1. How do I conduct a one-minute timing in Read Naturally Live?

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

  • Conduct a student's placement story timing.
  • 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.

By default, a teacher must be present for the Cold Timing step. The teacher is always present for the Hot Timing step. Detailed steps for conducting a one-minute timing in Read Naturally Live are provided in the How-to section of the knowledgebase (Read Naturally Live: Conducting a one-minute timing) and in the Read Live User Guide (Conducting a One-Minute Timing).

2. What is Wordtastic and how does it relate to cold and hot timings?

Wordtastic is a vocabulary game in Read Live designed to keep students engaged and learning while waiting for a teacher to conduct a timing.  

The student answers each Wordtastic question by clicking the button next to the best answer. The student can click individual words to hear them pronounced. The software reveals the correct answer, and then the student clicks Next to see the next question. The student accumulates points for each correct answer. The points accumulated are displayed to help keep the student motivated and are not reported on or saved in the software.

When you arrive to conduct the cold timing, click Conduct Cold Timing or, for the hot timing, click Conduct Pass Activities. In the window that opens, enter your user ID and password and click Log In to open the Cold Timing or Pass/Hot Timing page, respectively.

3. How do I conduct the cold and hot timing with a printed story and a timer?

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

  • Conduct a student's placement story timing.
  • 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.

Determining the number of words the student read in one minute:

  • Each numeral on the left side of the printed 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.

4. What guidelines should I follow for counting errors?

It is very important to consistently track the number of errors a student makes while reading. The following is an explanation of what commonly are and are not considered errors.


Description Example
Mispronunciations and dropped endings:
If a student mispronounces a word or does not pronounce an ending, count it as an error.
The sentence reads: John caught a bass.
The student reads: John caught a base.
Errors: 1
Transpositions (out of sequence):
If a student transposes two or more words, count each word read out of order as an error.
The sentence reads: Tim walked quietly away.
The student reads: Tim quietly walked away.
Errors: 2
Hesitations (words supplied by examiner):
If a student hesitates for three seconds, tell the word to the student and count the word as an error.
The sentence reads: Tom walked his dog.
The student reads: Tom...[3-second pause]
Examiner says: walked
Student reads: his dog
Errors: 1
If a student skips a word, several words, or an entire line, count each skipped word as an error.
The sentence reads: He is in the big chair.
The student reads: He is in the chair.
Errors: 1
If a student substitutes one word for another, even if the substitution is a synonym, count it as an error.
The sentence reads: I went to my house.
The student reads: I went to my home.
Errors: 1
Repeated errors:
If a student makes the same error more than once, count each instance as an error.
The passage reads: The cat likes milk. She drinks it every day. The cat likes me.
The student reads: The cat licks milk. She drinks it every day. The cat licks me.
Errors: 2

Not Errors

Description Example
Mispronunciations and dropped ending due to speech problems or dialect:
Mispronunciations due to speech problems or dialect are typically not counted as errors.
The sentence reads: Pam made it for him.
The student reads: Pam made it fo him.
Errors: 0
If a student self-corrects an error, count the word(s) as correct.
The sentence reads: I ran to the park.
The student reads: I ran to the pan...park.
Errors: 0
If a student repeats words or phrases while reading, the repetitions are not counted as errors.
The sentence reads: I am happy.
The student reads: I am... I am happy.
Errors: 0
If a student adds words, do not count the words as errors. Counting insertions as errors would result in subtracting them from the number of words read correctly, giving the student a lower number of wcpm than he or she actually read correctly.
The sentence reads: Sheila cried hard.
The student reads: Sheila cried very hard.
Errors: 0

5. What guidelines should I follow for rating expression?

The expression rating is a value from 1 to 4, where 1 is the lowest rating and 4 is the highest rating. Use the following guidelines to determine what expression rating to give a student. Students must receive an expression rating of 2 or higher in order to pass a story.

