Racing Racecars


Growing Independence and Fluency Lesson Design

Sharon Masterson


Rational: Reading smoothly, quickly, and expressively are all characteristics of reading. Reading fluently requires automatic word recognition. Through fluent reading, a reader can begin to read silently, which is faster than oral reading. The fluency formula is "read and reread decodable words in connected text". This lesson will use that formula by reading a decodable text, and then reading it to aid in the development of fluency.

Materials: stopwatches and calculators for each group, a copy of Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble, Fluency chart for each student (the chart has a column with numbers counting up towards the top of the page. The chart has a Racecar theme), car stickers, dry erase board with markers.


1.Being the lesson with explaining what fluency is, say: Fluency is when you read fast and smoothly-so you don’t sound out each word-and when you read with expression in your voice. Being a successful reader requires fluent reading. One way we can all become successful fluent readers is to read a text more than one time. The more you read, the more familiar you become with the words. Today we will improve our fluency by rereading a text.

2.Use your dry erase board to write a sentence. An example sentence is "I have a dog named Mudge and he is very big and likes to run." Now review decoding steps, say: What do I do if I get to a word and do not know what it is? That’s right I use the cover-up method. Let’s practice on the word dog. First we find the vowel, the vowel is o and it can say either /o/ or /O/ so I need to look at the rest of the word to figure it out. I don’t see a silent e at the end and I don’t see any other vowels in the word so this o must say /o/ like the yawning boy. Now I can look at the beginning of the word and it’s a d and I know that says /d/ so now I have /d//o/ we can blend together to make /do/. The last letter is g and I know g says /g/ so if we blend the sounds together we get dddoooogggg, dog. Then we check to make sure we have blended correctly by rereading the sentence to make sure that dog makes sense.

3.Say: Now I am going to show you the difference between reading without fluency and reading with fluency. (write on your board the sentence, "  I love my red bag." And demonstrate reading slowly) I l-/O/-/v/-/e/-love my r-/E/-d no r-/e/-d b-/A/-/j/, that’s not right, /a/, /b//a//g/.  I love my red bag. What did you notice about my reading? It took a lot of my time up and it was harder to understand me too. If I was reading a whole passage it would take me a long time decoding all of these words. But when you learn to read with fluency, it will go much faster. Now I’ll read it with fluency, "I love my red bag." Much faster and much easier to understand because I wasn’t getting stuck on the words. This is how we will practice today, by decoding first then rereading the text.

4. Now this book, Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble is a story where Henry and Mudge go out in all sorts of weather getting messy and wet and get into some trouble, you're going to have to read to find out what happens to them. Give each student a partner. Pass out the book Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble to each child. Say: follow along in your book while I read the first two pages. I am going to read them twice, and then you will do the same with your partner. (the first time read it slowly and decode, then the second tie improve your reading.) Now it’s your turn, read the whole story one time, then reread it two more times.

5.Walk around and observe the students as they read with their partner, taking notes on students.

6.Once every group has read the story three times, pass out a stop watch and the chart to each group. Say: we are going to play the fluency game, "Racing Racecars"  listen closely so you will know what to do. One person will be the timer and partner two to start as the reader, then you will swap. The timer will start the stop watch to see how many seconds it takes to read the passage. Then count the words and the seconds it took the read it all and put the numbers into the math problem (# of words x 60 divided by the seconds. Then put those numbers on the graph chart. After you have graphed the reader’s number, I want you to swap jobs. (Model how to put the numbers on the graph correctly). Do this three times and use the different car stickers to mark each reading so that each partner will have three cars on the chart marking their number for each read.

Assessment: After they have completed their three readings and graphed them, collect the graphs. Use these graphs for your assessment to see if their fluency improved and which students need more help. Then ask reading comprehension questions about the text they read to see if they can comprehend the text.


Falls, Jennifer. "Go, Go Speed Racer" A gaining fluency design created by Jennifer Falls, Auburn University, Reading Genie Website.

Rylant, Cynthia. "Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble." Aladdin: 1987 pages 5-19.

Fluency chart that you must fill in the numbers for the race cars to reach individual to each child's level 


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