Adjusting Reading Rate
- Identify a set of short texts that represent a variety of topics (some familiar, some unfamiliar), writing styles, and levels of complexity. Or, select a single longer text that includes diverse sections representing distinct levels of difficulty.
- Gather red, green, and yellow highlighters, markers, pens, or sticky tabs.
Teacher introduces the idea of adjusting reading rate, and discusses how students can adjust it to promote comprehension of texts of various levels of difficulty.
Teacher distributes green, yellow, and red highlighters and models how to read and mark text with green to indicate a fast rate, yellow to indicate an intermediate rate, and red to indicate a slow rate.
Teacher distributes the text(s). Alone or in pairs, students read the text(s), and mark each line or section with the appropriate color highlighter to indicate the level of difficulty, and the correspondingly appropriate reading speed.
As students are working you can circulate among them and ask them about how they are choosing to mark the text, and how they are making their choices. Ask them to justify their decisions by referring to some of the factors that affect text difficulty.
In pairs, students take turns reading text aloud, adjusting reading rate according to their markings (fast for green, medium for yellow, slow or even stopping and repeating for red).
Encourage students to discuss their choices of reading rate with their partner, and to revise their rate as appropriate.
Students reread texts silently, adjusting reading rate as they read in their heads.
Explain to students that eventually the process of adjusting rate of reading to difficulty level should become automatic, and should be applied when students are reading silently and aloud.