Rating Description
1 The student reads haltingly, seldom uses phrasing, and reads without expression.
2 The student reads phrases of three to four words (especially when reading words the student knows well), and usually pauses for end punctuation.
3 The student usually uses correct phrasing. Appropriate use of inflection and attention to punctuation occurs in some of the story.
4 The student reads conversationally, consistently using correct phrasing and inflection and attending to all punctuation.

6. Should students do the cold timing step independently, or should I do it with them? What if their cold timing scores seem too high or they don't always count their errors accurately?

The purpose of the cold timing step is for students to see how many words they can read correctly in a minute when reading a new (unpracticed) story aloud. This reading score is a baseline for monitoring progress. 

If student-to-teacher ratio is low enough for the teacher to be present, the cold timing provides an opportunity to coach the student to become a self-correcting reader. Here's a synopsis of how the cold-timing can be used to increase student achievement:

  • The teacher uses the cold-timing as instruction, not assessment, pointing out words the student missed but did not click on (or underline in the programs that use reproducible masters).
  • Being reminded to click on (or underline) errors raises the student's awareness. Being aware of difficult words as they are encountered is the first step in learning to self-correct.
  • When the teacher alerts the student to additional errors during the cold timing, the interruptions by the teacher may result in a lower cold-timing score. However, the student quickly realizes he/she can speed up the cold timing by clicking on (or underlining) unknown words before being told to do so by the teacher. Reliance on teacher judgment begins to diminish.
  • When the student clicks on (or underlines) a word, the software (or teacher) supplies not only the pronunciation, but immediate feedback through neurological impress – hearing the correct version of the word at the point of error.

When a student consistently clicks on (or underlines) difficult words without being told to, consider releasing that student to complete the cold timing independently. Be assured that the Read Along step supports student-independent cold timings by providing the opportunity for the student to learn words not recognized as errors during the cold timing. Student-independent cold timings are an effective way to make high student-to-teacher ratios more manageable.

The teacher should periodically conduct the cold timing to determine if the student's independently-done cold-timing scores are accurate enough for evaluating the need for adjustments to goals or levels. If a student inflates cold-timing scores, set a rule for the next few stories that the student must exceed the cold-timing score by 30 (in grades 4 and below) or 40 words (in grades 5 and above) to pass, regardless of the goal. Usually students will become more accurate on student-independent cold timings after completing several stories under that rule.

7. Having a student click on or underline errors during the cold timing slows the student down. What's the point of this?

Having a student click on (or underline in the programs that use reproducible masters) errors may lower the rate of the cold timing initially, but 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 click on (or underline) each word that is read incorrectly. At first, the teacher needs to tell the student which words to click on (or underline). As the student selects the difficult word, the correct pronunciation of the word is provided. Hearing the correct version of the word at the point of error (neurological impress) is a powerful step in learning the word in context. In Read Naturally Live, the computer program provides the correct pronunciation. While the student is underlining the word in Read Naturally Encore or ME, the teacher models the correct pronunciation. 

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 not have to read the word aloud and no longer slow the student down.

Transferring the responsibility from the teacher to the student for clicking on (or underlining) unknown or incorrectly read words has huge positive implications for accelerating student reading achievement. Making the student click on or underline a word read incorrectly does more than supply the pronunciation and add kinesthetic learning. It is a step in the process of transferring the responsibility for learning to the student. Having the student click on (or underline) an error trains the student to be aware of errors as the reading is taking place instead of reviewing errors reported by a teacher after the reading is finished. Self-correction is the skill of a good reader, and the first step in learning to self-correct is to be aware of errors as they are happening. 

8. Does the accuracy standard for passing a story change for students who do two-minute or whole-story timings?

No, students who do two-minute or whole-story timings still need to make three or fewer errors in order to pass a Read Naturally story. The two-minute and whole-story timings are used by students whose reading has shown improvement.  So the higher standard of only three errors on longer passages is reasonable and desirable.


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