Print out 2 copies of the appropriate reading passage, one for the student and one for the parent.
Find a quiet spot for reading. The student should be encouraged to follow the text with their finger, pencil eraser, or bookmark as they read.
The student should be prompted to begin reading as soon as they are ready. However, to gain the most accurate results, they should not be allowed to practice reading the passage beforehand, either silently or aloud. As the student reads, the parent will follow along on their copy of the passage and mark errors as they occur.
It is important the student read printed out copies and not from the computer. This is not a test of computer use or online education . The patterns of reading will differ if being read on paper and a computer.
After the passage is read, the parent should go back and count up the number of errors. For the passages below, we have already done the calculations for how many errors qualify the passage as Independent, Instructional, or Frustration level. Please refer back to the Red Flag Reading Screening information page to review the discussion of these levels.
You may desire to use the “Red Flag” procedure on a reading passage of your own choosing, particularly if you want to see how accurately your child is decoding a text being used specifically in his/her classroom. In this case, follow the same steps to arrive at the number of errors, but then do your own calculations reaching a percent accuracy rate based on the number of words missed out of the total number of words in the passage. Here is the formula:
For example, if a student made 3 errors on a 76 word passage, the percent accuracy would be calculated as follows:
Once the student’s accuracy is calculated as a percent, it can be determined if the given passage was at the student’s Independent, Instructional, or Frustration Level. Please refer back to the Red Flag Reading Screening information page to review the discussion of these levels.
What Counts As An Error?
A reading error can be broadly defined as anything that interrupts fluent reading. There is a wide variety of mistakes that readers can make, and opinions vary as to what should count as an official error. For the purposes of this screening, the following behaviors should be counted as errors.
Misreading of a word (incorrect pronunciation of any sound within the word, or dropping/adding word parts or endings)
Skipped words (each word skipped counts as one error)
Word substitutions (ex. “the” instead of “that”, “house” instead of “home”, or “dad” instead of “father”) Every word substitution should be counted, even if the original word has the same meaning as the substituted word!
Words reversals or words read out of order (each word is counted as a separate error)
Any pause longer than 3 seconds (When this happens, simply tell the student, “That word is _____” , mark it down as an error, and instruct them to keep reading.)
Added words (each word added counts as an error)
Self-corrections (the student initially says the word incorrectly, but then corrects themselves)
Repeating a word or phrase, even if read correctly. Each word repeated is counted as an error. This is often used as a coping strategy for students who are “buying themselves time” while they try to figure out the next word. When administering a timed reading test, this is generally not counted as an error because this disruption will be accounted for in the time criterion of the test. Since this is not a timed test, parents will want to make note of how often these types of repetitions occur because it does represent a disruption to fluent reading.
*Do not count as an error any mispronunciation due to accent, dialect, or speech impediment.
Reading Passages Grade 1 * Grade 2 * Grade 3 * Grade 4 Grade 5 * Grade 6 * Grade 7 * Grade 8
Grade 1, Book 4 “McGraw Hill Reading Textbook Page 133”
“The Fireplace” 76 total words/ 0-3 errors = Independent, 4-7 errors= Instructional, 8+ errors= Frustration
The man came in from outside. He shook the snow off his boots. He had a bundle of wood in his arms. He put some wood on the fire. Then, he put the fire screen in front. The fire in the fireplace was warm. It warmed the man’s toes. The man sat down in his chair. He rocked forward and backward. His cat came and sat on his lap. Then, they took a little nap together.
Grade 1, Book 5 ” McGraw Hill Reading Textbook” Page 298 ” Going By Land”
(99 words)/ 0-4 errors= Independent, 5-9 errors= Instructional, 10+ errors= Frustration
Long before we had cars, people had to carry things. They used horses to help them. Today, you can get to places by car, bus or train. There is a kind of train that goes underground. It is called a subway. The subway is a fast way to go places. You may decide to go on the subway if you are in a rush. Trucks are also used to move things by land. There are lots of trucks on the roads. There are small pickup trucks and big trucks with many wheels. How many trucks have you seen today?
