Short Passages to Improve Automaticity and Inflection
Through repeated one-minute readings of the Fluency Practice Passages, students can increase their
reading rate and accuracy while also working on proper expression and smoothness. Fluency practice also
helps improve student comprehension and focus. View our Fluency Standards Table for additional information
about recommended reading rates.
By improving fluency and reading at a suitable rate with accuracy and inflection, students are
better able to comprehend more complex text. Word recognition and automaticity also improve with
repeated readings of short passages.
How to Use Fluency Practice Passages
Passages are available at different levels of text complexity and can be used for
one-on-one reading, independent timed reading, or partner timed reading.
One-on-One: Read the Fluency Practice Passage aloud so the student can hear
fluent reading. Have the student read the passage. If the student stumbles on a word, read
the word aloud and have the student repeat it.
Independent Timed Reading: Give the student a stopwatch to time the
reading. The student starts timing as he or she begins a passage and stops it at the end of
the passage. Have the student record the reading time on a chart or graph.
Paired Readings: Have students work in pairs and time each other. At the
end of one minute, the partner with the timer says, "Stop," and circles the last
word read. This partner then marks the number of words read on the chart at
the bottom of the page. After several readings, the partners switch roles.
Timed Reading Procedures
You will need:
Two copies of the assessment passageone for the student and one for the instructor
Stopwatch or clock
Clipboard (so students will not see what you are writing)
Start timing when the student begins reading the first word of the passage (the student will not read the title).
If the student struggles for more than 3 to 5 seconds, say the word so she or he can keep reading. After one
minute, say "Stop," and circle the last word read.
Resist the impulse to correct errors immediately as mistakes and self-correction will be reflected in the score.
If the student becomes frustrated, stop the test. Say the student can retake the assessment after more reading
practice. Choose a passage at a lower level for the next practice session.
As you follow along on your copy, make a slash ( / ) through any words the student misses or cannot read without
help. Mark a dash above words skipped. Errors include:
Word substitutions, including incorrect forms of the word
Words in the wrong order; both or all words are counted as wrong
Struggling that lasts for 3 to 5 seconds, or more
The following are not considered misses:
Varying pronunciation due to accent, dialect, or speech impediment
Repetitions in which the wording is correct
Self-correcting a mistake; the word is scored as correct.
Timed Reading Scoring
Write the student's goal rate in the box provided.
Use the words-per-line totals in the margin to count the number of words read to
find the words per minute (WPM) rate. Write this number and the date in the chart at the bottom.
In the "Errors" line, record the number of mistakes (slashes) under Read 1 if this is the first reading,
Read 2 if it is the second reading, and so on.
Subtract the mistakes from the total number of words read to find the words correct per minute (WCPM).
Divide the words correct per minute (WCPM) by the words per minute (WPM) and multiply this result by 100. This is the
student's Accuracy/Reading Rate percentage.
Record this number in the box.
After about four to six readings, students should reach the target words-per-minute standard for their grade
level with an accuracy rate of 90 to 95 percent.