The Elegance of Frequency: Seeing Results for Sounds and Sound Combinations


As you teach your child the 63 various sounds and sound combinations in the Teach Your Children to Read Well program, you will want to know the rate and accuracy of your child’s learning.

We will use fluency checks as a measure of his or her performance and of your teaching.

  • After each lesson, beginning in Lesson 6, the student will perform a 30” fluency check to determine how well they have learned the sounds and sound combinations taught In the first five lessons.
  • The fluency check involves only those sounds taught to this point in the program.
  • At the end of each 5-lesson block, a new fluency check will be available.
  • Each new fluency check will summarize all of the sounds taught to that point in the program.
  • All fluency check for sounds last for 30 seconds.
  • The student is expected to correctly identify 25-30 sounds and/or sound combinations per minute with no more than 2 errors.
  • With sounds and sound combination fluency checks, students are discouraged from generating scores which are above 1 per second because it impacts their blending skills negatively.
  • The student’s scores, (i.e. number correct and number of errors), is recorded after each session.
  • When the student can produce 25-30 sounds and sound combinations per minute, with no more than two errors, the student has become fluent with that material and is ready to move on.

Administering the Sounds/Sounds Combination Fluency Check

  • Have available 2 copies of the Sound Fluency Check
  • Give one to the student and have one for the tutor on which to record errors.
  • Tell the student that they will read the sounds to you for 30 seconds.
  • Have the student touch the first sound and decide whether to go down the column or across the rows.
  • Say “Please Begin” to start the timing and “Thank You” at the end of 30”.
  • Count and record the score.
  • Check the score against all earlier scores and against the standard.

The following is the first sound fluency check:

Recording the Sound Fluency Check Scores of a Student

The Sound Fluency Chart has a total of 10 columns, two for each of five different fluency checks over 30 lessons. After each lesson, the teacher records the number of sounds and sound combinations the student said correctly in 30 seconds and the number of errors that the student made during the timing. The first two columns are for recording the Sounds Said Correctly and the Learning Opportunities (Errors) of the first fluency check for Lessons 1 to 5. The second two columns are for the data from the sound fluency checks for lessons 6-10 and so on.

There are 10 boxes labeled 1 -10 that go from top to bottom in each column so that the student can have 10 days in which to reach the standard of 25 to 30 sounds and sound combinations in 30 seconds.

Having listened to the student say the sounds and sound combinations, the instructor records the student’s best set of score in the appropriate boxes. The student may have more than on attempt to say the sounds and sound combinations.

Comparing Scores and Making Decisions

The scores for corrects should increase until they reach 25-30 in 30 seconds, while the error scores should decrease to 2 per 30 seconds as the fluency checks continue after each lesson.

Correction Strategies

If that does not happen, you need to review the errors the student is making for a minute or two before each fluency check. You could also limit the fluency check to one column of sounds until the student can produce 25-30 per minute with no more than 2 errors. Then you could add the second column and do the same exercise with the second column. Then you could combine the first two columns and bring these sounds to fluent levels. Repeat for the remaining columns.


You can use this strategy with any phonics-based reading program if you are willing to create the sound fluency checks, the word fluency checks and the story reading fluency checks. We have already compiled it all into 4 sets of programs for K-8 to save you the many hours of work required. Check the Free Reading Assessment Test to place your student in the appropriate program and to have access to the free training and the first 10 lessons.


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