“How do I know if my students need Read Naturally?” Many teachers ask us this question, and our answer is always the same: “Benchmark Assessment!” Teachers determine who needs a Read Naturally intervention by assessing all students on their reading aptitude using benchmark assessment. Early in the school year (aka, right now!) is the ideal time to do this. You’ll repeat the assessment in the winter and spring to measure progress.

Benchmark Assessor Live* is the tool we recommend for this process. This computer-based assessment includes three field-tested reading passages at each grade level one through eight. Students read each passage aloud for a teacher or aide, who clicks on errors and the last word read. The program calculates words-correct-per-minute (wcpm) data by subtracting errors from the number of words read in a minute. Wcpm data is compared to oral reading fluency norms to determine the percentile at which percentile the student reads. An individual report for each student provides the student's average words-correct-per-minute (wcpm) score and general recommendations based on the student’s results. As a rule, if the student reads 10 or more words below the 50th percentile, that student is a good candidate for an intervention like Read Naturally. Each student’s assessment only takes about five minutes, and the information you receive is well worth the time.

Benchmark Assessor Live* is the assessment tool you'll need first and foremost, as this will determine who needs intervention. But teachers will also use assessment tools throughout the school year to keep tabs on students’ progress. To learn about these assessment tools and when/with whom to use them, please refer to the table below:

  Benchmark Assessment Progress Monitoring Read Naturally Placement
Purpose Use to screen students to determine which students need further diagnosis and possibly extra instructional support in reading. Use to collect frequent data on a student’s reading progress. Use to place a student in the appropriate level of a Read Naturally strategy program with an appropriate goal.
Assessment Population Administer to all students. Administer to students who receive supplemental reading instruction or who require close monitoring. Administer to students who are going to begin using a Read Naturally strategy program.
Administration Schedule Administer three times per year: fall, winter, and spring. Administer on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis. Administer before a student begins working in a Read Naturally strategy program.
Level of Passages Use grade-level passages. Use instructional-level passages. Use the Read Naturally placement passage(s) that correspond to the student’s reading level.


Student reads three grade-level passages aloud for one minute each. You calculate and record the average words-correct-per-minute score. Student periodically reads an instructional-level passage aloud for one minute. You calculate and graph the average words-correct-per-minute score for the three most recent passages the student read. Student reads Read Naturally placement passages aloud for one minute each as you record words-correct-per-minute scores. You continue this process until you find the student’s correct level according to the placement table.
Use of Results Results, when compared to national norms, rank students so that you can determine which students might benefit most from a reading intervention. Results enable you to determine whether a student is making adequate progress or whether an intervention may need to be adapted to better meet the student’s needs. Results enable you to determine the appropriate Read Naturally level and goal for the student.
Read Naturally Resources Benchmark Assessor Live*

Reading Fluency Progress Monitor

Read Naturally placement packet
(Read Naturally Live Student Placement system is built into Read Live.)

As you assess your students this fall, let us know if we can support you in any way. And if assessment results determine that your students need an intervention, please get in touch. We'd love to help you get started.

*Service and support for Benchmark Assessor Live terminated June 30, 2019.