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Read Naturally Strategy Programs

Passing Stories

  1. What are the requirements for passing a story in Read Naturally?
  2. What should I do if a student struggles to meet the requirements for passing a story?
  3. Can students become overly concerned with rate when doing one-minute timings?
  4. How long does it take for a student to pass a story in the Read Naturally program?
  5. I have a student that often passes his goal rate with just a couple of errors, but misses too many of the comprehension questions. What do you recommend?
  6. One of my third graders always reaches his goal rate even after I subtract the errors, but he makes so many errors—sometimes as many as ten in one story. Should I let him pass?
  7. Is reaching the goal rate the only criteria I should use when determining whether a student passes a story?

1. What are the requirements for passing a story in Read Naturally?

The student passes the story when he or she:

  • Meets or exceeds the student's individual reading rate goal.
  • Makes three or fewer errors during the pass timing.
  • Reads with an expression score of two or more.
  • Answers all the quiz questions for the story correctly.

In Read Naturally Live, the student also needs to meet the teacher’s expectation for retelling the story (Sequenced and Idioms series), or read the word list in the designated time, making three or fewer errors (Phonics series). 

2. What should I do if a student struggles to meet the requirements for passing a story?

Here are some suggestions for remedial actions for each requirement for passing a story:

Accuracy: In order to pass a story, a student must make three or fewer errors. If the student is reading too fast, remind the student of the value of accuracy. A student with more than three errors should: 

  • Go back to the Read Along step to learn the words missed in the pass timing. Remind the student to look at and say each word as the narrator reads the story.
  • Practice carefully. Remind the student to click on (or underline) difficult words while practicing.
  • Learn the meaning and pronunciation of the important words in the story. Require that the student:
    • In Read Naturally Live click on each blue vocabulary word to hear the pronunciation and definition before doing the Read Along step.
    • In Read Naturally Encore , look at the glossary page(s) for the story while listening to the the pronunciation and definition of each word on the CD.

If a student continues to have a high number of errors, you can reduce the reading rate goal and/or require that the student read the story accurately to you before attempting the final timing.

Rate: A student must reach his or her goal in order to pass a story.  If the student is doing the Read Along step correctly (looking at and saying each word as the narrator reads the story) and practicing carefully, a student in grades 1 – 4 will typically be able to improve from the cold timing by 30 words, an student in grades 5 and above should improve from the cold timing by 40 words. If a student does not meet the goal rate, he or she must go back to the Read Along and/or Practice step to improve until ready to try again to pass.

Expression: A student is required to read with good expression in order to pass a story. If a student doesn't pass because of poor expression, remind the student to read like he or she talks. Discuss what proper expression sounds like, remind the student to stop at periods and other punctuation, and demonstrate what reading with expression sounds like, or have the student read along with the narrator again and then practice. You can also direct the student to read the story without the timer, instructing him or her to focus on expression, not speed.

Comprehension: A student is required to answer all of the questions correctly to pass a story. If a student satisfies the other pass criteria for accuracy, rate, and expression but does not answer the questions correctly, the teacher should direct the student to reread the story without timing and find the answers in the story. If the student makes errors on the inferential questions, the student can list the words in the story that provide clues for the answer. The following components focus on comprehension: key words, prediction, vocabulary words, comprehension questions, and retelling.

If a student does not complete one or more of the criteria for passing in Read Naturally Live, you will use the Pass/Remedial Actions screen to decide the best course of action.

3. Can students become overly concerned with rate when doing one-minute timings?

Yes! Fluency is about accuracy, rate, and expression and is an indicator of comprehension. Read Naturally requires accuracy, rate, expression, and comprehension to be mastered in the Pass step, but you might find that some students focus mostly on rate.

A student who is overly focused on rate may read without expression, make many errors while reading orally, or read without attending to meaning. Read Naturally recommends one or more of the following actions.

If a student is making many errors in the interest of increasing rate, then...

  • Stop the student while he or she is reading and remind the student that accuracy is very important.
  • Require the student to read the story to you accurately before timing the student during the pass step.
  • Allow the student to time the story during the practice step only after the student has read the story for you accurately.

If the student reads without expression in the interest of increasing rate, then...

  • Remind the student that oral reading should sound like people speaking to one another, with correct pausing and expression.
  • Require the student to read the story to you with expression before timing the student during the pass step.
  • Model expressive reading of one paragraph for the student at the pass step. Then require the student to practice reading the story alone with expression but without timing the story. Return later to hear the student read the story with proper expression.

If the student reads without grasping the meaning of the text, and you think the lack of understanding is due to an overly high interest in rate, then...

  • Remind the student that we read to get information from the text.
  • Require the student to retell or summarize the story for you before timing the student during the pass step.

On rare occasions, you may need to lower a student’s goal to increase accuracy and expression. However, the high interest in rate can usually be tempered with the less drastic adaptations listed above.

4. How long does it take for a student to pass a story in the Read Naturally program?

If students are doing all the steps of the Read Naturally Strategy, they should be able to pass a story in 45 minutes. If the students drop the prediction and retell steps, they should be able to pass a story in 30 minutes.

It is okay if it takes a student a little more time to pass a story. In general, the more a student uses the strategy, the more efficient he or she becomes. If you begin to feel that the student is taking a long time to pass a story because the material or goal is too difficult for that student, you may want adjust the level or goal.

More about adjusting levels and goals

5. I have a student that often passes his goal rate with just a couple of errors, but misses too many of the comprehension questions. What do you recommend?

If the student reaches the goal rate, has three or less errors, and uses correct phrasing, but does not answer the questions correctly, the teacher should direct the student to reread the story without timing and list or underline the answers in the story. If the questions missed are inferential questions, he or she can underline the words in the story that provide clues for the answer.

6. One of my third graders always reaches his goal rate even after I subtract the errors, but he makes so many errors—sometimes as many as ten in one story. Should I let him pass?

No. Students really need to make three or fewer errors to pass. If students become very inaccurate, you can drop the reading rate goal and/or require that the student read the story accurately to you before attempting the final timing. Monitor the student as he or she does the Read Along and Practice steps. Remind the student to look at and say each word as the narrator reads the story and to click on difficult words while practicing to hear them pronounced correctly.

7. Is reaching the goal rate the only criteria I should use when determining whether a student passes a story?

No. Students should meet these criteria in order to pass a story:

  • Reach the goal rate (even after you have subtracted the errors).
  • Make three or fewer errors.
  • Use correct phrasing. (The student should not race through the story.)
  • Answer the questions correctly.

In Read Naturally Live, students must also meet the teacher's expectation for retelling the story (Sequenced series) or reading the word list in the designated time with three or fewer errors (Phonics series).

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