One of the greatest strengths of the Read Naturally strategy is that it is an individualized program. Each student begins at an appropriate reading level and progresses at his or her own rate. This powerful benefit of working individually is exemplified as each student:
Due to the research Candyce Ihnot studied while developing the Read Naturally program, the Read Naturally stories are read slowly to provide students the opportunity to learn to read the words accurately and ultimately more fluently.
It is during the modeling step that the students make sound-symbol connections and actually learn the words in the story. If the stories were read at a normal speaking rate, students would not be able to read along with the recording and thus would not build word recognition and accuracy.
Once the students have learned to accurately read the words during the read along step, they build fluency by reading the passage many times during the practice step.
Read Naturally passages were rerecorded in 2011, and the third reading was done at an expressive rate. The passages were read at the following rates:
|6.0, 7.0, 8.0||105-115|
The passages are recorded at a pace at which developing readers are able to actually read along during the teacher modeling step. Christopher Skinner, a reading development researcher, has done two studies confirming the value of the slower modeling found in the Read Naturally recordings.
In 1993, Skinner, Adamson, et al. found that slower rates of modeled reading resulted in lower error rates when compared to baseline data (study published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities in 1993).
In a study published in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis in 1997, Skinner, Cooper, and Cole found that the accuracy of students’ reading was better after slower modeled reading than after faster modeled reading. The slower rates of modeled reading in the study were between 44 and 66 words per minute. These reading rates are actually slower than the rates used on the Read Naturally recordings.
Many teachers are familiar with Fry's list of the 1000 most frequently used words in the English language. Read Naturally passages are made up of a high percentage of these words. For example, 96 percent of the words that make up the stories in level 1.0 are on the 1000 most frequent words list.
At the same time, Read Naturally believes that it is important to continually challenge students. Therefore, as the Read Naturally levels get higher, so do the number of words that do not appear on the most frequent words list. The highest Read Naturally levels are made up of around 87 to 89 percent of the words on the most frequent words list.
These numbers dip from the 96 percent correlation of the lower levels, but appropriately so-as students are able to read in the higher levels, they are generally more knowledgeable with most of the 1000 frequent words and need to learn language that is much richer and more powerful. We want to continue to increasingly challenge students to grow and to expand their vocabulary in these higher levels. Therefore, Read Naturally passages provide a good balance of the most frequent words and less frequent words for students to practice.
Also keep in mind that because the Read Naturally stories are nonfiction, a number of the words that do not appear on Fry's list of 1000 most frequently used words list are the proper names of famous people and places.
Yes, the stories in Read Live and Read Naturally Encore align well to the Common Core State Standards based on quantitative and qualitative measures and text/reader considerations. All Read Naturally Live and Read Naturally Encore passages correlate to the 2012 Common Core State Standards guidelines according to the Lexile® text measures. In addition, Read Naturally stories are grouped by level and the levels are sequenced so that the text complexity gradually increases as the student moves to higher levels. The stories in the lower levels are shorter and easier to understand, the ideas are explicitly stated, and the vocabulary is familiar. At each successive level, the stories become longer and more complex. The ideas require more inference, and the vocabulary is more sophisticated.
In addition to benchmark rate goals (wcpm) for ORF, DIBELS Next specifies accuracy expectations for different grade levels at different times of the year in their technical report. Because Read Naturally interventions require a high standard of accuracy (no more than three errors at the pass step), students’ awareness of the importance of accuracy is raised. Read Naturally’s attention to accuracy prepares students to be mindful of accuracy on their oral reading fluency assessments as well. This standard of accuracy actually surpasses the DIBELS Next expectation for accuracy on oral reading fluency assessments.
It sounds like your school may be confusing apples and oranges. Read Naturally is not designed to be aligned with state standards any more than any other targeted intervention program is aligned to standards. Intervention programs are designed to address assessed needs of students who are scoring below and far below basic on the state assessments.
Much research has documented the critical relationship between fluency and general reading proficiency, including comprehension. You as a teacher do not need to prove this, since it is already clearly documented in the research literature.
When you look at STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) results and determine that some students are not meeting state standards, then you must follow up to determinewhy. Curriculum-based measurements can help you determine whether fluency is one of their issues by comparing their fluency scores to national norms.
If you determine that students have a fluency deficit (they are in the 25th percentile or lower for their grade), then you must provide research-based intervention to improve their fluency, and Read Naturally is one of the best programs to accomplish this. It is research-based and validated to work quite well for students with assessed fluency needs.
Your fluency assessment will document whether Read Naturally is working for them.
However, note that most students will have other needs besides fluency, such as comprehension strategies, vocabulary, decoding, and writing. No one program is all things to all students.
— Kevin Feldman, Sonoma County Reading Director
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