One-minute reading passages are used to measure a student's reading ability and fluency. Fluency in reading is determined by speed, comfort of reading aloud, consistency and accuracy.
Students are given the opportunity for three kinds of practice before beginning an assessment. One-on-one is the first step in preparing the student. In this method, the instructor reads the passage so the student can hear the words, followed by the student reading the passage aloud. If there are any hang-ups or mistakes, the instructor pronounces the word and then allows the student to repeat the word and continue reading.
The second method of practice is a timed reading. A student is given a stopwatch to start at the beginning of reading and stop upon completion. This garners a level of comfort in the student, and times reduce with repeated practicing.
The final step in preparation is a paired reading. One student starts the stopwatch while the other student begins to read aloud. After one minute, the watch is stopped, and the last word read is circled. Words are then counted by the timekeeper and recorded. Students then switch and repeat the same process.
During the actual one-minute assessment, the student reads the same passage aloud while the instructor counts mispronounced or skipped words, along with words that have been switched in order, word substitutions, and any word struggle that lasts for more than three to five seconds. Actions that are not considered incorrect include pronunciations out of the student's control (such as an accent or speech impediment), adding words, catching a mistake and self-correcting as it happens, and repeating a word or line, as long as it is correctly read.