The fact that so many students love working in Read Naturally programs brings us great joy. But we are most delighted when students no longer need our programs. The whole point of a Read Naturally intervention is to one day exit the program as a fluent and confident reader. The sooner this day comes for a student, the better! 

By this point in the school year, you may have students who are ready to move on from Read Naturally. A student may be preparing to exit the program 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.
  • The student’s Read Naturally level is above his/her grade level.
  • The student consistently scores well on comprehension questions.
  • The student’s cold timing scores are often near or above his/her goal.
  • The student seems bored by the read along step.

The long-term fluency benchmark goal is the most important piece to consider. Remember, this goal is for a student to read unpracticed, grade-level material at or above the 50th percentile as compared to national norms. To determine if the student has met the goal, you will look at the student’s most recent benchmark assessment score. If the student scored at or above the 50th percentile, he or she is likely ready to move toward exiting Read Naturally. (If the student just barely reached the 50th percentile, it might be better to continue the intervention for a bit longer to ensure success.) 

For students who are nearing the end of their Read Naturally intervention, you can make some adjustments to help them prepare to read without the support of the program. These adjustments include:

Reduce the number of read alongs
Gradually reduce the number of required read alongs from three down to two, one, or zero. The read along step is an important scaffold for a dysfluent reader and is crucial for teaching correct pronunciation, phrasing, expression, word recognition, and accuracy. However, students will not have audio support in regular reading material, so gradually reducing this scaffolding will help prepare them to read new material independently.

Reduce the number of practices required
After exiting Read Naturally, students will not always have the benefit of reading the same passage over and over again in order to build fluency. Reducing the number of required practices will help prepare students to fluently read unpracticed material in the future. 

Switch to whole-story timings
Students who exit Read Naturally should be able to read for sustained periods of time. Whole-story timings help prepare students for this. We recommend making the switch to whole-story timings for all students in levels 5.6 and above. Students working in the lower-level materials, which have shorter stories, may also benefit from whole-story timings.

Enhance the written steps
Reading and writing go hand in hand. A fluent reader will also need the ability to write about what he or she has read. As students prepare to exit Read Naturally, require them to use proper grammar and complete sentences in their predictions, retellings, and answers to open-ended comprehension questions. Challenge them to increase the length of their responses, and encourage them to do their best writing.

If you’re a Read Live user, check out last week’s blog post for more information about making adjustments to the program. The best kind of adjustments to make are those that prepare students to read fluently without intervention. Congratulations to your students who have reached this point. For those who have not, we will continue to support them until they, too, no longer need us.