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Literacy Tip of the Week: Week of January 6th

posted Jan 6, 2019, 5:48 AM by Courtney Richardson
Using Running Records to Make Instructional Decisions
Many teachers are required to take formal running records to assess each student’s reading level. Spending a few minutes listening to a child read in a one-on-one-setting is one of the most powerful assessment tools you have available to you as a teacher of young readers. Running records are often scored by computing the student’s accuracy level. However, they also tell you if the student monitors, rereads, and self-corrects. By looking for trends in the student’s errors, you can learn what strategic actions the student uses to problem-solve unfamiliar words. Since the student reads aloud, you will be able to assess fluency, intonation, and expression. 
Many teachers take a running record to determine if the student is ready to tackle a text at a higher level. If you use an unfamiliar text to make acceleration decisions, keep in mind that the student will be reading that higher text level with teacher support. During guided reading the teacher provides a book introduction that pre-teaches a few unfamiliar words. Additionally, the teacher confers with individual students and prompts for strategic activity. A student who reads an unfamiliar text with 90-94% accuracy and some comprehension is certainly ready to read that text level and maybe one text higher during guided reading. Go beyond the accuracy level and ask yourself, “What do I know about this reader and how will I use that knowledge to guide my instructional next steps?” Running records give much more information that a text level. If you analyze the student’s reading errors and behaviors, the running record can tell you what to teach next during guided reading.