Like many learned skills, reading is a multifaceted process that develops through practice. Consider that the average middle school student reads an estimated 1 to 10 million words per year, while the struggling student may only read 100,000 (Nagy & Anderson, 1984). Reducing this barrier involves making text more accessible while providing opportunities to practice with material that is engaging and age-appropriate.
BrightFish Reading is a structured, research-based program for grades 2-10 that enables struggling learners to read engaging, on-level text while motivating them to practice and improve. The instructional methodology is described in the BrightFish Reading Research Foundations (PDF).
Below are the key components of the BrightFish Reading scaffolded instructional design:
In order to comprehend text, readers need sufficient working memory available to draw out the meaning from the words they read. In their information-processing model of automaticity, LeBerge and Samuels (1974) explained that mastering reading sub-skills (such as rapid word recognition) to the point of automaticity allows readers to use their cognitive capacity to attend to the meaning of what is being read. Slow, effortful word recognition inhibits reading comprehension because it consumes the working memory needed for understanding the content of the text (Begeney, 2013).
BrightFish Reading develops automaticity in text processing by breaking down each passage to word level. Students work on visual match and sound match activities, moving from one and two-letter words up to the most difficult words in the passage. For each response, the BrightFish system measures accuracy and speed. Students must achieve the BrightFish mastery criteria to demonstrate automatic recognition of words at each level of difficulty.
Unique to BrightFish Reading is phrase fluency, where students demonstrate rapid and accurate processing of short phrases from the passage.
When students complete the fluency series of activities, they have mastered every word in the passage they are about to read.