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​At the beginning of the school year, I always get a lot of questions about placement. A very common placement question is: Do I conduct placement on students who were working in Read Naturally Live or Read Naturally Encore last year?

Common Core State Standards tell us that students need to be given challenging text. I wasn't always sure this was the case for struggling readers; however, I have found it to be very true with my students. In fact, early in the year last year, one of our fourth grade students, Nick, finished all the stories in level 5.0. He wasn’t ready to exit the program since his fluency and comprehension scores were not where we needed them to be, but we were concerned that the stories in level 5.6 would be too challenging.

At this point in the school year, some of your students may be ready to exit their Read Naturally program. A student may be ready to exit Read Naturally if…

The student can read unpracticed, grade-level material accurately, expressively, and at a rate that is at least at the 50th percentile of national norms.

In order to know whether a student has made enough progress to exit a Read Naturally program, you need to assess the student with grade-level material. It is important to celebrate your student’s daily growth from cold to hot timings in a story, the student’s goal being increased and the student moving up a level. It is also exciting to see a student’s cold-timing scores increase from story to story. These are all indications that the student’s reading skills are improving and that he or she is making progress in the program. But it is essential to keep the long-term goal in mind.

Are you familiar with the Frank Sinatra song “My Way”? If you are anything like me (and Mr. Sinatra), you really like the idea of doing things your way! It may even be one of the reasons you decided to teach. We, as educators, like having our own rooms where we make all the decisions. Ok, I’ll admit it: I am a bit of a control freak! Although I am a big believer in personal choice for most things, when it comes to Read Naturally, using the program as it’s intended is imperative for success.

If Read Naturally is your chosen intervention then the first thing you will need to do is to place each of your students into the program. You cannot use assessment scores to place the students. Depending on the Read Naturally format you use, you may place students on the computer or on paper. Regardless, you need to use the Read Naturally placement procedure.

Run screaming from the building…just kidding…you should help them! If Read Naturally is your chosen intervention then the first thing you will need to do is to set-up your environment. I've seen Read Naturally used in resource rooms, classrooms, computer labs, rolling carts, before school, and after school. I’m happy to talk to you about specifics of your situation so feel free to call.

In the fall, there are so many things to think about and accomplish! From setting up your room to establishing classroom behavior (or at least identifying what isn't classroom behavior, which will undoubtedly be demonstrated for you in short order!), there seems to be no end to the to-do list! One of the most important items on the list for the beginning of a school year is assessment. We all do more assessing than we want to do, but it really is essential to high quality instruction. So, many people ask me, “how do I know which students need Read Naturally?” The answer, of course, is through assessment!

Make Your Student a STAR!

Read Naturally Star of the Month​Share your student’s success story—nominate him or her for our Star of the Month award. Win a Barnes & Noble gift card for the student and a Read Naturally gift certificate for your class!

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