Other Programs FAQs


1. What is the research basis for the strategies used in Read Naturally GATE?

GATE uses the Read Naturally Strategy that combines three powerful methods—teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring. Research indicates these are effective ways to develop reading fluency. To learn more about the research basis for the strategies used in Read Naturally GATE—to teach phonemic awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, and fluency—see this topic:
pointer Research Basis for the Read Naturally Strategy

2. Do I need to purchase GATE story booklets each year for my groups?

No. The reproducible masters book that comes with each Read Naturally GATE level (copyright © 2013) includes masters for each of the 24 stories in the level, student record sheets, a high-frequency word assessment, crossword puzzle booklets, parent letters, etc. Teachers have permission to reproduce these for their own classrooms. 

Note: The older edition of Gate for Phonics (copyright © 2002) had consumable story booklets that had to be purchased each year.

3. How many students can work in Read Naturally GATE at a time?

Ideally, you will teach the lessons to small groups of six or fewer students with similar reading skills and needs. Teachers, tutors, or teacher-trained educational assistants can also teach these lessons to individual students.

4. How long does each Read Naturally GATE lesson take?

One full lesson generally takes four 30-minute reading periods or five 20-minute reading periods. (The first few lessons may take longer because the students will need time to learn the behaviors required in the lessons.) The lessons are set up so you and the students can complete as many parts of the lesson during a reading period as possible and continue the lesson during subsequent reading periods until the lesson is complete. You may begin a new lesson immediately upon finishing a lesson if time remains in your reading period.

5. It looks like the stories in Read Naturally GATE are the same as the Phonics series. What are the differences between GATE and the Phonics series in Read Naturally Encore or Read Naturally Live?

Yes, the stories in Read Naturally GATE are the stories from the Phonics series 0.8, 1.3, and 1.8. 

GATE extends the Read Naturally strategy to improve word recognition as well as fluency in small group or tutoring situations. The teacher provides explicit instruction as the students move through each story. It is an interactive approach to teaching phonemic awareness, phonics, high-frequency words, and fluency. The students view the demonstration page on one side of a flip chart as the teacher presents the lesson by referring to the directions page with scripted instructions on the opposite side. Students who are not yet ready to work independently in the Phonics series may be successful working in GATE as they respond and interact with scripted lessons presented by the teacher.

6. How do I decide whether to place a student in Read Naturally GATE or in the Phonics series?

When you are placing students in Read Naturally, some students may fall below the placement table range on the lowest placement level, 1.0, but they will still be able to work successfully in Read Naturally if they know beginning sounds and can recognize about 50 written words

If a student is not yet ready to work independently and only knows 15 to 20 words, that student may start in Read Naturally GATE, Reading Intervention for Small Groups, level 0.8 (short vowels). 

GATE 1.3 (long vowels) or 1.8 (blends/digraphs) may be an appropriate option for a student who is not yet ready to work independently and who falls within the range for level 1.5 or 2.0. If a student places at level 1.5 and needs to work on long vowels, Gate 1.3 may be appropriate. If a student places at level 2.0 and needs to work on blends and digraphs, GATE 1.8 may be appropriate.

7. Why are some of the words on the student pages of the flip chart displayed in red font?

The words displayed in red font are high-frequency words—some with regular spelling patterns (sound-out words) and some with irregular spelling patterns (spell-out words). The red font reminds the teacher and the students that it is important to learn to read these words accurately and with automaticity, because these words appear so frequently in text.

A Read Naturally Bookmark blog post, "The Best Way to Teach Sight Words," describes how to teach spell-out words.

8. How do I conduct the cold and hot timing with a printed story and a timer in Read Naturally GATE?

In Read Naturally GATE, you use a one-minute timing to:

  • Conduct a student's cold timing as he or she begins each story.
  • Conduct a student's hot timing when he or she completes work on each story.

Detailed steps for conducting a one-minute timing in Read Naturally Encore, Read Naturally GATE, and Read Naturally ME are listed in Read Naturally Encore: Conducting a one-minute timing.

Follow these guidelines when counting errors:

  • The words in the title do not count as words in the story. If the student reads the title, do not start the timer until the student reads the first word of the story.
  • Each word in the story counts as one word.
  • A number written as a numeral counts as one word.
  • Each word in a number written in words counts as one word.
  • An abbreviation counts as one word.
  • Each initial counts as one word when it appears within a person's name.
  • If two full words are connected by a hyphen, each word counts as one word.

Count the number of words the student read in one minute.

  • Each numeral on the left side of the story indicates the total number of words through the end of the previous line of text.
  • Start counting with the numeral to the left of the row with the last word the student read.
  • Beginning with the numeral, count the words across the row, stopping at the last word read.

9. In Read Naturally GATE, having a student underline errors during the cold timing slows the student down. What's the point of this?

Even though having a student underline errors may lower the cold-timing score initially, using the cold timing as an instructional tool (not an assessment), has great impact on improving student accuracy. As a student makes fewer errors, the interruptions by the teacher decline and the cold-timing scores increase.

Often a struggling reader is not aware of reading mistakes, even though teachers/parents may have been pointing out errors for years. A student becomes much more alert to reading errors when the student takes control and has to underline each word that is read incorrectly. At first, the teacher needs to tell the student which words to underline. As the student underlines the word, the teacher models the correct pronunciation. Hearing the correct pronunciation of the word at the point of error (neurological impress) is a powerful step in learning the word in context.

This process also makes the student realize that:

  1. These errors are slowing the student down.
  2. The student can become proactive about underlining unknown words, so the teacher will read the word aloud and no longer slow the student down.

10. What do students need to know before they are ready to work in the first GATE for Phonics level?

Beginning readers who know the letters of the alphabet, have some knowledge of the letter sounds, and can recognize as few as 15 to 20 words can begin a Read Naturally program that uses Read Naturally GATE  level 0.8 materials (early first grade). That’s because GATE programs are designed for direct instruction of fluency and phonics in teacher-led small groups.

Students do not need to know the behaviors required for each activity before beginning the first lesson. The students will learn the process by participating in each lesson. However, the first few lessons may take longer than later lessons because the students will be learning behaviors required for Read Naturally GATE during the early lessons.

Which words should beginning readers be able to read? The actual words a student knows do not have to be specific to a list, but you can refer to one of several lists of the most frequently used words for beginning readers, such as the preprimer Dolch word list.

11. What can I do with a student who always passes first?

a student who passes quickly can answer questions or work on the crossword puzzles while waiting for the rest of the group to pass. You can also have a packet of previously passed stories ready for a student who passes quickly to reread while waiting. If a student regularly passes enough before the rest of the group so that these activities do not provide sufficient challenge, the student may belong in a higher group or may be ready to work independently in Read Naturally Live or Read Naturally Encore.

12. What can I do with a student who always passes last?

A student who takes several timings to pass can skip the questions and the sentence about the story until his/her fluency improves. You may also want to send the other students back to their seats and work a few extra minutes with this struggling reader. Or consider sending the story home for the student to read to an adult multiple times. If the student is holding the rest of the group back, he or she may belong in a lower group.


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