Reading Fluency

Reading Menu

The initial Reading Skills Program menu has three selections, which address fluency and decoding. We use the SRA Corrective Reading curriculum. You can order those books directly from the publisher, or we can send you these books at our cost. We chose this curriculum over 20 years ago because of its rigorous pedagogy. Our charts reveal how smoothly the stories increase in complexity, with just a few new sounds and spellings introduced in each passage. When you sign up, have your student read the Diagnostic Page. We can then assign the appropriate Grade Level materials and set up your menu, consisting of three fluencies:

  • Hard Words.  This is a flash-card presentation, in which your student is shown sight words from two sources. (a) A Word bank that reviews the important words for each grade, and (b) Words from other fluencies that the student has found difficult. Each time your student completes this fluency, CyberSlate records the number of corrects and learning opportunities, and when the student has reached a criterion number, “mastered words” are put into a review bank, and only occasionally appear on the screen.
  • decode grid

    In Hard Words and Decoding, the words appear on a grid in random order. If your reader makes a mistake, the word appears in syllables. After a second misreading, a help box shows the word spelled in color-coded phonemes.

  • Decoding Words. This is also a flashcard presentation, using words from the passage that your student is reading. As words are mastered, they are shifted to the review bank and appear less often.  This exercise is crucial to the development of decoding skills. Unlike the Passages fluency, your student must figure out the word, because there is no context from which to guess its meaning. If your student cannot figure out the word, his assistant presses the x key and the word appears broken into syllables, If that is not sufficient help, the assistant presses x again, and the word appears spelled phonemically, with color-coded vowels. Your student pronounces the word, and the correct key takes him on to the next word. Your student’s decoding attempt is a crucial “teachable moment,” and the role of the assistant is important. Click here to find a description of this role. When your student passes a Passage, he is automatically moved on to the next matching set of words.
  • Reading Passages. The menu presents a Timer, with information about which passage to read, the passing criterion, and the last score. You find that passage in the book. He reads from the beginning each time, and tries to beat his last score. If his score is above the criterion level (usually 150 words per minute), the program passes him to the next story. Otherwise, he begins at the start of the passage the next time. The coach/listener points to any error, and the student corrects it before going on.
Reading Passages Screen

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.

In the National Institutes’ search for effective “Scientific Research Based Interventions, (1983) the SRA Corrective Reading program yielded the best results of all programs tested. Your school is likely not using this curriculum because its classroom approach requires rigorous training and the stories were written at least 50 years ago.  It is more likely that they have chosen one of the other currentlyupdated and “approved”  programs like Read Naturally, Wilson, Reading Recovery, or Read 360. Each of these programs has decoding and fluency activities which are part of the routines in each remedial class. However, to be effective, these components must be practiced not just in class, but a few times daily, every day – which is rarely possible.  Parallel to your school’s remedial activities, CyberSlate Reading Fluencies use the SRA materials. which also introduce the sounds and spellings in a developmentally organized way, so when your student completes the CyberSlate fluencies, he is being introduced to sounds and combinations in roughly the same order as most of the remedial programs.  This parallel introduction will rarely create obstacles because the items being learned are not synchronized. A far greater advantage will accrue because the student is getting vital extra practice, and if the two approaches are not compatible, the conflict will show immediately on the Celeration Chart and an immediate adjustment can be made.  And by the way, although the SRA Stories were written over 50 years ago, they do not refer to events in history, and are entertaining reading.

Sometimes a student’s screening and charts will indicate that he is struggling to discriminate the sounds. If so, we will recommend a phonemic awareness program based on Orton-Gillingham rubrics. CyberSlate’s phonemic awareness program is called Fluent Auditory Discrimination. If the charts indicate that the student can discriminate sounds and signs but is not fluent in doing so, CyberSlate will add on a series of fluencies to practice the sounds, and recognize sound changes within words (Transformers.)