Tool for the Field: Oral Reading Rubric


This rubric offers guidelines to help assess oral reading. The guidelines address important features of fluent, expressive oral reading. These features are accuracy in word pronunciation; pace (the speed with which the passage is read); phrasing, showing the end of phrases and clauses; voice, or voice volume (loudness or softness) and pitch (high or low, as in “treble” or “bass”); and naturalness, or reading in a way that is so true to the meaning that it sounds as natural as if it were being spoken instead of read.


Step 1: Listen to a student read a passage from a book or handout selected as appropriate for the student.

Step 2: As the student reads, give help with pronunciation of words as needed.

Step 3: As the student reads, listen attentively to the student’s pronunciation, reading pace, phrasing, voice, and naturalness.

Step 4: Depending on your and the teacher’s instructional plan, you may be asked to provide feedback to the student and/or the teacher by reviewing your notes and identifying the student’s areas of strength and weakness. In the rubric below, notes can be entered under the column that best fits the student’s performance on accuracy, pace, phrasing, voice, and naturalness.

(word recognition and pronunciation)
Easily pronounces correctly almost all words in the passage. Pronounces most words correctly, but stops to decode, think about, or ask for help with about 10% of the words. Stops to sound out, think about, or ask for help with about 25% of the words in the passage. Stops to sound out, think about, or ask for help with about half or more of the words in the passage.
Notes on student’s accuracy



(speed with which student reads words, phrases, and sentences
Pace varies according to punctuation and meaning. Pace varies appropriately, but is too fast or too slow to be in some places. Pace often too slow or too fast, but shows some variation related to meaning. Little to no variation based on meaning.
Notes on student’s pace



(pausing according to  punctuation)
Pauses at commas, semicolons, periods, question marks, and exclamation marks. Occasionally reads past commas, semicolons, or end punctuation. Reads past most punctuation. Appears not to use punctuation as a guide for phrasing.
Notes on student’s phrasing



(adjusts volume and pitch of voice according to punctuation and meaning)
Varies voice to express meaning of words, phrases, and sentences, and as indicated by question marks; exclamation marks; and periods. Varies voice to express meaning of sentences and punctuation throughout most of the passage. Varies voice volume and pitch to reflect meaning to a limited extent. Reads at the same volume or pitch throughout almost the entire passage.
Notes on student’s use of voice volume and pitch



(interprets passage in a naturally expressive manner, as speaking instead of reading)
Sounds naturally expressive in reflecting the ideas and feelings implied by the passage. Mostly natural sounding, with some exceptions, such as too little or too much dramatization. Sounds naturally expressive during some of the passage. Hardly any phrases or sentences sound naturally expressive.
Notes on student’s naturalness