The start of the school year is all about getting to know your new students—their personalities, their interests, and their individual needs. Determining which students need extra support in reading, and what that support should look like, are some of the most important decisions you’ll make this year. Thankfully, we’re here to help. Educators can choose from a number of reputable assessments to screen for reading concerns. From there, Read Naturally can help you interpret the data and choose the appropriate intervention.

Research confirms that Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) assessments are good indicators of overall reading proficiency, so many educators use this method of assessment. ORF assessments are typically administered in the fall, winter, and spring. Educators determine who needs an intervention based on how students perform on these assessments, as well as through monitoring. 

We recommend ORF assessments as a reliable way to procure data on a student’s ability to read fluently at grade level—and we recommend administering them as soon as you can this fall. ORF assessments such as those offered by DIBELS® Next, DIBELS® 8th Edition, aimsweb® Plus, easyCBM®, and FastBridge (FAST™) are widely available and easy to administer. Most of these assessments require each student to read one to three unpracticed, grade-level passages aloud for one minute. The student’s average words-correct-per-minute (WCPM) score is then calculated.

After calculating students’ average WCPM scores, you will compare them to national norms. If the assessment you use does not include national norms, you can use the table below. This table displays the WCPM score at the 50th percentile for first- through sixth-grade students in the fall, winter, and spring.

50th Percentile ORF Norms
2017 Hasbrouck & Tindal 
Grade Fall WCPM Winter WCPM Spring WCPM
1 29 60
2 50 84 100
3 83 97 112
4 94 120 133
5 121 133 146
6 132 145 146

*Previous research indicates that WCPM at the 50th percentile in sixth grade and above remain about the same, so you can compare sixth-grade norms for an older student as well. 

You will make your determination about who needs a reading fluency intervention based on how a student’s ORF assessment score compares to these norms. If the student’s score is at or below the WCPM score at the 50th percentile, Read Naturally recommends the following: 

If the student’s score is…

  • More than 10 words below the WCPM score at the 50th percentile—assign a reading fluency intervention such as Read Naturally Live or Encore II
  • At the WCPM 50th percentile score or up to 10 words below it—consider a reading fluency intervention such as Read Naturally Live or Encore II
    - Use additional assessments, observations, and/or teacher judgement to decide if the student needs an intervention. 
    - Continue to monitor reading performance.

More information about determining who needs a reading fluency intervention is available here. Additionally, refer to this table to learn more about Read Naturally Strategy programs and to determine which program might be the best fit for your student. Finally, never hesitate to get in touch to discuss your specific concerns. We have been working in this area for over 30 years and have helped educators make instructional decisions about countless students. We are always happy to lend our expertise to support you and your students in any way we can.