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If you've ever completed the Read Along step of the Read Naturally strategy with a student, you've probably noticed that the narrator reads the stories slowly. Some teachers have wondered if this rate is too slow. After all, our goal is fluency. Shouldn't the stories be modeled at a rate that matches the speed of normal conversation?

Not exactly. When designing the Read Naturally program, Candyce Ihnot did extensive research into modeled reading rates for developing readers. She discovered from published studies, as well as her own experience, that slower rates resulted in improved accuracy for students.

Do you ever feel like you’re assessing all the time? You’re assessing the weather and the traffic. You’re assessing what to say and how to teach. You’re assessing all the information that comes across your desk and computer screen. You’re even assessing whether or not to continue reading this post, aren’t you?

Oh yeah, and you’re assessing your students. There are benchmark assessments, progress monitoring assessments, and Read Naturally-specific placement assessments. What’s the difference? Is anyone confused?

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.

Imagine purchasing a fancy new camera. Its state-of-the art features promise to deliver remarkable results. So you bring the camera home, skim through the manual, and start snapping photos. The photos are great—but you know they could be better. Wouldn't it be great if a professional photographer could give you personalized instruction on all of the camera’s features? Instruction that would specifically address your questions, needs, and goals?

Congratulations to Star Student John F. from Encinitas, CA! John is a third-grade student at Paul Ecke Central Elementary School. John’s teacher, Danielle Austin, had this to say about him:

Not long ago, Read Naturally writers could be found crafting new stories about everything from the first cellphone to a harrowing shipwreck survival. Meanwhile, they were updating previously published Read Naturally stories to reflect the most current research. But why stop there?

A cascade of content enhancements followed. Hundreds of new vocabulary terms were defined, and comprehension questions were added to be more consistent with standardized tests. New illustrations, improved audio, Spanish translations, updated manuals, and a fresh design made the content come to life. Teachers were deeply involved every step of the way, ensuring that all content was appropriate for struggling readers and compliant with Common Core State Standards. Finally, in early 2012, Read Naturally released the best version of its flagship product to date—Read Naturally Encore.

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!

pointer Submit a Star-of-the-Month entry

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