To make a speed drill, I simply take a selection of words from a text and put them into a table. "But which words do you choose?" some teachers ask. My choices are partly intuitive, but I do use a rough formula:
- Words that need to be pronounced correctly
- Visually similar words
- Words with inflected endings
- Words which carry significant meaning in the text
- Words that are easy to say, but harder to define
The second speed drill, which I made for "Groundhog Day" by Lillian Moore, includes some words that are not in the original text. The group that I was working with was having trouble with visually similar words, and I wanted them to practice reading words with different endings.
Goldilocks ReadingJust reading the speed drill can be kind of monotonous. Luckily, my husband (who teaches third grade) taught me Goldilocks Readings.
First read: Too slow
Second read: Too fast
Third read: Just right
It is so much fun, and so helpful for intermediate readers. Of course, during our slow reading of the words, I exaggerate the syllabication and the emphasis. It only takes one read-through for kids to pick up on this process and they enjoy slowing down their reading as well.