Read Naturally and Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)


1. Is Read Naturally evidence-based under the guidelines for ESSA?

Danielle Dupuis, Ph.D., Assistant Director for Research and Assessment at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement, found that two studies provide strong evidence for the effectiveness of the Read Naturally Strategy, four studies provide moderate evidence of Read Naturally's effectiveness, and three other studies provide promising evidence

Dr. Dupuis also found that multiple other studies show that the Read Naturally Strategy is an effective intervention, but those studies do not meet the definition of "evidence based" due to methodological flaws in the studies' designs, not because Read Naturally was ineffective for the students in the studies.

Follow this link for easy access to the studies that prove that Read Naturally is evidence-based (effective in increasing student achievement).

2. Do the Read Naturally Live and Read Naturally Encore stories align with the Common Core State Standards?

Yes, the stories in Read Naturally Live and Read Naturally Encore align well with the Common Core State Standards based on quantitative and qualitative measures and text/reader considerations. All Read Naturally Live and Read Naturally Encore passages correlate to Common Core State Standards guidelines according to the Lexile® text measures. In addition, Read Naturally stories are grouped by level, and the levels are sequenced so that the text complexity gradually increases as the student moves to higher levels. The stories in the lower levels are shorter and easier to understand, the ideas are explicitly stated, and the vocabulary is familiar. At each successive level, the stories become longer and more complex. The ideas require more inference, and the vocabulary is more sophisticated. Use the link below to see the tables of the gradually increasing difficulty of the Read Naturally levels, as shown by the number of words in each level and the Lexile® text measures.

For more specific alignment check out these webpages: Foundational Reading Skills and Reading Anchor Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) and specific Common Core Standards Read Naturally Strategy programs address.

See also: Charts of the Quantitative Measures of Text Difficulty of Read Naturally Live and Read Naturally Encore

3. I have been asked to align Read Naturally with state standards. Does data show a transfer of skills from reading fluency to the state test and to classroom performance?

Response by Kevin Feldman, Emeritus Director of Reading and Intervention with the Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE):

It sounds like your school may be confusing apples and oranges. Read Naturally is not designed to be aligned with state standards any more than any other targeted intervention program is aligned to standards. Intervention programs are designed to address assessed needs of students who are scoring below and far below basic on the state assessments.

Much research has documented the critical relationship between fluency and general reading proficiency, including comprehension. You as a teacher do not need to prove this, since it is already clearly documented in the research literature.

When you look at state assessment results and determine that some students are not meeting state standards, then you must follow up to determine why. Curriculum-based measurements can help you determine whether fluency is one of their issues by comparing their fluency scores to national norms.

If you determine that students have a fluency deficit (they are in the 25th percentile or lower for their grade), then you must provide research-based intervention to improve their fluency, and Read Naturally is one of the best programs to accomplish this. It is research-based and validated to work quite well for students with assessed fluency needs.

Your fluency assessment will document whether Read Naturally is working for them.

However, note that most students will have other needs besides fluency, such as comprehension strategies, vocabulary, decoding, and writing. No one program is all things to all students.


4. Does Read Naturally align to TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills)?

The short answer to your question is yes, Read Naturally aligns to TEKS because Read Naturally covers many of the reading standard in TEKS. Read Naturally develops fluency and increases comprehension and vocabulary.

The long answer is that aligning an intervention program to grade-level standards is not logical. Read Naturally is a reading intervention for students who are performing below grade level, and TEKS was developed to define what students should master AT each grade level. Reading interventions are designed to accelerate remediation so that a student is more likely to master the grade-level standards. Read Naturally covers the skills that are needed to achieve reading fluency and to increase comprehension and vocabulary. Aligning standards to an intervention is a slippery process: a standard might be addressed only if you are using the Read Naturally Phonics or Idioms series; or, if you are working in the Sequenced series, the standard might not be addressed in Level 5.0, but could be addressed in level 1.5. 

Texas requires alignment to TEKS, yet many Texas schools use Read Naturally programs. Somehow the alignment to TEKS has been accomplished well enough to convince the powers-that-be to allow Read Naturally programs to be purchased and used in Texas schools. Read Naturally has never done an official alignment because it is not possible to align an intervention that covers progress toward grade level to specific grade-level standards.

5. Is there a list of the academic vocabulary words that are defined for Read Naturally stories?

Read Naturally stories are full of academic vocabulary words. Since there is no standard list of academic vocabulary words, Read Naturally is unable to provide a list of the academic words we define. You will need to pick out and emphasize the words that your school has selected as important academic words. To help with this process, the Read Naturally Encore Glossaries are available online, and the same words are defined in Read Naturally Live. 


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