Questions and Answers
Read answers to common questions about the One Minute Reader program.
A: One Minute Reader can help developing readers improve their ability to read fluently while also providing comprehension and vocabulary-enhancing activities. Teachers have successfully used this system with a variety of students, including beginning readers, struggling students, special education students, dyslexic students and students for whom English is not their first language. Any student who is not yet able to read fluently at a fifth grade level can benefit from using this fun, motivating, and effective reading program.
A: For the best results, students should work with One Minute Reader three times a week. Five times a week is even better. It's usually more effective to work for a short time—maybe 15 to 30 minutes—several days a week than to work for just one long session.
Each One Minute Reader story takes about 20 minutes to complete. But every reader is different, so there's no need for concern if your student takes more or less time to finish the steps.
And don't worry about completing a story in one sitting. Young children or those with shorter attention spans may take two or even three short sessions to complete a story.
You know your student best and how long he or she can stay focused. If a student becomes tired or overly frustrated, it's time to stop.
A: The app has a built-in placement process. Students read a few short passages, and the app recommends an appropriate level. It is important for the student to read stories that challenge them. The stories should be difficult enough to keep the student interested and provide adequate room for growth, but not so difficult as to overly frustrate them. The built-in placement process will suggest a level that fits this description in most cases. However, you know your student best. Select a lower level if the student is very frustrated. Select a higher level if the student seems to complete stories with ease.
A: To be successful, it's important for students using One Minute Reader to read out loud, whether they're reading along with the narrator or practicing on their own.
When reading along with the narrator, the reader must actively read along, and not just listen as the audio plays. Actively reading along means seeing a word on the screen at the same time as saying the word out loud and hearing the narrator say it. This process increases the likelihood the student will learn the words well enough to be able to read them later in another text.
A: The stories are recorded at reading rates that allow developing readers to actually read along. Since the narrator reads at the student's pace, readers can see the word on the page at the same time they hear the word and say the word. This helps them to learn new words, and to become more comfortable with commonly confused words like "were" and "where." Students that find the reading rates much too slow may need a higher level to continue to see gains in reading fluency.
A: Reading along helps students make a sight/sound connection and learn the words better. Students should read along as many times as it takes to be able to read the words by themselves. For many readers, this takes two or three times. Other readers may need to read along more than three times or even only one time.
We recommend students start by reading along three times and adjusting the number of read alongs as needed.
A: Readers should practice as many times as it takes for them to read the story accurately and with expression. Most students should time themselves reading at least three times. Many students will need to do this five, seven, or even more times to master the story. Students can go back to the read along step if they find they still don't know all the words during the practice step.
One way to encourage someone to read the same story multiple times is to point out that they earn 100 points for each practice reading. You can also set a goal to work towards. A typical goal would be to practice until the reader can beat the original cold timing score by 30 words (which earns the reader another 500 points!). If that seems too hard, set a lower goal. If it’s too easy, see if the reader can beat the original score by 40 words.
Another type of goal might be to practice some set number of times and see how high a score the reader can get with each reading.
A: Reading without mistakes is a very important aspect of fluency. Think about fluency as being able to read as well as you speak. Nobody speaks perfectly, but most people do speak very accurately. Most people say the words they mean most of the time.
Likewise, readers should correctly say the words most of the time. A good reader typically would not make more than three mistakes for every 100 words of text.
During the one-minute timings, some students try to read so fast that they rush through the words, making lots of mistakes, not stopping for punctuation, and not understanding what they read. If your student does this, immediately stop the timing and have him or her start over. Remind the student to read like he or she talks.
A: One of the benefits of One Minute Reader is that the reader can work very independently. The app itself does not require the presence of a parent, teacher, tutor, older sibling, etc. Of course, the aid a confident reader can help a developing reader succeed if he or she is younger, new to the One Minute Reader app, starting a new story, unfamiliar with the device, or has a short attention span.
Readers should become more independent over time. Easily-distracted youths may need to have an adult present for all the steps. Older or more self-directed students can work by themselves. It depends not just on age, but also personality. Some students may enjoy having someone to work through the story with. Others may prefer to practice by themselves and only read aloud for someone else once they've mastered a story.
Regardless of whether you're present for all the steps of a story or only for the final timing, your support, interest, and praise can make a big difference to the student.
A: The app does not require a parent or teacher to be present at any step. However, having a proficient reader listen as the student reads the story the last time can help motivate students and inform parents and teachers.
If you choose to listen to the final reading of a story, listen for and keep track of any words the reader still has trouble with. Ideally, you’ll hear three or fewer mistakes during the timing.
If you’ve set a goal for the reader, such as trying to read 30 words faster than the Cold Read score for the story, then the final reading is your opportunity to see whether the student met that goal. Meeting the reading goal is a great reason to congratulate the reader on all that hard work.
As you listen to the story, also pay attention to whether the reader reads smoothly, with expression, and with correct phrasing.
Finally, you can go through the Quick Quiz together and help with any misunderstandings. Another way to help a reader understand the story is to talk about the story together.
A: Make it fun! Ask them what they learned. Have them read to you. Help them find more information about the topics in the stories. Even post their hot timing scores on the refrigerator.
Create a quiet environment where they can work. The fewer distractions they encounter, the better they will do.
Remind readers that it’s not all about how many words they read in one minute. One Minute Reader is not speed reading training. Accuracy, expression, vocabulary, and comprehension should be stressed along with rate.
A: Every reader is different, so the amount of improvement you'll see within a story will vary with the reader's age, the difficulty level of the material, and how well the reader can read the story to begin with. Readers who start out knowing most of the words can't improve as dramatically, since they don't have as far to go.
A reader's scores won't necessarily improve after every single one-minute timing. However, generally scores do go up as a reader practices. For most students increasing their word per minute score by 20–40 words between the cold and hot read would be a reasonable goal.
A: There are a few reasons a student’s scores would not improve.
First, the student may be in an inappropriate level. A student in a level that is much too easy or much too difficult will not make much progress.
Second, students must actually read along with the audio to show improvement. Readers can't just listen to the audio, but must actively read along out loud — as they see the word, they must hear the word and say the word themselves.
Another thing that can keep a student from making progress is inadequate practice. Students usually need several practices to master a story. Practices should also be done reading out loud, and students should return to the read along step if they find there are many words they still do not know.
Occasionally, a student will be dishonest about the last word they read in the cold read. In these cases, it is important to help the student understand that there is nothing wrong with a low cold read score. Generally, once they know how much fun it is to see their improvement, they will want to be as accurate as they can be with their cold read.
A: Some indications that a student may be ready to move up to the next level of books include the following:
- At the cold timing, the student makes very few mistakes and his or her cold timing scores have gone up significantly.
- The student begins to be able to read a story quite well after fewer (maybe only one) read alongs or practices.
- The student is able to pass complete a story in less than 15 minutes.
These are all signs that the current level of stories is becoming too easy and it may be time to move up a level.
Monitor your student so that the material he or she is reading continues to challenge him or her without causing too much frustration.
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