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Read Naturally Strategy Programs

Passing Stories

  1. What guidelines should I follow for counting errors?
  2. What should I do if a student is overly concerned with rate when doing one-minute timings?
  3. How long does it take for a student to pass a story in the Read Naturally program?
  4. What guidelines should I follow for rating expression?
  5. Does the accuracy standard for passing a story change for students who do two-minute or whole-story timings?
  6. 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?
  7. 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?
  8. Is reaching the goal rate the only criteria I should use when determining whether a student passes a story?

1. What guidelines should I follow for counting errors?

It is very important to consistently track the number of errors a student makes while reading. The following is an explanation of what commonly are and are not considered errors.

Errors

Description Example
Mispronunciations and dropped endings:
If a student mispronounces a word or does not pronounce an ending, count it as an error.
The sentence reads: John caught a bass.
The student reads: John caught a base.
Errors: 1
Transpositions (out of sequence):
If a student transposes two or more words, count each word read out of order as an error.
The sentence reads: Tim walked quietly away.
The student reads: Tim quietly walked away.
Errors: 2
Hesitations (words supplied by examiner):
If a student hesitates for three seconds, tell the word to the student and count the word as an error.
The sentence reads: Tom walked his dog.
The student reads: Tom...[3-second pause]
Examiner says: walked
Student reads: his dog
Errors: 1
Omissions:
If a student skips a word, several words, or an entire line, count each skipped word as an error.
The sentence reads: He is in the big chair.
The student reads: He is in the chair.
Errors: 1
Substitutions:
If a student substitutes one word for another, even if the substitution is a synonym, count it as an error.
The sentence reads: I went to my house.
The student reads: I went to my home.
Errors: 1
Repeated errors:
If a student makes the same error more than once, count each instance as an error.
The passage reads: The cat likes milk. She drinks it every day. The cat likes me.
The student reads: The cat licks milk. She drinks it every day. The cat licks me.
Errors: 2

Not Errors

Description Example
Mispronunciations and dropped ending due to speech problems or dialect:
Mispronunciations due to speech problems or dialect are typically not counted as errors.
The sentence reads: Pam made it for him.
The student reads: Pam made it fo him.
Errors: 0
Self-corrections:
If a student self-corrects an error, count the word(s) as correct.
The sentence reads: I ran to the park.
The student reads: I ran to the pan...park.
Errors: 0
Repetitions:
If a student repeats words or phrases while reading, the repetitions are not counted as errors.
The sentence reads: I am happy.
The student reads: I am... I am happy.
Errors: 0
Insertions:
If a student adds words, do not count the words as errors. Counting insertions as errors would result in subtracting them from the number of words read correctly, giving the student a lower number of wcpm than he or she actually read correctly.
The sentence reads: Sheila cried hard.
The student reads: Sheila cried very hard.
Errors: 0

 

2. What should I do if a student is overly concerned with rate when doing one-minute timings?

Fluency is rateaccuracy, and expression leading to comprehension. Read Naturally requires all four of these criteria 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.
  • Provide the timer for the student 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 the timer. 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.

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

If students are doing all ten 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

4. What guidelines should I follow for rating expression?

The expression rating is a value from 1 to 4, where 1 is the lowest rating and 4 is the highest rating. Use the following guidelines to determine what expression rating to give a student. Students must receive an expression rating of 2 or higher in order to pass a story.

Rating Description
1 The student reads haltingly, seldom uses phrasing, and reads without expression.
2 The student reads phrases of three to four words (especially when reading words the student knows well), and usually pauses for end punctuation.
3 The student usually uses correct phrasing. Appropriate use of inflection and attention to punctuation occurs in some of the story.
4 The student reads conversationally, consistently using correct phrasing and inflection and attending to all punctuation.

5. Does the accuracy standard for passing a story change for students who do two-minute or whole-story timings?

No, students who do two-minute or whole-story timings still need to make three or fewer errors in order to pass a Read Naturally story. The two-minute and whole-story timings are used by students whose reading has shown improvement.  So the higher standard of only three errors on longer passages is reasonable and desirable.

6. 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 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.

7. 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.

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

No. Students should meet four 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.
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