“Ready, Set, Read”

traffic light

Kasey Pettus

Growing Independency and Fluency



            “Skillful reading depends critically upon the speed and completeness with which words can be identified from their visual forms” (Adams 59).  Children develop better comprehension skills when they become fluent readers.  Also, the more children work at a particular text, the more fluent the text becomes to them.  The goal of this lesson is to help children learn to read faster and smoother by engaging them in fluency activities where they are rereading familiar books.



            -sentence strips for students to practice:

                        a. I enjoy swimming in the pool.

                        b. Will you ride with me to the store?

            -one minute read charts (enough for all the children)

            -charts to display the students’ individual progress (ball player hitting a baseball over the fence              

            -class copy of Lee and the Team

            -fluency checklist (with headings: read faster, read smoother, stopped many times, did not stop at all     






  1. Explain to the class how important it is to be able to read more quickly and accurately.  “Today, we are going to continue to become even better readers as we work on fluency. . .reading faster.  This skill will also help you understand words better because we will not have to try so hard to read the words.  One way to become more fluent is to read the same text more than once, trying to read faster each time as you become more familiar with the book.   This is exactly what we will do today.
  2. “First, let’s review how to figure out a word that we may not already know.  We should use the cover-up technique.  Do you remember using this technique before?  (Write stitch on the board).  If I saw this word, I would cover up everything but the i.  (Cover up the st and tch).  I know that i = /i/.  Now, let’s look at what comes before the vowel, st = /st/.  Let’s blend them together to get /st/ /i/.  Now look at the end of the word, tch = /ch/.  Let’s put it all together and we get /st/ /i/ /ch/.  Whenever you see a word you don’t know, try using the cover-up method to decode it.”
  3. Demonstrate the difference between reading with fluency and reading without fluency.  “I’m going to show you how to read with and without fluency.  Listen and see if you can tell a difference in the way I read.  I’m going to write a sentence on the board and then I’ll read it twice, once with fluency and once without.  (Write The boy jumps over the fat log.  Teacher reads sentence through once without fluency, sounding out each word.) “The b-oy j-u-m-p-s o-v-e-r the f-a-t l-o-g.  Notice how slowly I read the sentence.  It’s harder to  understand the sentence when I have to spend most of my effort sounding out he words.  Now listen as I read it again with fluency.  The boy jumps over the fat log.  What did you notice?  Very good! I read it faster because I didn’t spend as much time sounding out the words.  This is what we’ll practice today.  I want you to be able to read just like I did.
  4. Now let’s practice some sentences together.  Read this sentence.  (Hold up sentence strip that says I enjoy swimming in the pool.)  OK, now read it again.  One more time.  Which time was the smoothest?  Right! The last time.  You were becoming more fluent with reading the sentence.  Now let’s try the next one.” (Hold up second sentence strip and repeat steps for the first sentence).
  5. “Now you are going to read Lee and the Team.  Lee is a boy who plays baseball. He and his teammates are late for a game but nobody will listen to Lee when he says that they need to hurry up.  Will Lee’s team show up late to the game and have to forfeit or will they make it on time?  You’ll have to read the story to find out.  We are going to read this several times, so go ahead and read once to yourself.  When you finish, go ahead and start reading it again.  Remember to use cover-ups and crosschecking.”  After students finish reading the story, ask if there are any questions about the book.  Next, pair each student up with a reading partner.
  6. Introduce the fluency checklist to the students.  Explain how they fill out the cards.  “If your partner reads fast, check here; stops too many times, check here; did not stop at all, check here, etc.”  Have each child 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 other fills out a fluency checklist.  Then, have them switch roles.  Have students check under each heading that applies to their partner’s reading.
  7. For assessment, have each child come up to the teacher’s desk for a one-minute read.  The students will read the same book they just finished reading while the teacher assesses the reading fluency.  The teacher should have a stopwatch that beeps, instead of having to yell ‘stop’.  Teacher should also have a chart with a baseball player trying to hit a ball over the fence for a homerun.  This helps give the students a representation of their progress as they continue to practice their one-minute reads.




Margaret Beason. “Speedy Gonzalas on the Race Track”.  http://www.auburn.edu/rdggenie/guides/beasongf.html


Kristin Herren.  “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!!!”.



Lee and the Team.  Educational Insights.  Cushman, Sheila. 1990.

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