Grade 2, Book 1 ” McGraw Hill Reading Textbook” Page 374 (114 words) 0-5 errors= Independent, 6-11 errors= Instructional, 12+ errors= Frustration
They were the first five states to join the United States. So they were the first of the 50 states to be honored with new quarters. You’ll get to see the last five state quarters in 2008. Kids love the idea. “It’s nice to have a change,” says Shannon Vinson, from Baltimore, Maryland. “I’ll collect all 50 for show-and-tell.” That’s just what the U.S. government wants. Quarters are made for just a few cents. But they are worth 25 cents when you use them. If people keep the coins instead of spending them, the government will get to keep the difference. It could add up to more than $5 billion. Not exactly small change!
3rd Grade, TAKS Test “Page 19 ” Artist at Work! By Jonathan Adams, Staff Writer (215 words) 0-10 errors= Independent, 11-21 errors= Instructional, 22+ errors= Frustration
The people at the zoo wanted Ruby to feel at home, so they built a large pen for her to stay in. It had lots of trees and green plants. They gave her logs and toys to play with. They even brought in other elephants so that the animals could play together. Ruby would not play with them and just stayed alone.
One day Ruby’s keeper saw her doing something unusual. The elephant held a stick in her trunk, moving it here and there in the dirt. Then she stepped back and looked at the lines she had made on the ground. Ruby did this several times. This gave her keeper an idea.
The keeper gave Ruby a paintbrush. Ruby held it in her trunk. She scratched it around in the dirt. Then the keeper brought out some cardboard. Before long Ruby was sweeping the paintbrush across the cardboard. Finally the keeper gave Ruby some paints, but the jars were too small. It was hard for Ruby to dip the paintbrush into them, so the keeper did this for her. Holding the brush in her trunk, Ruby then moved it across the cardboard. Some of the paint splashed up on her trunk. But some of it went on the cardboard. Ruby had painted her first picture.
4th Grade, TAKS Test “Page 59” My Visit With Dinosaur Sue (214 words) 0-10 errors= Independent, 11-21 errors= Instructional, 22+ errors= Frustration
Today our class visited the Field Museum of Natural History. We went to see the new dinosaur exhibit. At first I wasn?t interested in seeing an old pile of bones. Why would anyone want to learn about something that?s not around anymore?
First we walked into a big room. I looked up, and up and up. I was staring at the bones of a giant beast! It almost filled the room. Two huge, dark holes in its bony head stared back at me. It was Dinosaur Sue, the museum’s Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.
Our guide told us all about Sue. He said that when she was living, Sue weighed more than 150 fourth graders put together! He told us to look at her teeth. She had 60 of them! They were long and sharp. One tooth looked as long as my school ruler. The guide said the T. Rex’s teeth showed that she was a meat eater. I’m glad I wasn’t around when the dinosaurs were alive. I might have been lunch!
As I looked at it, I imagined what the dinosaur had looked like when it was alive. No one knows what colors dinosaurs were, but I pictured it as brownish-gray. I could see it crashing through the grass and trees searching for food.
5th Grade, TAKS Test “Page 32” Hero’s Corner (208 words) 0-10 errors= Independent, 11-20 errors= Instructional, 21+ errors= Frustration
This month our spotlight shines on Dr. Walter Turnbull. He was born in Mississippi in 1944. Dr. Turnbull grew up in a time when there were few opportunities for African Americans. However, Turnbull refused to let this stop him from making the most of his singing talent. He believed that anyone with the desire to succeed could, and he proved it. Turnbull overcame many difficulties to reach his goal. He finished college and went on to earn his master’s degree in music. Eventually, he earned a doctorate, the highest college degree a person can receive.
