How many words per minute should an average 3rd grader be reading?
my son is in the 3rd grade 8 years old and is reading 67 words per min.there goal at the beginning of the year is 77, what is normal for this age group?This is simply testing the speed of the childs reading not their comprehension,is that even a accurate way of assessing them?
First grader are expected to read 30 words per minute
Second grader are expected to read 60 words per minute
Third grader are expected to read 90 words per minute
(See link below for more information.)
These numbers are high or low depending on how you look at them. Each state may differ in their requirements but I know that in California, these are words read per minutes without mistakes and reading content at a child’s grade level. These factors actually make the above numbers look very high.
There is no correlation between a child’s speed of reading and his/her reading comprehension or between a child’s speed of reading and his/her academic performance and intelligence. It’s more important that a child understand what he or she read and not how fast he or she read.
Test for reading speed only looks at "reading frequency" and not comprehension. There is a separate test that looks at a child's knowledge of sight words (vocabulary) and their reading comprehension.
I've never heard of timing a child's reading speed. Accuracy and comprehension is what is important, especially in 3rd grade.
Reading speed however will vary depending on the material they are reading and if they are reading aloud or silently. If they are reading challenging material (as they should be), it takes time to identify the word by using their phonic skills and sounding it out or by looking for clues in the text. They may even need to refer to a dictionary. My daughter is in 3rd grade, and our class focus is on use of dictionary, phonic awareness and comprehension. Speed has never been mentioned, nor would I think it would be.
We read a minimum of 20 minutes a night from miscellaneous material. Some of the books are easy to read, others are challenging. This gives a good diversity to reinforce what they know, and to be introduced to new words. She reads aloud, so I can hear how she pronounces a word, if she is skipping words or changing the text. I look for smoothness as she reads, some readers, especially if they are mostly silent readers have a choppy reading habit when they read aloud. You want smooth reading. Also, they should be able to change their reading tone to match the punctuation.
Question your child about the material they've read, who was the main character, what was the plot of the story, what was the setting, was their a problem, how was the problem solved, etc. to see what they are comprehending.
To answer your question, speed is not an accurate way to test their abilities.
At the school I work at, we use the following guidelines for "average number of correct words per minute" for a 3rd Grader.
*These numbers come from a book called "The Next Step in Guided Reading", written by Jan Richardson. (I would highly recommend it to any teacher wishing to observe and teach small reading groups with a more critical eye. It's a very teacher-friendly, no-nonsense book for assessing, grouping, and instructing every child where they're at.)
The reason we test for reading rate (correct words per minute) is because it's indicative of a couple of things. If a child is reading a larger number of correct words quickly, it's indicative that the child is using good strategic activity to figure out words quickly while they are reading. We also do notice a correlation (although there are many "outliers") between good reading rate and good comprehension. The reason we see this correlation is because students who have good reading rate typically read with good expression and phrase the words they say quickly, smoothly, and appropriately (as opposed to reading mono-toned and one word at a time, slowly). These behaviors are evidence that the reader is thinking about the meaning of the story (or they wouldn't be able to predict how a character would say something) and they have a rich knowledge about how "book language" works and sounds (as opposed to the "slang" most of us use regardless of where we live.)
Also, if a reader can read quickly, it gives the brain more opportunities to strengthen the connections it makes in less time than it takes a slower reader. (That is why we tend to see slower readers as having a disadvantage and try to encourage more fluent reading. Given the same amount of time as a faster reader, they can only get through a small amount of text using efficient "processing strategies" as opposed to the massive amount of text the faster reader can get through... and you know what they say, practice makes permanant.)
Please note that I said "correlation" and "indicative" a lot. Reading is much more complex than most people (even elementary teachers) take into consideration. Young readers are having to "sound out" unknown words quickly, check it against their spoken language to make sure it sounds appropriate, check it against what they know about the story at that point in time, all while trying to create meaning from or figure out the message the author is trying to relay. There is a lot going on in that little brain that we can't possible see, so observing multiple reading behaviors is our best chance of figuring out what's going on in there.
