The Role of the Coach in Reading

CyberSlate is designed to make the coaching session efficient and productive. The activities are listed in order on the menu. The student can start the timer, and at the end of all items except Reading Passages, scores are automatically recorded and the chart is updated. Students quickly come to expect the efficiency of moving from item to item without a pause.

In all of the Grid fluencies, the coach presses the same keys for Corrects and Learning Opportunities (errors.)  If you are sitting to the left of the student, the Z key is Corrects, and the X key is learning opportunities.  If you sit to the right of the student, the Period key is Corrects, and Slash (/) is learning opportunities.  In Transformers, the student can press the Space Bar to see if his answer is correct. In most cases, the Correct key advances the highlight to the next cell.

There are “Correct” and “Error” keys on both the left and right side of the keyboard so you can sit on either side of the student.

If at all possible, do not speak during a one-minute timing!! The job of reading is to listen to oneself, either through your ears (if reading aloud), or that “inner voice” that seems to develop when you read. When you speak, the reader immediately changes from listening to himself, and loses the internal feedback loop that we are trying to develop through practice. Instead, simply press the X or /, and the student will get visual feedback from the “X” that appears in the active cell.

When completing Reading Passages, read from the same book, and have a pencil ready (but not hovering in his field of vision.) When the student makes an error, you will be able to point to it quickly, because you are looking at the same spot. Point to that word and make a mark on the page. The student must come back and correct his error. Again, no sound on your part. At the end of the minute, you can count the marks on the page to arrive at a correct count of the learning opportunities. (Of course, returning to correct an error will cause the student to have a lower count at the end of the minute. However, it is more important that he learns rapid correction while reading, rather than correcting after the minute – when he is no longer engaged in the attempt at fluent reading.)

Sometimes students find the fluency session upsetting because they are trying so hard to “beat their scores.” If you are a silent participant, you will find that they become angry at the computer rather than you – and since the computer is indifferent (and usually their friend), they recover much more quickly.