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by Shari Frost, Roberta Buhle and Camille Blachowicz
Table of Contents
Elementary Middle School/High School ___
Teachers have always wanted a way to document how a student reads, and although it is possible to record a child's reading on audiotape or videotape, that solution is unreasonable considering how many students are in an average classroom. Another method is to make a written representation of the child's reading, commonly known as a running record.
Originally called oral reading records, running records can help teachers identify the current reading level of their students. To take a running record, the teacher sits next to a student, listens to the student read, and quickly and efficiently records the student's reading fluency using a series of checks, miscued words, and other symbols. (For an in-depth review of running records, see the references for further learning below.) Running records use a finely tuned set of books leveled from A through Z according to difficulty. (Books leveled A through I are generally thought to be at 1st grade reading level, J through M are 2nd grade level, N through P are 3rd grade level, and so forth.)
Teachers, alone or in partnership with a literacy coach, can study the written running records to better understand what students know, how they use that knowledge, and what they still need to learn. Running records can also provide teachers with data for grouping students by reading level and determining the difficulty of text appropriate for the reading groups. Finally, they can serve as a way to record individual students' changes and progress over time.
Running records and other documents, such as Reading Level Monitoring Forms (see “Appropriately Grouping Students” on page 81) and records of reading groups, can provide pivotal information that can guide teachers' decisions—as long they are organized in a logical way. One popular method is an assessment notebook, a three-ring binder with a section for each child and a section for the class as a whole. An assessment notebook can help teachers track students' progress over time, provide rich information to share at a parent-teacher conference, and determine whether students are making adequate progress.
There are many different types of running record forms, and the following Informal Running Record Form is only one example of a system that teachers can use to check for fluency. Regardless of the form you adopt, consistency across the school is important because people other than the teacher may need to look at the form to ascertain a student's fluency. A literacy coach might consider devoting time at a grade-level meeting to taking running records.
Clay, M. (2007). An observation of early literacy achievement. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. S. (2005). The Fountas & Pinnell leveled book list, K–8 (2006–2008 ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
(RW - Errors/RW) 100 = Percent Accuracy
REFLECTION, EVALUATION, AND PLANNING
Taking a Running Record Tool
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