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Independent Reading Level: The level at which a reader can read something and understand it without support (usually one or two levels below the instructional level). If you are unsure, it is a level at which a student can read with very few errors and still understand what he/she is reading.
Instructional Reading Level: The level at which a reader can function with support from an instructor. These books offer a “moderate amount of challenge” to the student. Usually, the instructor will guide the reader through the book or passage by asking meaningful questions or prompting the reader to look for certain qualities in the text.
Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, at a reasonable pace, and with expression. Fluency is important because it provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension. When fluent readers read silently, they recognize words automatically. Their reading sounds natural, as if they are speaking. If you are doing fluency practice (see below) with a student, it is probably a good idea to use his/her independent level or BELOW.
Fluency building activities:
Model fluent reading- You read to the student as they follow along.
Repeated reading- You ask a student to read the same text repeatedly. Usually four times is sufficient.
Partner Reading- Tutor reads a passage first, the student reads the same passage afterwards.
Readers’ Theater – Using a play or poem, students practice reading to present to an audience.
Whisper Reading- Teacher sits a bit behind student and whispers the text into the student’s ear as he/she reads the same text.
Echo Reading – Instructor reads a passage and the student reads the same passage just a bit after the instructor (like an echo).
Approximated Reading Levels (based on Fontus & Pannell ranking system):
Grade One B-I
Grade Two H-M
Grade 3 L- P
Grade 4 O-T
Grade 5 S-W
Grade 6 V-Y
Grades 7 and above Z
***Grade level does not necessarily = the levels above. Pay attention to the teacher recommendation. Students sometimes know their independent levels. Instructional levels are usually higher.
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