Getting Started Reading

CyberSlate’s Reading Fluency program is designed to assist a student who is struggling to bring his/her reading up to grade level. It is ready for you to start immediately.  Download the application, and register now!

We first determine an approximate reading level of your reader.  This can either be completed by you using the San Diego Quick Test, or we can set up a diagnostic session within CyberSlate.  Both activities take only a few minutes.

There are four “fluencies;” Decoding Words, Reading Passages, Hard Words and Transformers.  Other exercises may be added once we see how your reader is responding to these indicators.


Decoding Words.

The words appear on a grid in random order. If the reader makes a mistake, the word appears in syllables. After a second misreading, a help box shows the word spelled phonemically.


Decoding Words is a flash-card fluency in which the reader sees words placed in random order on a grid.  These words have been selected from the accompanying passage and are within the reader’s ability range.  The reader attempts to read as many words as he can in one minute. His Coach clicks a correct key or learning opportunity key after each attempt. If the word is not read correctly, an x appears in the grid the reader tries again. After the second attempt the word appears broken into syllables. If he still had difficulty, a help panel appears with the word spelled in phonemes.  At the end of the minute, the reader sees his score, and can view his chart of progress.

This exercise is named “Decoding” because the reader must decode each word. When reading a passage, all readers guess many words by picking up context clues. Struggling readers begin to resort to this tactic rather than attempting to decode difficult words by breaking them into parts. The presentation of each word in isolation in this fluency forces the reader to use his decoding skills.  For best results, always complete Decoding Words before completing the Reading Passages exercise.



Reading Passages is also a one-minute timing, but the student reads from a book rather than the screen. CyberSlate presents a one-minute timer. The reader has his Reading Fluency book open to the page with the present passage.

The timer for reading passages.  The Passage Number, previous scores, and aim are listed to the left of the timer, which is started by pressing the Space bar.

The reader presses the Space Bar, then reads from the paper copy of the passage for one minute. If he misreads a word (leaves a word out, adds words, or mispronounces the word), his Coach points to the word, and the reader must go back and correct it, then go on. At the end of the minute, CyberSlate plays a tune and the coach marks the spot that the reader finished.

This Scorekeeping panel appears at the end of the timed session. Either the Coach or the Reader fills in the scores.

CyberSlate presents a panel in which to insert the scores. The coach or the reader figures out the number of words read, and the number of learning opportunities, and records the scores in the results panel. If the reader exceeded the passing rate (usually 150 wpm), CyberSlate will increment the Story Number, so the reader will begin a new story when he next reads. If the score was below the passing criterion, the reader repeats the same story on his/her next read, starting at the beginning each time. CyberSlate updates the Celeration Chart with the latest score.

Transformers is designed to help the student examine the “insides” of words. As students improve their decoding, they tend to guess at complete words, rather than look at all of the parts. Transformers forces the systematic examination of the parts. Each cell contains two items that are the same except for one sound. The reader says both items, then explains the difference between them with as few words as possible.

In Transformers, the student says both “words”, then states the changed sounds, and where they occur in the word.

The student says the two “words'” then announces which sound changes in the two items, the location of the changing sounds, and the action that occurs. He then presses the Space Bar, and is shown the change. If he is correct, the coach presses the “Correct” key, and the next cell is presented. If he made an error, the coach presses “x“, and the student reads the correct answer. Only one sound is changed in each combination.

Hard Words presents a grid like that in Decoding. The Words are derived from a bank of Sight Words used by most schools for each grade level. Words are added to this bank if the student has scored a high error rate on them. The coach can also contribute words to CyberSlate to add to the Hard Word list.