1, 2, 3..Race!

1, 2, 3..Race!


Growing Independency and Fluency

By: Elizabeth Scott


Rational: Reading is characterized by how smoothly, quickly, and expressively a piece of text is read. Reading fluently requires automatic word recognition, and through the fluency of reading, a reader can begin to read silently and more effectively. Fluency requires learning the words as sight words, so if you can instantly recognize what a word is, it is a sight word. The fluency formula is “read and reread decodable words in connected text.” This lesson will administer that fluency formula by reading decodable text, and then reading it to aid in the development of fluency.


Materials: stopwatch for each group, book, Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble, Fluency chart for each student (Racecar themed chart—on side--numbers counting up towards top of the page), car stickers, dry erase board with markers.



1. The lesson will begin by explaining the definition of fluency. SAY: “Fluency is reading smoothly and quickly, not sounding out each word, and reading with expression in your voice. To be a successful reader, one has to be a fluent reader. One way to become a successful fluent reader is to read a piece of text more than one time. The more you read, the better reader you will become and the more familiar you become with the words. Today, we will develop our fluency by rereading a text.”


2. Using the dry erase board and markers, write a sentence. An example sentence would be, “I have a dog, and he likes to run and catch my ball.” Next review and explain the steps in decoding. “What if I do not know a word, what will I do first? Right, I will use the cover-up method. Let’s practice on the word dog. Notice the word dog on the board.” Using the white board, write the following steps down on the board as an example. “First we find the vowel, the vowel is o, and we would have everything else covered up except the vowel. The letter o can either say /o/ or /O/ so I need to look at the rest of the word to figure out the sound of the letter o. I do not see a silent e and I do not see any other vowels in the word so this o must say /o/ like the yawning boy we learned about. Now I can look at the beginning of the word, and it is the letter d, so I know what /d/ says and I put  /d/ and /o/ together to make /do/. The last letter is g and I know that g says /g/ so if I blend /do/ with /g/ we get dddooogggg, dog. Let’s now check to see if we have blended correctly, so let’s reread the sentence to make sure the word dog makes sense.” Now I want to spell the word click. I first hear that short vowel i. Then I hear that c sound then l sound, so I put the /cl/ together. So, I have c-l-i. Now this last part is tricking me up. I hear the sound /k/. I don’t know how to spell that. Is it c-l-i-k? Or c-l-i-k-e? No, oh I know! It ends with the diagraph /ck/. I have c-l-i-ck which makes click.


3. SAY: “Next I am going to read a sentence that I will write on the board to you. The first time I am going to read the sentence on the board without fluency and then I will read the sentence with fluency.” (Write ‘I like to play with my cat’ on the board.) Then the teacher will demonstrate reading the sentence with no fluency, ‘I l-i-ke t-o p-l-ay w-i-th m-y c-a-t. “What did you notice about my reading? It took me a long time didn’t it? Didn’t everyone have a difficult time understanding me? Yes, you are right. This happens a lot when we read, but the more we read the same words, the better we will get at recognizing them. Now I am going to read the same sentence a different way. I want each of you to listen and see a difference in my reading. I am going to read it fast and with fluency. I like to play with my cat. Which time sounded better? Yes, the second time because I read it must faster and it was much easier to understand because I wasn’t getting stuck on words. We will practice today by decoding first and then rereading the text to enhance our development of fluency.”


4. Now, place students into groups of two. Hand out the book, Henry and Mudge in the Puddle Trouble to every student. SAY: Henry admires the first snow glory and really wants to pick it, but his mother tells him no. Do you think Henry will obey or pick it without telling his mother? Let’s read to find out. SAY: “First, I will read the first two pages three times to demonstrate what we will do.” Explain to the class that each time you read a passage you become familiar with it and become better at reading it. First time reading the passage, the teacher reads the text slowly and make it difficult for the students to understand. Then the second time read it better and on the third time read it fluently with expression. Now it is your turn, read the whole story one time, then reread it two more times just like I did.”


5. They will each take turns reading to each other so each partner becomes familiar with the book. The teacher should walk around observing the students while they are reading and taking notes. If some groups get done before others, tell them to each reread the story one more time.


6. Next, pass out a stopwatch to each group along with the racecar themed chart and car stickers. SAY: “We are going to play a fun game that I bet you have never played before. I need each of you to listen to the directions. I want one person in the group at a time to read the story. The other partner will have the stopwatch and be timing the other person, and when the partner has finished reading the entire book, stop the timer. Then, I want the partner that was the timer to record the time their partner read and place a car sticker on the racecar chart by the time (numbers are on the side of the chart). Then the other partner should do this.” The teacher should demonstrate in the front of the classroom how to graph the times using the chart given with the car sticker and racecar chart. “Each student should read the book three times and the partner should record the time after each read. Each time you finish reading the whole book and get timed, track it with a new car sticker. At the end each partner will have three cars on their racecar chart because you will read the whole story three different times and get timed to see how much faster you read.


7. After they have completed their three readings and graphed them, collect the charts. Use these charts/graphs for your assessment to see if their fluency improved and which students need more help. Now, ask reading comprehension questions to see if they comprehended the text. Two comprehensions questions that can be asked would be what did Henry’s mom tell him and what happened next door to Henry and Mudge’s house?




Falls, Jennifer. “Go, Go Speed Racer” A Gaining Fluency Design by Jennifer Falls, Auburn University, Reading Genie Website. http://www.auburn.edu/academic/education/reading_genie/odysseys/fallsgf.html

Masterson, Sharon. “Racing Racecars.” A Gaining Fluency Design by Sharon Masterson, Auburn University, Reading Genie Website. http://www.auburn.edu//%7Esem0016/mastersongf.htm

Rylant, Cynthis. “Henry and the Mudge in Puddle Trouble.”Aladdin: 1987 pages 5-19.

Graphic image: http://images.thecarconnection.com/lrg/ferrari-458-challenge-race-car_100316284_l.jpg

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