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Seven Ideas for Reading Accurately

Seven Ideas for Reading Accurately - Reading fluently is great, but accuracy is important, too! Here are seven ideas to help your readers become more accurate.
I've finished my DIBELS, and my kids are all over the ball park as far as their needs go. I have noticed that several students had high "Words Correct Per Minute", but their accuracy was low. These kids read loads of words, but were adding, changing, and omitting lots of words. These same kids also had trouble with punctuation, and retelling the story. They need work on accuracy!

Here are some ideas for working on accuracy.

1.  Tell them that's what they need to work on. Yes, seriously, give them the feedback they need. That's the number one trick to improvement, knowing what you need to work at! If necessary, go back to the "finger pointing" stage to help them focus on the words that are really there.

2.  Partner reading - One partner reads, the other partner checks to make sure they're reading accurately. This works best if the children are evenly matched at their own reading level. See the blog post I wrote about using this app for partner reading HERE.

3. Read with an adult - Grab a spare adult somewhere to read with students! It might be a teacher assistant, a parent volunteer, or maybe even the librarian, phys. ed. teacher or music teacher! Anyone that has a few minutes can sit down with a child and listen to them read. (Make sure they are ready to give feedback!)

4. Have them read "out soft" - often!  The more they read so someone can hear, the more accurate they will become. That "sense of an audience" really makes a difference. When my students come to reading group, I have them bring a book they are working on, and they are expected to sit down and start reading it "out soft". That means: loud enough so that I can hear them across the reading table, but not loud enough to be heard from across the room. They find it a little awkward at first, but it doesn't take long for them to feel comfortable reading their book just loud enough to be heard. This trick also gives me a chance to listen to individuals, give a little extra time to some kids, and has the children warmed up and ready for reading group. I notice huge improvements in accuracy and fluency when I start doing this!

5. Readers Theater - As mentioned above, that "sense of an audience" is a big motivator! Plus, Readers Theater can be fun, which is another plus! There are plenty of sources of scripts out there.  Just google it! (or search on Pinterest!) Just beware of the danger of readers theater: after reading it a few times, they memorize the script. Then it isn't real reading anymore!

6.  Reading song lyrics - Music is very closely related to the memory. If they already know the song, they'll be able to read the lyrics. Give out song sheets and have them "finger read". As above, just make sure they are truly reading, not reciting something that they have memorized. (Nothing wrong with memorization, but that's not the skill we're trying to improve!)

7.  Practice sight words and phrases - In order to read accurately, they've got to know the words! Experts recommend that children learn sight words in context. Click the freebie below for several phrases using the Dolch pre-primer list. There are plenty more of these for other levels, too!

What are your ideas for building accuracy?


  1. Great list of suggestions! Can't wait to check out the app!

    The Math Maniac

  2. Wonderful suggestions! I totally agree that it's important to let students know what area they need to improve upon. It builds responsibility and helps them take ownership!

  3. Awesome suggestions! I totally agree that students need constructive feedback!



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