Reading rate alone is not an accurate assessment of a reader's capabilities and it is mostly likely being used to "screen" or "monitor" your child in the classroom since it's quick and can be "normed" for comparison against other student averages.
In order to get a clear picture of where you're child is at, please think about the following:
-Listen to how the reading sounds (Does it sound like he/she is telling a story, or does it sound like they are trying to figure out every other word?)
-How accurate is the reading? (Are they leaving more than 95% of the words correct? If so, that's a good sign.)
-Are they fixing most of their errors? (a good ratio would be that they fix atleast 1 out of every 5 mistakes... hey, nobody really reads 100% accurate all the time!)
-Do they understand what they are reading? (By 3rd grade, this includes knowing the characters, setting, plot as well as starting to think about what the characters are feeling and why they might react a certain way. You may also want to start talking about why the author chooses to write a certain way.)
If you're worried about your son's classroom performance, the best thing you can do for him is get him to read massive amounts of text at a "just right" level.
It's important to understand that "reading work" doesn't have to be "hard work". Nobody I know would pick up a medical book for leisure reading, and yet we process the text around us very efficiently. Why should we expect our children to read difficult text all the time? They get about as much benefit from that as most of us would get from picking up a random medical journal. It would be difficult because we don't understand half the words and we don't have the background experience to pull much meaning from that article. Wouldn't that just take the joy out of reading if that's what we were forced to read all the time?
An easier sounding book where your child is fixing most of their mistakes gives him the opportunity to "decode" the text efficiently and effectively. The more his brain has the opportunity to strengthen these connections, the faster it should happen.
All because your daughter reads 148 words a minute doesn't mean that that is what others should do. Stick to the facts. Ask the reading dept at your school and they will definitely tell you where your child should be and how to work on it. All because you can read fast doesn't mean you understand what is going on! Comprehension is more important!!!
I ran into the same thing with my now 3rd grader, who is reading at a 1st grade level pretty much at this point. We are reading with him at least 30 min a day, the school has a system that is based on reading speed and accuracy, comprehension is part of it, but I dont think it plays a huge role in it. Therefore the child is considered to be behind in reading because WMP are not what the benchmark is. Also, you have to find out what program for benchmark they're using and what type of vacabulary is used. When I discovered what program the school system used the language and word choice was a lot more complicated than the books that he's practicing at his grade level. So I had to find a 3rd grade vocabulary and practice those words with him separately.... There are so many things to this that teachers wont disclose unfortunately, I've had to find things out myself on the internet.. unless you get a really good teacher whose got your back and willing to help and support you. :) good luck.
My daughter is in 3rd grade now. In kindergarten she wanted -nothing- to do with reading. It was a big struggle for her. We placed her with a tutor once a week between k and 1st grade. The best decision ever. She now reads top of her class at 228 wpm. However, speed is not everything. She struggles with comprehension which is affecting her math and the word problems. She is not understanding what they are really asking because she is reading to read not to comprehend. We are really working with her to "slow down" with everything except when speed reading. Good and bad on both sides of the spectrum!
Reading with speed and accuracy is called Precision Teaching or fluency teaching. It is VERY helpful. Teachers use Precision Teaching to teach fluency. It can be used for comprehension as well but it looks a little different. It makes reading much easier and also really fun. Children are in competition with themselves. They are always right when it comes to precision teaching. It helps with a child's confidence level and builds self- esteem and, most importantly, reading accuracy.
In the school district where I teach in Southern California, end of second grade is 90 words per minute. In my class of second and third graders, reading fluency rates range from 88 wpm to 187 wpm. Your son needs to read aloud to you every day. He needs to build his speed and accuracy in order to better comprehend the material he is reading. Research supports that greater fluency leads to increased comprehension. Children who simply call words are not true readers. Reading is about comprehending. Start reading more with and to your son. Purchase Raz Kids through Learning A to Z. Have your son do a cold read of the story. Then he can listen to stories being read to him at his current level. After that, have him read them aloud to you. His fluency should improve with repeated reads.