how to complete and analyze a reading fluency graph. click here for instructions and a free printable, learn with emily dot com

How to Complete and Analyze a Reading Fluency Graph

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Running records can be used to evaluate a reading program’s effectiveness over time. In order to evaluate if the current program is sufficient, you will need to complete and analyze a reading fluency graph.

How to graph your own results:

1) Download and print this free document: FluencyDataSheetFree
2) Determine the expected fluency rate for your child based on the chart, and draw it in on the graph.

Reading fluency tracking sheet with a projection line drawn in at 100 percent accuracy

5) Conduct a running record and write the fluency results on the table. Then transfer that information onto the graph.

Reading Fluency tracking sheet with a data point entered

6) Continue to enter data from running record fluency results. After several points have been entered, draw a projection line.

reading fluency tracking sheet with sample data entered

7) Analyze the graph.
  • If the projection line will cross the expected fluency rate line, all is well. No changes are needed.
  • If the projection line will not cross the expected fluency line by the end of the school year, the current reading program is not sufficient. Changes will need to be made.

Case studies demonstrating how to analyze a reading fluency graph.

Case Study 1:

John is in second grade. His instructor conducted monthly running records. Here is his data and graphed results:

John's chart of reading fluency

A graph of John's Reading Fluency








The green line of the graph represents the target fluency rate of 100 words per minute for a second grader. This is where we wanted John to end up at the end of the school year. The blue points and line are John’s fluency results during his monthly assessments. The red line is a projection line showing where we would expect John’s reading fluency to go with his current progress (projection line was drawn after 4 months of data collection). Although John’s progress tapered off from the projection line later in the school year, he still met the expected fluency rate. His reading program was sufficient to make expected progress. No changes are needed.

Case Study 2:

Jack is also in second grade. Let’s take a look at his progress on his reading fluency graph.

Table of Jack's reading fluency
Graph of Jack's reading fluency








Jack has spent 6 months in his current reading program. He is making progress in fluency; however, his red projection line will not cross the green line by the end of the school year. Changes are in order.

Since Jack is making progress, his current reading program is helping. Observations from the running record may provide additional insight.

  1. What are the error patterns? Does he need specialized instruction on decoding or word recognition? He may need to spend more time per day on reading activities.
  2. If his error rates are within the expected range and he is reading slowly, he will need more time for reading practice. He will also need to participate in activities specifically designed for building reading fluency.


In summary, one way to evaluate the effectiveness of a current reading program is to conduct regular assessments. A running record assessment will provide information about reading fluency and word identification skills. The fluency data can be graphed and analyzed to determine if the child is making sufficient progress.


Resources for more information about teaching reading:

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