Growing Independence and Fluency

Race to Reading!

Rationale: In order for children to be able to read a sufficient amount of text in a certain amount of time they need to be able to read fluently and skillfully. Reading fluency is the ability to recognize words accurately, rapidly, and automatically. Fluent readers learn to read fast and smoothly but also with expression.  By gaining fluency, students also gain comprehension skills because they do not have to focus on sounding out the words.  The goal of this lesson is to help students develop reading fluency using timed reading. 

Materials: Charts to record one-minute reads (one for each child)- the chart could be a racecar that moves forward on a track as the students increases words per minute.  Use Velcro to attach the racecar. 

Multiple copies of Arthur's Reading Race, by Marc Brown

Multiple copies of Frog and Toad are Friends

Fluency checklists (The checklist will include headings such as: I noticed my partner… remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, read with expression.)



1. Explain to students that to become better readers we must begin to read fluency which mean reading faster, automatically, and effortlessly.  “Becoming more fluent readers will make reading easier and more fun!  One way to becoming a fluent reader is by rereading the same story and each time getting faster because you are more familiar with the book.  Today we are going to read a book and then reread it with better fluency.  First let’s review how you can figure out a word own your own that you are stuck on.  You can also use cover-ups: for example, if you wanted to figure out the word pan, first you would cover up everything but the vowel, a. The a makes the /a/ sound.  Then uncover the first letter, p.  The p makes the /p/ sound.  Now combine the sounds.  Next uncover the last letter, n.  The n makes the /n/ sound.  Combine all the sounds, pan.  Also remember to crosscheck.  If you get stuck, read the rest of the sentence to see what would make sense.”

2. "I am going to read a sentence two different ways. While I am reading I would like for everyone to notice the difference in the sentences."Arrthhuurrr Arrttthhhuurr Oh! Arthur leeeaarrnss leearnns learns to reeaad read in sccchhhoooll scchhool. Then I will re-read "Arthur learns to read in school."  

"Which one was smooth?" 

"Which was easier to understand and why do you think so?

"Which time did you better understand what I read?" 

 3. “We will read Arthur's Reading Race. In this book Arthur learns to read, he likes it so much he reads in the car, in the bed, to his puppy, and even to his sister D.W. Arthur tells D.W. he will teach her how to read, but she says she already knows how to read. Arthur doesn't believe her and they set out to see if she could actually read. Let's read to find out if D.W. proves Arthur wrong.  Since we will be practicing how to increase our reading speed. We will be reading the book several times, so we can increase fluency while also reading faster." 

 4. Handout a copy of the book to each student.  Have the students read the story quietly to themselves first. If students finish early they can reread the story.

 5. Introduce the fluency checklist to the class and go over how to fill it out.  “Listen to your partner read one time and they the second time your partner reads make a check mark in the appropriate box; either remembered more words, read faster, read smoother, or read with expression. Divide the students into partners.  Have each person read the story to his/her partner all the way through one time.  Next, have the partners take turns reading to each other while the one listening fills out a fluency checklist on the student reading.  Then they will switch and the other will read. The students will have to make a check under the headings that apply.


Ask comprehension questions to check for students understanding of what they read. “Could Arthur’s sister read?” “How did he find out?” Allow students to reflect and make comments. As you test students have the other students read the new book Frog and Toad Are Friends that you will reread tomorrow.


Reading Genie Website 

"Speedy Gonzoloz" by Lauren Reynolds 

Arthur's Reading Race (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3) Brown, Marc: 1996