Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.-Harry S. Truman
Powerful teaching happens when teachers take information gained from observations and assessments of children’s literacy development into consideration when planning instruction. Since observations can be subjective, it is important to include data from more formal observations as well.
We use running records as assessment tools to assess students literacy progress. A running record is a tool for coding, scoring and analyzing a child’s precise reading behaviors. (Fountas and Pinnell). Up until recently, I was using forms from the Fountas and Pinnell kit for running records. While a great way to take a running record, it requires a lot of copies and paper.
I have found an app called Record of Reading. It is a great app…not just because it was created by my alma mater, Clemson University…but because it is an electronic means of assessing reading behaviors. You don’t need a calculator as it has embedded formulas for accuracy and self corrections. The app even records the child reading while the teacher simultaneously takes the record. When replaying the record, the oral reading and the record are synced. The record can be saved or emailed. There is also a user manual if needed. You are able to type or write directly in the app and it doesn’t have to be opened in a PDF annotator. Best of all, it is FREE!.
Running records inform our instruction through capturing progress, assessing text difficulty, matching texts appropriately to students, and seeing and hearing reading behaviors directly. They also help us group students with similar instructional needs as well as provide individualized instruction where needed. They give explicit feedback to the student and to parents if needed.
Watching my students grow as readers is rewarding. I love watching them go from non-readers to readers over the course of the school year. Creating successful readers requires knowing your students…knowing their strengths and where they struggle. It also requires that we know our students’ interests so that we can have texts available to stimulate reading. By keeping track of our students’ reading behaviors through running records, we can inform our instruction to best meet their needs.
Today, we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!