At this point in the school year, most of your Read Naturally students are comfortable with the Read Naturally Strategy and able to work mostly independently. You worked hard to properly train them and to place them in the program, and your hard work is paying off as they’re becoming better readers. However, your involvement at this stage in the process is just as important as it was in the beginning. Now, you must turn your attention to keeping your students challenged.

To keep your students challenged, regularly monitor their performance to determine whether they need an increase in level or goal. Typically, you should carefully review performance and consider these changes after a student has completed 12 stories of his/her current level.

It may be time to provide a student with a greater challenge if you analyze the student’s data and notice one or more of the following trends:

  • The student's cold- and hot-timing scores have improved significantly.
  • The number of practices it takes for the student to reach his/her goal has decreased significantly. If a student typically reaches the goal in fewer than three practices, this is a strong indication that it is time for a change.
  • The student consistently exceeds his/her goal on the hot timing.
  • The student's behavior indicates the student is no longer challenged. For example, the student may appear bored.

To provide the student with a greater challenge, raise the level or goal. Determine which element to raise by considering the gains the student needs to make in order to achieve his/her long-term fluency goal. The student's long-term fluency goal is to read unpracticed, grade-level material at a rate that is at least at the 50th percentile of national norms.

Here is what we suggest:

  • If the student's Read Naturally level is several years below grade level and the student has completed at least 12 stories in his/her current level, raise the level.
  • If the student's Read Naturally level is close to grade level and the average cold-timing score is close to or exceeds the goal, raise the goal.
  • If the student's Read Naturally level is close to grade level and the average hot-timing score exceeds the goal by more than ten, raise the goal.

Once you've decided which element to raise—level or goal—follow these guidelines to help ensure the student's continued success:

  • Raise only one element at a time: either the level or the goal.
  • Raise levels by half a year if materials are available (upper levels do not have half-year increments).
  • Raise goals by 10 words at a time.
  • Discuss the change with the student, asking for his/her input.

Raising the level or the goal increases the challenge for the student. If the student adapts well to the increased challenge and demonstrates that he/she needs to be challenged even more, you can adjust the other element after a few more stories.

Our website contains additional information on monitoring student performance in Read Live and monitoring student performance in Encore. If you have further questions about how to optimize your students’ progress by keeping them challenged, please contact us. We’d love to help your students reach their long-term goals as efficiently as possible.