# Calculating Words Read Correct Per Minute

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Maithal, Dec 7, 2008.

1. ### MaithalCohort

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Dec 7, 2008

Does anyone know how to calculate the words read correct per minute when checking a student's rate for oral fluency?

I am doing a research project and trying to figure this out. I intervened by modeling how to read fluently using echo and choral reading to first graders.

I used a stopwatch to time how many words each student read in one minute and then took that number and subtracted it by the number of errors made when reading. That gave me the number of words read correct per minute (WCPM). At least I think it did.

However, here's my problem...each book they read (guided reading books) varied in how many words were in each book. So, some books only had 26 words, others had 52 words, etc.

I hope someone knows how to do this and can help me determine if I am right. I would think the number of words read correctly would increase each time, but what if a book has only 26 words and they read all the words correctly while another book had 55 words and they read 51 words correctly in a minute. How does this show that they are improving in their readings?

Hope this makes sense. I am quite confused. Thanks so much!

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Dec 7, 2008

First off, you should find passages because they will allow for more words per minute. I would not use the guided reading books because right now they are not reliable. We used our guided reading books in 4th grade, but they all were quite lengthy so it seemed ok!

I like the books 3 Minute Reading Assessments by Timothy Rasinski. You can find it on Amazon. They have a 1-4 book and a 5-8 book. You can also download the DIBELS online, which also has reading passages, at least for 1st grade and up. Those passages have between 200-400 words each. My very best readers last year would read like 160 maybe... I can't remember. Anyway, he passages don't need to be really long.

If the children are reading short books, you will have to give them a long passage to check with, because you can't know based on those books, especially if they only have 29 words in the whole book. My guess is that children reading books like that really need to focus on decoding and making meaning, and fluency comes later, when they are reading longer books. I don't work on fluency so much with my readers who have those little books. We are just working on learning to read them!

Basically, time the child reading for 1 minute from a passage. If you have a BOOK you want to use, find one with about 100 words or more. You will have to type the text of the book out so you can follow along. You mark any word that they skip, replace, say incorrectly, you help them with, etc. If they repeat the word, or self-correct the word it's counts as a correctly read word.

Say the child reads 63 words in one minute, and reads 59 of them correctly. You only count the words read correctly. Divide the two numbers and you will have their fluency % rate. In this case the child has a 93% fluency rate, and that would be ok for instructional reading. I think 96% and above is good for independent reading and below 90% is too hard... but someone else may correct me on that!

You could take a trade book at the level your child is reading and see if it has more words than the guided reading books. If not, my guess is that the children are really too low to be doing this kind of oral reading work with.

Also, if you have a subscription to Reading A-Z they have fluency passages on it.

Here are some other websites with passages:

http://www.readinga-z.com/guided/fluency.html (Even if you don't have a subscription, this will explain to you about how to do a fluency passage w/ a child.)

https://dibels.uoregon.edu/

You can sign up for this and print out their materials... it's A LOT of paper. We use them at our school. But, I think they also have practice passages you can print out... I haven't used them but I think I saw them on the site.

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Dec 7, 2008

Correct, but If I have someone reading at a 98% fluency rate with a very low comprehension, I would still instruct them at that level - if that makes sense.

5. ### MaithalCohort

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Dec 7, 2008

Thanks for the tip MissFroggy. However, I already collected my data using my guided reading books per my professors suggestions. I teach a Modified Reading Recovery program so my professor told us to pick an action research project that was in the locust of our classroom situations.

In the future, I will definitely look into your websites. However, I cannot go back and collect new data now because my assignment is due Wednesday and my professor said this would be fine. She wasn't exactly positive off the top of her head how to calculate the number of words read correct (WCPM) so I looked online.

Can anyone else tell me whether I did this okay or not?

Thanks so much! The more I look at this, the more confused I get.

6. ### MaithalCohort

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Dec 7, 2008

For example, a child read 55 words in one minute but made 4 errors. What I did was...

55 words per minute minus 4 errors = 51 words

So, 51 words became the number of words they read in a minute. That is what I would use for their WCPM for that reading?

Is this right?

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Dec 7, 2008

Well one thing you could do, though not really the best way to figure this statistic is figure the number on a per minute basis. If they read 29 words correct in say 40 seconds, you would need to convert to what that would be if they actually read for a minute. So you need to figure out how many words they read per second and mulitply by 60. In the above example:

40 seconds divided by 29 words read =1.38 words per second

1.38 words per second x 60 seconds=82.8 words per minute.

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Yes if they read for a full minute then that is correct. You need to adjust if they read for less than a minute.

You might give one child a book with 55 words and he read 51 words correct and did it in 45 seconds. That student is actually reading more words correct per minute that the student you just referenced.

9. ### terptoteacherConnoisseur

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Dec 7, 2008

My problem always comes when the child reads the entire passage in less than a minute.
Say the passage has 55 words and they read it in 45 seconds. They are reading more than 55 words per minute. When this happens, I use this equation:

55 X
60 45

or I mulitply 55 times 60 then divide by 45 .
I time them at their instructional level. If they consistantly score above 90 words per minute, and their comprehension is there too, I generally bump them up to the next level.

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Dec 7, 2008

Of course you can change it into a percentage once you figure the actual number.

11. ### terptoteacherConnoisseur

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Dec 7, 2008

I think Lemonhead and I are posting at the same time!!

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Dec 7, 2008

too funny terp!

13. ### MaithalCohort

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Dec 7, 2008

Thanks everyone! It's good to know I'm on the right track!

I'm working on this paper, as I watch my neighbor's kids sled down our hill. Wish I could be doing something fun like that.

14. ### czaczaMultitudinous

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Dec 7, 2008

Errors (E)--Errors are tallied during the reading whenever a child does any of the following:
--Substitutes another word for a word in the text
--Omits a word
--Inserts a word
--Has to be told a word

Self-correction (SC)--Self-correction occurs when a child realizes her or his error and corrects it. When a child makes a self-correction, the previous substitution is not scored as an error.

Error Rate
Error rate is expressed as a ratio and is calculated by using the following formula:

Total words / Total errors = Error rate

Example:
99 / 8 = 12.38, or 12 rounded to nearest whole number
The ratio is expressed as 1:12.
This means that for each error made, the student read approximately 12 words correctly.

Accuracy Rate
Accuracy rate is expressed as a percentage. You can calculate the accuracy rate using the following formula:
(Total words read – Total errors) / Total words read x 100 = Accuracy rate

Example:
(99 – 8) / 99 x 100 = Accuracy rate
91/99 x 100 = Accuracy rate
.919 x 100 = 91.9%, or 92% rounded to the nearest whole number

You can use accuracy rate to determine whether the text read is easy enough for independent reading, appropriate to use without frustration during reading instruction purposes instruction, or too difficult for the reader. The breakdown of these three categories is as follows:

Easy enough for independent reading = 95 – 100%
Instructional level for use in guided reading session = 90 – 94%
Too difficult and will frustrate the reader = 89% and below

Self-Correction Rate
Self-correction rate is expressed as a ratio and is calculated by using the following formula:

(Number of errors + Number of self corrections) / Number of self corrections = Self-correction rate

Example:
(8 + 3) / 3 = Self-correction rate
11 / 3 = 3.666, or 4 rounded to the nearest whole number

The self-correction rate is expressed as 1:4. This means that the student corrects approximately 1 out of every 4 errors.

If a student is self-correcting at a rate of 1:4 or less, this indicates that she/he is self-monitoring her/his reading.