After working with a boy named Mathias for a couple of weeks, Read Naturally founder Candyce Ihnot had a hunch that she had placed him in the wrong level. How could she be sure? And what could she do to correct her mistake? The answer was to check his initial placement. Then, after Candyce found the appropriate level and goal for Mathias, she came up with a creative solution to ensure his needs were being met. 

Candyce’s story highlights the way in which all Read Naturally educators must regularly monitor their students’ progress. As you know, 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. Sometimes, the level and goal the student was given at the start of the school year is the right fit; other times, like in the case of Mathias, adjustments must be made. To determine if levels and goals are correct, all Read Naturally teachers will need to check initial placement.

If a student has completed between three and six stories, now is the time to check initial placement. Please note that the student's data must accurately reflect performance, so check initial placement only if you or a staff member guided the student during cold timings. If the student did 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.

After checking initial placement and making the appropriate adjustments, you will continue to monitor your students’ progress to see if their levels and goals are working well for them. Proper placement is critical to success. When you've found the right fit, you’ll know—more importantly, so will your students!

  • 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.