Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Reading Fluency Probe Reflections {Slice of Life}

"For this reading project, I need you to read as fast as you can.  
I want you to pretend you are at the races.
When you are done, I'm going to tell you the number of words you read per minute.  
We are going to do this three times.  
Ready, set, go."

Reflection - 
I decided to try something different this time around with three one minute reading fluency probes (and stay within the parameters).  I decided to try and empower my students.  I decided to give them immediate feedback in numerical form.  I decided to be truthfully honest about their performance each time.  I decided to give them information to drive their performance.  

I'm about two-thirds of the way done administering this assessment and my students love knowing their numbers after each read.  They are impressed with how high it is and then driven to read a few more words per minute.  I'm blown away by how many words per minute they are reading without any practice in-between assessments.  The practice they have had is real reading in real books at their own pace.  

I had to set the stage today with a student I've told to slow down all year.  We've had moments of "mini conflict" because his speedy reading was not allowing him to comprehend.  I had to encourage him to read as fast as he could today.  When he got done, he looked at me and said, "Mrs. Robek, I didn't understand anything I just read!"  

I'm not a fan of how this assessment tool is being used.  I'm not a fan of what happens if a student doesn't meet the benchmark based on national norms but by giving my students the number of words per minute they are reading I saw their progress increase which should keep them out of the terrible outcomes and for one student, it helped reinforce the main reason readers read.  May we all continue to read for understanding.

Thank you Two Writing Teachers for organizing this writing community.


  1. I love how you worked within the parameters to empower your students with immediate feedback. And I'm with you about not being a fan of how a particular assessment tool is being used. But that aha moment with the one student was powerful!

  2. Oh, I understand your woes ... I don't worry so much about reaching the benchmark or obtaining a certain score. I tell the kids I want them to do their best reading. There is still plenty of growth to hear! And thankfully, we have other measures too beyond just a number.

  3. I love the reading fluency assessment and I'll tell you why. I never tell anyone to read like it is a race. I always show them what a goal on the page might look like. I help them chart their progress. We sticker chart when we've made progress. I use those few minutes to conference with them talking about their prosody or their word solving strategies or even what they are currently reading. I give myself over to focus my complete attention on that one peanut for those 3-4 minutes. I wrote a blog about this a while back. To your point, I think whenever we shift up our perspective, we grow and they grow.

  4. I love the comment from your little friend. At least he knows what's supposed to happen when one reads, even if the powers-that-be don't. That kind of assessment makes me sad, and that's all I'm going to say.