Are your Read Naturally students working in the correct level? And do they have an appropriate goal? Every year around this time, we like to remind teachers of the importance of checking their students’ initial Read Naturally placement. A Read Naturally student will make optimal progress in the program when he or she works in the appropriate level of reading material and has an appropriate words-correct-per-minute goal. Our detailed checking initial placement process will help you verify whether the level and goal you initially set for the student is the right fit or whether you need to make adjustments. 

It is time to check initial placement when a student has completed three to six stories. A student's data must accurately reflect performance, so check initial placement only if you or another trained adult guided the student during cold timings. If the student conducted his or her cold timings independently, guide the student during cold timings for the next three stories, and then check initial placement using the data for those three stories.

Please use these free, detailed guides to check initial placement:


Print out this guide and the Students-at-a-Glance report, and follow the instructions in the guide to interpret the data. 


Print out this guide, and use it in conjunction with your students’ progress graphs.

If you would like more specific guidance on checking your students’ placement, as well as tailored recommendations for individual students, Read Naturally offers a remote data-analysis service for educators of students working in Read Naturally Live. When you request Read Live Data Analysis Reports, a Read Naturally consultant will review your students’ data and create reports with specific recommendations for maximizing the effectiveness of the program for individual students. This service will identify which students are placed appropriately, which students need changes to levels/goals, how to make adjustments to accelerate progress, and more. Two evaluations of your student data are included. The first happens in the 3rd to 4th week of the program—i.e., during the time you’d be checking initial placement—and the second happens during the 12th to 16th week as a way to monitor performance. Click here to learn more about this offering.

Checking initial placement is required to ensure your students’ success in Read Naturally. If you have questions about this process or need help finding the right level or goal for a student, please get in touch. Our goal is for all Read Naturally students to be placed correctly so that they may become fluent readers as efficiently as possible. 

  • Click here to download the free Checking Initial Placement guide for Read Live.
  • Click here to download the free Checking Initial Placement guide for Encore.