April 19, 2006

Reading Mastery III Sample Lesson (Part 2)

In Part 2 we'll analyze the sample lesson from Reading Mastery III I wrote about in Part 1 of this post.

Let's now take a detailed look Lesson 68 (pdf) from Reading Mastery III.

Word Practice

Lesson 68, like all lessons in RMIII starts out with word-attack skills practice (exercises 1 and 2). In exercise 1, the students learn five new words in column one. These words will show up in the story in this lesson and/or subsequent lessons. Basically, this is prelearning of the hard words that the student will soon be reading in stories and other exercises.

In exercise 2, the students review six additional columns of hard words. Most of the words in these columns have already been reviewed in previous lessons, so they are familiar to the student. This is distributed practice. Some of these words will be practiced again in subsequent lessons.


Five vocabulary words and their definitions are taught. Students know that these words will be used in upcoming stories and exercises and their meaning will have to be known in order to answer reading comprehension and exercise questions. For example the words foul, echo, and outcome are used in the story presented in this lesson and the students must know the definitions of these words to answer the reading comprehension questions presented.

Group Reading

Next comes the first group reading portion-- exercise 5. In this exercise individual students are called upon to read a few sentences from a a brief article on Facts about Coconuts which teaches various facts about the eponymous coconut. Again, these facts must be retained by the students since they will be used in the upcoming story, independent workbook exercises, and repeated in many subsequent lessons. As the students read the teacher calls on individual students to answer the reading comprehension questions listed.

In previous lessons the following selections were taught:

  1. Facts about Ocean Liners (Lesson 62)
  2. Lifeboats (Lesson 63)
  3. Facts about Ocean Water (Lesson 65)
  4. Facts about Islands (Lesson 66)
  5. Facts about palm trees (Lesson 67)
As you'll see from the upcoming story and independent work exercises, the facts taught in these articles will be used by the students and must be known by them

Reading: Decoding

In exercise six, the students read aloud the story
Linda and Kathy Find Some Food. The purpose of this exercise is two-fold: the students are to demonstrate accurate decoding and answer reading comprehension questions.

For the decoding portion, students are selected to read 2-3 sentences aloud until they reach the
* 2 Errors * signal. If the students haven't made more than two decoding errors by this point, they continue reading the rest of the story. If they've exceeded the two error threshold, they read the story again from the beginning until they can. This stresses to the students that their reading is expected to be careful and accurate. By the end of the story, the students must finish with less than 12 errors. If the error limit is exceeded the story is re-read.

Once the story has been read successfully within the decoding error limit, the teacher re-reads the story and asks the reading comprehension questions A-U presented. The questions relate to inferences drawn from the story and knowledge of taught vocabulary words and fact articles, among other things.

These first six lessons should take about 35 minutes to complete.

Independent Workbook Work

After the teacher directed exercises 1-6, the students begin independent workbook items in exercise 7.

Items 1-4 review facts from the coconut article presented in exercise 5.

Items 5-9 review items learned in the story read in exercise 6.

Items 10-17 review items learned in previous lessons.

  • Item 10 reviews facts about palm trees taught in lesson 67.
  • Item 11 reviews estimating weights taught and reviewed in lessons 39-66.
  • Item 12 reviews the word families for the words walk and jump taught in previous lessons.
  • Item 13 reviews lifeboat fats taught in lesson 63.
  • Item 14 reviews facts about palm trees taught in lesson 67.
  • Item 15 reviews globe and direction facts developed in lessons 20-64.
  • item 16 reviews spider facts taught in lesson 62.
  • item 17 reviews facts about warm-blooded animals taught in lesson 57 and will be review again in lesson 69.
Clearly there is a lot of distributed practice taking place in the independent exercises. Students are permitted to review today's stories for items 1-9, but are not permitted to review previous lessons for the answers to review items 1-17. They are expected to have mastered these.

The independent work exercise should take students 20-30 minutes to complete.


In exercise 8, the teacher reviews the workbook exercises and the students correct their errors. If any student exceeds the error limit, additional time is scheduled later that day to firm the student up on the items he missed.

The workcheck should take 8-10 minutes to complete.

The entire lesson should take about an hour and fifteen minutes to complete.

There are 140 lessons in RMIII. Every five lessons the students are tested on their decoding accuracy and fluency. Students are required to read a passage from the previous lesson in under a predetermined time limit with less than a predetermined number of errors.

That's it. The entire program in a nutshell.

After the lessons are completed, the teacher can teach a series of lessons based on two novels the students read using a similar but less structured format. Or, the class can proceed right into RMIV.

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