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Literacy Tip of the Week: Week of April 22nd

posted Apr 22, 2018, 11:20 AM by Courtney Richardson   [ updated Apr 29, 2018, 10:59 AM ]
Does assessment make sense?

If assessments do not impact instruction, they are of little value (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996). The first step in teaching guided reading is to get to know your readers. Most teachers use some form of Dr. Marie Clay’s running record to assess their students. Some districts use formal running records three times a year as a summative assessment, but the running record is even more valuable as a formative and diagnostic tool. If the running record contains some errors, it can provide a snapshot of the reader’s strategic processing in addition to an approximate instructional text level. I find running records to be extremely useful, even with fluent readers. By looking for a pattern of errors, I might notice the student ignores inflectional endings, struggles to decode multisyllabic words, or ignores punctuation. Sometimes a slight hesitation on a word signals the student might not know what the word means. But the first thing I analyze is whether the student is monitoring for understanding. A reader who is satisfied to skip or mumble through an unknown word is unaware of the importance of constructing meaning. The next time you sit with your students and listen to them read, ask yourself. Does this student monitor when meaning breaks down? If the answer is no, target monitoring as your next instructional focus. When you confer with the student ask, Were you right? Does that make sense? Did you understand what you just read? Then teach him or her a variety of strategic actions such as rereading, breaking words apart, and asking questions that get to the heart of comprehension. Assessment does make sense when we use it to make instructional decisions.

Written by: Jan Richardson