One Minute Reader Teacher Responsibilities


One Minute Reader: Placing students


This placement procedure will help you choose the right One Minute Reader level for your student. The ideal level is neither too easy nor too difficult. It should challenge the student without being frustrating. (Note that One Minute Reader Live includes a placement program that automates the placement process. See Placing Students in One Minute Reader Live.) 


Download and print out the following PDF file:
pointer One Minute Reader Placement Guide

The placement guide includes:

  • Printable instructions for the placement process.
  • Student passages that the student will read.
  • Placement worksheets for scoring the student.

You will also need:

  • A digital timer for timing the readings. Digital timers are more accurate than wind-up timers. 
  • A pencil for scoring the student.

Find a place that is quiet and free of distractions. If possible, use a desk or table where you and the student can sit across from each other.


The placement guide includes one story from each of the One Minute Reader levels—E, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. These levels are reading levels, not grade levels. Use your judgment as to which level might be a good fit for a student. For example, if a student is just starting second grade, you may want to start by testing the student with the level 1 story.


  1. Place the student passage in front of the student, but ask him or her not to begin reading yet.
  2. Place the corresponding assessment worksheet in front of you, and have a pencil ready.
  3. Set the timer for one minute.
  4. Tell the student to carefully read the passage aloud until you tell him or her to stop. 
  5. When the student starts to read, start the timer.
  6. Keep track of the student’s errors while you listen. Use the “Three S’s Rule”— count as errors any words a student Stops at, Stumbles over, or Skips.
  7. When the timer sounds, draw a line after the last word the student read.
  8. Count back the number of errors the student made, and mark the student’s net score (words correct per minute).
  9. If the net score is in the Target Zone, this is an appropriate level for the student. 
    If the net score is in or near the Too Difficult zone, test the student with a lower-level story.
    If the net score is in or near the Too Easy zone, test the the student with a higher-level story.
    ​If the student doesn’t fit any level or fits more than one level, then you can choose the level that you think will fit him or her best.
    • If the student is easily frustrated or lacks confidence, choose an easier level.
    • If the reader can handle more of a challenge, choose a harder level.

Please let us know what questions you have so we can assist. For Technical Support, please call us or submit a software support request.

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