StudentWhen you make a small mistake, do you point it out? Or do you move on and pretend it never happened? Often, we have a tendency to do the latter. So it’s not surprising that your students may be hesitant to call attention to their own errors while reading. In Read Naturally Strategy programs, however, we ask them to do just that. Here’s why:

To become fluent readers, students need to evaluate their reading. All readers make errors, but fluent readers are aware of these errors and can self-correct. If students do not pay attention to their errors, they will not learn to self-correct or eliminate these errors, and their fluency will suffer.

But it’s hard to call attention to our mistakes! To develop this ability, your students need your support. Assist them with their cold timings until they demonstrate that they can recognize and record their errors independently.

Point out the errors your students make during the cold timing step. An error is one of the “three s’s”: words they stop at (for three seconds or more), skip, or stumble on. Note that self-corrections are not considered errors. As you point out these errors, students should be in charge of clicking on or underlining them.

Errors will lower the cold timing score, but you can help your students to not feel discouraged by this. Remind them that this is not a test, and these mistakes are important. By paying extra attention to these errors as they practice reading the story, students will learn to say the words correctly. Then, during the hot timing step, they can show you how well they learned. In this way, they’re building accuracy—one of the main components of becoming a fluent reader.

As students become more aware of their errors, they strive to change their habits. They like to see their scores improve and are motivated to become more accurate. Over time, they will click on or underline errors without being told to do it. At that point, they have earned the right to conduct their cold timings independently. Remind them to be truthful so that they may continue to do this step without your help.

Learning to notice and correct mistakes is a crucial part of becoming a fluent reader. And isn't the ability to learn from our mistakes one of life’s most important lessons?

If you have questions, concerns, or topics you’d like us to address on this blog, please get in touch! Leave a comment below, email, or call 800.788.4085.