In the fall, there are so many things to think about and accomplish! From setting up your room to establishing classroom behavior (or at least identifying what isn’t classroom behavior, which will undoubtedly be demonstrated for you in short order!), there seems to be no end to the to-do list! One of the most important items on the list for the beginning of a school year is assessment. We all do more assessing than we want to do, but it really is essential to high quality instruction. So, many people ask me, “how do I know which students need Read Naturally?” The answer, of course, is through assessment!
Each student should be given a fluency benchmark assessment in the fall, winter, and spring. Although this isn’t the only assessment that can or should be done, it is a quick and easy assessment that can help you to identify which students need additional help with reading. It will also help you determine both the success rate of an intervention and student progress throughout the year. Read Naturally offers the Reading Fluency Benchmark Assessor. DIBELS and others offer a good alternative. Read Live has Benchmark Assessor Live built into the program (each seat you purchase in Read Live provides you with 30 Benchmark Assessor Live seats). If you do not have a formal assessment at your school, you can use three grade level passages for each grade, a pencil, paper, a timer, an oral reading fluency norms table (PDF), and about five minutes per student. Have each student read all three passages, each for one minute. Tally the student’s errors and subtract that number from the number of words attempted. This will give you a words correct per minute (wcpm) score on that passage. Do the same for the other two passages and take the median number, or the number in the middle. Then, take that number and plug it into the oral reading fluency norms table. If the student reads 10 or more words below the 50th percentile, that student may need an intervention like Read Naturally.