There are many great explanations of the
history of PT on the web, but here’s a quick way to describe it: A
special graphic tool, called The Standard Celeration Chart™ is used
to record student learning each day. You cannot do Precision
Teaching without this chart!
The SCC is semi-logarithmic—it is based
on multiplication, not on addition. It can be off-putting to most
people, but the use of this graph allows the student and teacher to
see learning curves as straight lines—and rapidly assess progress.
In addition the SCC is set up to show not
just ‘percent correct’ but the number per minute of whatever is
being learned. That is what makes it ‘Standard’. You can look at any
kind of learning with the Chart.
PT people learned over 20 years ago that
reading fluency is critical for comprehension and retention—because
the chart showed clearly what happened if a student did not reach
high levels of performance.
Our reading standards are considerably
higher than those of most other educational programs—because it
works better that way!
For more information about Precision
Teaching, see our About Us
page and/or Carl Binder’s article,
Precision Teaching: Measuring and
Attaining Exemplary Academic Achievement.
Reading has been taught over the past 20
years or so as though it was a natural process—like breathing or
speech; i.e., give a student sufficiently engaging materials and he
or she will become a reader.
The truth is that reading is as
natural as learning to play the flute. There are many
components, and they all must be learned to fluent, coordinated
performance levels to make reading possible. We would not expect a
beginning flautist to play a composition by Mozart, no matter how
engaging the composition might be. There are scales to be learned,
finger positions to be practiced, breath to be controlled, musical
notes to be learned—and all must become effortless.
If a student has poor breath control the
music instructor does not label him or her as having a
deficit. The teacher prescribes
targeted practice to increase the skill in that component. The
components of reading instruction are quite clear from research done
most recently by the National Reading Panel.
The National Reading Panel reached the
conclusion that there are four critical components to reading
instruction: Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency and
At The Fluency Factory we use
instructional technology that builds each of these components to
fluent performance levels. This allows the student to master each
component and put them together to fluently read new and
increasingly complex material.
For a description of the critical
ingredients of reading, have a look at the information for parents
in the National Institute for Literacy article
Put Reading First
(or the more readable