students effortlessly recognize more and more words. Repeated readings help a student move forward from slowly decoding words to faster, smoother, and more fluent reading. This lesson directs students to use strategies that build sight words through repeated readings of the text and charting progress in paired partner readings to sustain motivation to reread. 



-copy of sentence ‘The dog ran to fetch the ball.’

- Frog and Toad are Friends books (class set) *could vary per grade and group of students

-stop watches

- Speed Reading Record for partners

Speed Reading Record:

Name:_________             Date:_________

-After 1st Read ________
-After 2nd Read________
-After 3rd Read ________




1. Say: Today we are going to work on reading words quickly and smoothly. This is also called ‘fluency.’


2. Say: I will show you how to tell if someone is reading fluently or not. (Showing the sentence on the board.) ’The dog ran to fetch the ball.’ Now do you think that was fluent or not? What about this? ’Th-e  d-o-g  r-a-n  t-o  f-e-tch th-e  b-a-ll.’  What about that one? It was hard to hear the words in the sentence because I was sounding them all out. The more times you practice reading a sentence the better you will become at reading it, and soon you can read it quickly and smoothly.

3. Say: Let’s practice reading this sentence together. [Show previously written sentence:  If you have a question, please raise your hand.] ‘If you have a question, please raise your hand.’ I heard that some of us got stuck on the word ‘question’ because it is a tricky word. Did you notice that you figured out what the word was after you finished the sentence? That is called crosschecking. We can use that strategy if we see a word that we aren’t sure about.


4. Say: The book we will be reading from today is called Frog and Toad are Friends. Now, Frog and Toad have lots of fun and go on adventures together. Let’s find out what Toad and Frog are going to do today! Now everybody find a partner that you want to read Frog and Toad are Friends with. You will be working on reading smoothly and quickly with each other. One person will read at a time. Your partner will listen to you read and time you with a stopwatch. Each person will read three times.


5. Say:  The partner that is listening will not only be timing, but listening for smooth reading and how well your partner reads. You will be recording your partner’s progress on a Speed Reading Record Sheet. (I will show the sheet and model how to record information on it). I will be walking around while everyone is reading to listen to your wonderful reading voices and to make sure everyone is getting their turns.


6. To assess each student, I will review the partner’s record sheet before having the student read to me independently. I will make notes while the student is reading, noting miscues and keep track of students’ wpm to see improvement. When students are done reading, I will ask them a series of comprehension questions to see if they comprehend their reading instead of merely reading fast.



Who were the characters in the story?

What were the characters doing?

What happened first?

What happened last?



Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends. New York: Harper & Row, 1970.

Vaughan, Sara. (2013). Racing to Read Faster and Smoother

 Transformations Index