Instead of pursuing his dream to become an opera singer, Dr. Turnbull chose to seek another dream. He decided to share his talent and time with young people. In 1968 he started a boys’ choir in Harlem. That choir led to the founding of a special school called the Choir Academy of Harlem. The school now has more than 500 students. Instruction centers on music but also includes college preparation classes in English, math, and science. Almost all the academy’s students go on to college. The Boys Choir of Harlem has become famous worldwide for its wonderful performances. There is now a Girls Choir of Harlem that is working toward a similar goal.
6th Grade, TAKS Test ” Page 30″ President Honors “Grandmother of the Glades” (211 words) 0-10 errors= Independent, 11-21 errors= Instructional, 22+ errors= Frustration
For more than 70 years, Marjory Stoneman Douglas has fought to preserve and protect Florida’s Everglades. Through her writings and speeches, she has described the importance of this wetland area and its plants and animals. On November 30 Douglas was honored for her long and tireless efforts. During a ceremony at the White House, President Bill Clinton awarded her the Medal of Freedom.
The Medal of Freedom is the highest presidential honor that a nonmilitary person can receive. During the presentation the tiny woman rose slowly from her wheelchair. To many she might not have looked like a determined activist, yet even at age 103 Douglas is still strong and outspoken.
Douglas was born in April 7, 1890. She grew up mainly in Massachusetts. Unlike most women of her generation, she attended college. After her graduation her father convinced her to visit Miami, Florida. Douglas moved there in 1915 and became a reporter for the Herald, a newspaper that her father had founded. Though few women worked in journalism, Douglas found the career that she was meant to pursue.
Douglas soon fell in love with the Everglades. The Everglades that Douglas loved so dearly was then a large area of wetlands stretching from Lake Okeechobee to the southern tip of Florida.
7th Grade, TAKS Test Page 65 The Challenger (209 words) 0-10 errors= Independent, 11-20 errors= Instructional, 21+ errors= Frustration
Angela checked her skates and peered out at the ice. Its smooth, mirror-like surface reflected the flood of lights inside the auditorium. “Soon it’ll all be over,” she thought. The judges would tabulate the scores, and the skater with the most points would be the city figure-skating champion. She glanced at Sandra Collins standing confidently next to the ice. Sandra had been champion for the last two years. “It’ll probably be three after today,” Angela thought glumly.
“Don’t worry about Sandra,” Coach Lewis said, noticing Angela’s concerned expression. “Show the judges what you can do.”
Angela nodded as the announcer called her name. She skated out on shaky legs, going through her routine one last time in her mind. One part in particular worried her: the double axel, a jump in which she spun two and a half times and landed backwards. It had taken her months to learn, and she still sometimes missed it.
“I probably can’t even do a single jump right now,” she thought as the lights dimmed and the crowd grew silent. Angela’s eyes met Sandra’s icy blue stare, and a chill crept up Angela’s spine. She realized that Sandra wasn’t nervous at all. “She’s probably never missed a jump in her life,” Angela thought.
8th Grade, TAKS Test Page 47 Firefighters from the Sky (213 words) 0-10 errors= Independent, 11-21 errors= Instructional, 22+ errors= Frustration
It is a hot, dry June day deep within the Lincoln National Forest. A fire spotter looks through a telescope at a plume of smoke rising into the summer sky. After watching the smoke for a few seconds, he feels certain that it is not from a campfire. Sitting in a watchtower more than 90 feet above the ground, the spotter gets on the radio. “Watch headquarters, this is Lookout Tower 7. I’ve got visual on a line of smoke near the east ridge. It looks too heavy to be a campfire. Over.”
A nervous ranger 20 miles away answers the call. “Acknowledged, Tower 7. What are the coordinates? Over.”
The spotter in Tower 7 has already taken a reading with a special compass called an azimuth indicator to determine the exact direction of the smoke. Back at headquarters, the ranger in charge radios a spotter plane to stand by. Calls come in quickly as lookout towers throughout the area report the smoke. By using compass readings from at least two of these towers, the rangers can plot the precise location of the fire, in this case, high up a mountainside, deep within the forest. Checking a map, the ranger notes that the fire is miles away from the closest trail or road.