The beginning Reading Skills Program menu has these three selections.
Our Reading Fluency programs address fluency and decoding. We use the SRA Corrective Reading curriculum. You order those books directly from the publisher, and we send you booklets that contain excerpts from each story, with the words counted in advance. 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 sound and spelling introduced in each passage. When you sign up, we give your student a reading placement test using the San Diego Quick Test Inventory. This allows us to assign him to appropriate Grade Level materials. Your menu is then set up, consisting of three fluencies:
- Hard Words. This is a flash-card presentation, in which the student is shown sight words from two sources. (a) A Word bank that reviews the important words for each grade, and (b) Words from the other two fluencies that the student has found difficult. Each time the student completes this fluency, CyberSlate records the number of corrects and learning opportunities, and when the student has reached a criterion number, that word is put into a review bank, and only occasionally appears on the screen.
- Decoding Words. This is also a flashcard presentation, using words from the passage that the 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, the student must figure out the word, because there is no context from which to guess its meaning. If the 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. The student pronounces the word, and the correct key takes him on to the next word. The 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 the 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.
In the National Institutes’ search for effective “Scientific Research Based Interventions,” 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. It is more likely that they have chosen one of the other currently “approved” programs like Read Naturally, Wilson, Reading Recovery, Lindamood Bell (LiPS), 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. Paralel to youir school’s remedial activities, CyberSlate Reading Fluencies substitutes the SRA materials. which 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, so 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 the result of each session is plotted on the Celeration Chart so that in rare cases of incompatibility, an immediate adjustment can be made.
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 can add on a series of fluencies to practice the sounds, and recognize sound changes within words (Transformers.)