About eight years ago, our standards for reading fluency increased. I was teaching second grade at the time. By the end of second grade, students were expected to read 50 words correct per minute. That changed when the state of Washington decided to raise the standard to 100 words correct per minute. Wow! That’s a huge jump in speed!
My son’s biggest struggle in school is fluency in reading. He is an accurate reader. He has excellent comprehension and he’s a good student. Speed is his problem. The standards aren’t going to change, which means he needs to become a more fluent reader. I have several tricks up my sleeve for helping students increase their rate of reading. None of them seemed to work for my son. On top of that, he doesn’t exactly like his mom to “play teacher” with him.
This year I have purchased a set of materials from Read Naturally. It’s a program I used as a second grade teacher. Many of the intermediate teachers, at my former school, used the program as well. We had quite a bit of success.
I really like the program. I find the Read Naturally website to be difficult to navigate, but if you know what you want it’s ok. I purchased the One Minute Reader set, Level 4, for my son.
Here’s how it works:
Each book has several stories in it. My son chooses his book and turns to the first story. He sets the timer and starts reading. The timer goes off when one minute is up. He charts the number of words he read in one minute. This is called the Cold Read and he graphs his words per minute. Next, he listens to the same story on a cd. He reads along in his head. Then, he reads along WITH the cd. Having kids read along with a proficient reader helps build fluency and expression. After a little practice, reading along with the cd, he times himself reading the same passage three more times. Each time he reads, his rate increases a little bit. He tracks his words per minute with each reading. Finally, he does one last reading. This is called the Hot Read and he graphs his words per minute on this as well. It’s great because he can visually see his progress and he takes ownership in the process. It sounds like a lot of reading, but you have to remember that each time your child reads a passage, it is only 1 minute. Quick, easy, and effective… I like that!