and reading accuracy

Reading development would include the steps of reading which are phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, phonological awareness, learning sight words and learning how to decode words.  

You will read about the following on this page:

The last two steps (learning sight words and learning how to decode words) usually take place while the beginning reader starts to read basals (school books). However learning to read from basals is not the most efficient way to teach a child how to read, especially a child that has a learning disability or one who struggles to learn.

Reading Accuracy

The Reading Teacher, April, 2015, vol. 68, No 7 recently reported that "oral reading accuracy is an important factor in determining a child's reading development."

What is oral reading accuracy?  Simply, how proficient is the reader when reading orally.  Is the reader able to read the words accurately 99% of the time?  95% of the time?  OR below 90% of the time?

If a child can read accurately 99% of the words then he is reading at an Independent Reading Level.  98%-95% accuracy show the child is reading at an Instructional Level.  If a child reads words at below 90% accuracy, then the student is reading at their Frustration Level.

Once a child reaches his/her frustration level while reading then the teacher should stop that child from reading further.  WHY?  If a child continues reading at the frustration level, the child (and the instructor) will become overly frustrated and decide that learning to read is just too difficult.

Obtaining Oral Accuracy

Studies show that high error rates while reading is linked to smaller amounts of reading growth.  

The struggling reader will have more reading growth when she is provided with high accuracy oral reading experiences.  Studies also show that struggling readers will "catch up" if allowed to be tutored with texts at their instructional level.

Another study shows that students who read at their instructional level out scored those who read above their instructional level. Also, students who read with accuracy levels above 95% stay on task during 42% of the period.  This compares to 22% of the time for those who read at an accuracy of less than 95%.

Students who stay on task are going to comprehend better.  If they can comprehend better, then it goes without saying that they will learn more.

Text Complexity


Anyone who is familiar with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) will be familiar with the term "text complexity."  There seems to be a big controversy about how hard the text should be for each grade level.

Simply put, text complexity is looking at text as the student progresses from K to 12 grade.  Each year, the text in the textbooks should be getting increasingly harder as the students are taught strategies to help them understand the more difficult texts.

Text complexity would include:

  • Structure of the passage: (Will the child be able to read information that is located in various places on the page?  i.e. caption under a picture, a graph, etc.
  • Purpose of the passage or levels of meaning:  (What kind of passage is this; factual, expository, persuasive, descriptive, etc?)
  • Language conventionality and clarity:  (Does the text use familiar, clear language, and does the illustrations support text meaning?)
  • Theme and knowledge demands:  (Is prior knowledge needed before a child can grasp the meaning of the text?)
  • Length of passage, number of words, word frequency also is calculated when measuring text complexity.

Choosing Appropriate Text


Only someone who has sat and listened to the student over a period of time will be able to determine the exact level.  However, there are a few things that a teacher can look at to help decide what is appropriate.

  • Is the child motivated to read?
  • How much background knowledge does the student have to understand the book or textbook that will be read?
  • Does background knowledge need to be taught prior to the child reading the book or text?
  • Does the child have experiences that s/he will be able to relate to the passage being read?
  • Is the text too complex for the student?

Once a teacher has analyzed the above questions, then she is able to select the appropriate book or text for her student.  The 5 finger rule should apply here also.  (The 5 finger rule is:  open the text to the middle of the book.  Have the student read the page.  If he misses 5 or more words on the page, then the passage (book or text) is too hard.  Put the selected book away and choose an easier book.

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