Matching Reading Materials to a Student’s Ability

The following guide will help you determine the suitability of reading materials.

For an instructional session, the student should be able to decode 90% - 95% of the words without assistance and respond to simple questions with at least 80% accuracy. For independent reading, the student should be able to read 98% of the vocabulary without assistance and fully understand the text.

(Reference: Dolch Reading Levels)

If you’re having a hard time obtaining an ongoing supply of suitable materials, I strongly suggest the use of a basal reading series such as the original Ginn 360. Other benefits to most basal readers are as follows:

  • their vocabulary is well controlled as new words are introduced a few at a time and are frequently repeated;
  • their font is a good size and there’s also ample spacing between letters, words and lines – features students with reading difficulties appreciate;
  • the length of their sentences is well controlled;
  • their content appeals to the children;
  • their overall presentation is pleasant and thereby inviting.

As basal readers fell out of fashion years ago, they are now out of print. However, copies can be found on the internet.

The next posting will present an example that depicts the necessity of providing students with suitable reading materials as well as address the need to respect a student’s fatigue.

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