Oral reading fluency is the ability for students to read text accurately, at an appropriate rate, and with expression. The What Is Oral Reading Fluency? article outlines a framework for oral reading fluency, describes the characteristics of fluent and non-fluent readers, and provides evidence-based best practices for fluency instruction. But how does one know that fluency instruction is, in fact, helping students become better readers, and how do you use fluency measures to provide targeted instruction?
Administering Oral Reading Fluency Assessments
Assessing fluency should be embedded strategically and frequently to ensure students are receiving the instruction and practice they need. Educators can assess students’ fluency by using grade-level passages that have been controlled for level of difficulty and having students read aloud a new passage for one minute.
- Accuracy: Notate which words students misread, skipped, or substituted with another word. Errors do not include self-corrected words, additional words that do not appear in the passage, or mispronunciation based on regional dialects or speech impairments.
- Rate: Subtract the number of words students read incorrectly from the total words they read in one minute. This yields the total words correct per minute (WCPM) score.
- Prosody: Listen to the students’ reading of connected text and observe whether students placed emphasis on the correct words, the tone rose and fell at appropriate points, and students paused at punctuation marks and phrase boundaries.
To determine whether students’ WCPM score is on target, educators can use the Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) norms chart that provides grade-level expectations throughout the year. A sample is shown below. This provides insight into whether the student is below, at, or above the 50th percentile, and therefore, reading at grade-level fluency benchmarks.
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