Introductory Challenge

You are working with a group of students and are trying to figure out which of them has mastered grade-level reading and which need more help. In other words, you want to measure their reading fluency. The students are working on two types of activities, one in which they read a passage silently by themselves and another in which they take turns reading aloud to the rest of the group.

One of the students, Alan, sits down to read his assigned silent-reading passage. Very quickly—a couple minutes before any of the other students—he puts down his book and announces he’s done. But when you ask him who the main character in the passage was, he says “Jack” when the real main character was named “Zack.”

In the oral reading activity, his classmate Marta stands up to read to her classmates. In a monotone voice, she reads the assigned passage quickly, stringing the words together into an uninterrupted strand of sounds that doesn’t pause for punctuation like commas and periods. She finishes the passage much faster than the other students, and has a hard time recounting the sequence of events in the story when prompted.

Alan and Marta completed the silent and oral reading activities faster than their classmates. But would you rate them as being the “best” or most fluent readers of the group? Why or why not?