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Determining who needs fluency instruction

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To determine if a student needs fluency training, compare his or her average words-correct-per-minute (wcpm) score from two or three unpracticed readings of grade-level assessment passages to oral reading fluency norms, such as the Hasbrouck-Tindal Oral Reading Fluency Norms table. If this score places the student ten or more words below the 50th percentile, you should consider adding a fluency program to his or her core instructional program and diagnose the student to see if he or she needs additional support.

Assessing Fluency

Read Naturally's Benchmark Assessor Live is a useful, easy-to-use screening tool that helps teachers quickly find out which students fall below expectations in reading. Using Benchmark Assessor Live, the teacher listens to each student read grade-level passages and calculates the number of words and average words per minute the student has read correctly. A low fluency score indicates the student needs fluency training and further assessment to determine any other training needs.

Fluency Needs vs. Comprehension Needs

Using the table below, teachers can decide what further assessment and explicit reading instruction each student needs, based on the student’s fluency score and most recent standardized reading comprehension score.

  For students with low comprehension... For students with high comprehension...
For students with low fluency...
  • Assess phonemic awareness and teach if necessary.
  • Assess decoding and teach if necessary.
  • Teach fluency explicitly.
  • Teach comprehension.
  • Work on vocabulary.
  • Assess decoding and teach if necessary.
  • Teach fluency explicitly.
  • Challenge with high-level comprehension and vocabulary.
  • For students with high fluency...
    • Teach comprehension.
    • Work on vocabulary.
    • Challenge with high-level comprehension and vocabulary.
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