Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 18 2012

Fluency Palooza

I am so proud of my lowest readers. We finally got our DIBELS materials in just before break let out (this is a really quick basic test of reading fluency, or how many words they read correctly in one minute) and I quickly tested my lowest kids. Admittedly, I did this because I want to test them when they come back from break and see how many words per minute they lose over a week-long break, and maybe use that data to get them into Extended School Year programs. But I also just looked up average fluency gains in a year. The average fourth grader at the 50th percentile reads 99 wpm in the Fall and 118 wpm in the Spring, for a gain of about 20 wpm over the course of a year. Granted, my kiddos started out really low, so we need to pretty much triple that amount of growth even to get them into the average range. But look at this:

2 kids who started reading 44 wpm and understanding very little are now reading 68 wpm and understanding the main idea.

1 kid who started reading 40 wpm and understanding nothing is now reading 58 wpm and understanding everything.

1 kid who started reading 46 wpm and understanding half of it is now reading 82 wpm (!!!!) and understanding all of it.

My lowest reader, reading 16 wpm, skimmed through the text in August, mumbling all the hard words and reading “and,” “the,” and “he” 16 times (and he missed some of those). He understood nothing and had as many words incorrect as correct. BUT he read 34 wpm on Thursday, with only 2 errors. And one of those errors was just that he forgot to read the “s” at the end of a plural. And he retold the story in mostly complete sentences. And it was a great retell.

This means that in 3 months my lowest readers have matched or exceeded average reading fluency growth for a whole year. They are working so hard and kicking so much butt it’s unreal. WOOHOO! Now we just have to keep this rate of growth for the next 6 months.

One Response

  1. Claire

    Hi there!

    I found your blog while I was doing research on Teach for America. I love reading about your students and your challenges. This is absolutely fascinating material.

    Can we email? I’d love to ask you some detailed questions. I am thinking about applying to TFA and I’d like to teach in NM.

    Thank you for all of this wonderful insight and info!

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