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Simplifying Running Records - Gearing up for a Great Year!

Tips for organizing and simplifying running records.  Grab a free and editable template for administering running records that can be used with any book.
Does administering and keeping track of running records stress you out?  Year after year I've tried different forms and types of organization and have finally found a simple, no prep method that works for me!
Tips for organizing and simplifying running records.  Grab a free and editable template for administering running records that can be used with any book.
Some of you may have programs that come with forms for administering running records with specific texts chosen at each level for students to be assessed with and/or the text written out on the page for you to record miscues on.  If you have these resources and you like using them, that's great!  I haven't always had these available to me and also don't like needing a specific form for a specific book just because it requires planning and copying ahead of time.

"Casual" Running Records

Disclaimer:  This is how I administer and organize my "casual" running records...not the big assessments that you are administering 2-4 times per year and submitting to administrators (like the DRA).

So, what do I consider a "casual" running record?  These are the ones I do throughout the week during reading groups or independent conferences just to ensure my students are in the right group, reading appropriate books, applying recently taught concepts, or to gather next steps for instruction.  They just take few minutes and are more for me rather than an "official" assessment.  They are also great for conferences, students that you need to progress monitor frequently, have RTI meetings for, or are trying to collect additional data on.

I typically do a running record on one student per group that I meet with each day, sometimes more, sometimes less.  If I am not pulling groups, I will just wander around the room with my binder (see below) and do running records as I confer with students and listen to them read independently.  But I do try to asses my lower kids every week and every kid at least every couple of weeks.  I usually do this quickly while other students whisper read a familiar book to themselves in the group.  For higher students, I just ask them to read aloud to me as I listen in since they typically read to themselves.  

Finding Joy while Reading

Do you and your students feel joy while reading?  Chapter 6 of Reading Wellness provides strategies for helping your students connect to texts on a personal level, leading to greater enjoyment and discovery of favorite authors and texts.
Today is the final day of Adventures in Literacy Land's blog study on Reading Wellness: Lessons in Independence and Proficiency by Jane Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris.  Make sure to check out my previous posts (IntroChapter 1Chapter 2, Chapter 3Chapter 4, & Chapter 5) as well as those over on Lit Land. Don't forget that you can access the book online (currently free from Stenhouse Publishers) if you want to check it out before purchasing.
Do you and your students feel joy while reading?  Chapter 6 of Reading Wellness provides strategies for helping your students connect to texts on a personal level, leading to greater enjoyment and discovery of favorite authors and texts.

Importance of Joy

Have ever heard the story of the town of Roseto, PA?  This final chapter of the text has a segment about it and I know I have read about it somewhere else as well.  Basically the town was settled by immigrants from Rome, Italy.  Even though heart disease was fairly common all over the United States, it was basically non-existent in Roseto.  This had nothing to do with diet, since the people ate lots of fatty foods from their homeland.  Studies of the community eventually led to the conclusion that the reason the people from Roseto were living longer and not suffering from heart disease was simply because of their happiness and relationships with one another in the community.  Lesson?  Joy is important. Burkins and Yaris stress that we need to have joy in our lives and then we can have (and express to our students) joy while reading.

Rethinking "Just Right" Texts

What is a "just right" text?  Chapter 5 of Reading Wellness suggests there is a broad range of texts that are appropriate for independent reading.  Learn a fun, hands on analogy you can use to help describe different levels of texts.
Today is all about Chapter 5 for Adventures in Literacy Land's blog study on Reading Wellness: Lessons in Independence and Proficiency by Jane Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris.  Make sure to check out my previous posts (IntroChapter 1Chapter 2, Chapter 3, & Chapter 4) as well as those over on Lit Land. Don't forget that you can access the book online (currently free from Stenhouse Publishers) if you want to check it out before purchasing.
What is a "just right" text?  Chapter 5 of Reading Wellness suggests there is a broad range of texts that are appropriate for independent reading.  Learn a fun, hands on analogy you can use to help describe different levels of texts.

Promoting Independence

Have you ever had to do something difficult and just given up before you even started?  Or maybe you plowed through and just did it anyway?  Odds are that if you worked through the difficult task, you felt quite successful upon completing it.  Our students are the same way.  They often feel that they cannot do things...but feel beyond proud of themselves when they DO complete these seemingly impossible tasks.  One of my daughter's favorite phrases right now is "I did it!"  She's only one and lights up all the time when she says this.  I'm not even sure where it came from.  Hopefully it was from me encouraging her, but who knows.  

In this chapter (really, the entire book), the authors emphasize independence.  Kids cannot always be relying on adults to be present and help them when something difficult arises (in and out of school!).  This brings us to reading.  What criteria have you used to teach your students to select texts?  How often do you find yourself telling students that the books they have chosen are too hard or too easy?  The authors suggest that we need to rethink "just right" texts.  Students need to learn how to approach many levels of texts independently.

Practicing Mindfulness while Reading

Do your students practice mindfulness while reading?  Chapter 4 of Reading Wellness provides a fun, concrete lesson to teach your students how to slow down and think deeply about their reading.  Great for making inferences.
My post on Chapter 4 from Reading Wellness by Jan Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris is up over on Adventures in Literacy Land today.  Head on over there to check it out and come back tomorrow for Chapter 5!

Aligning Print and Meaning while Reading

Do your students attend to both print and meaning while reading? Does your instruction give equal attention to both? Chapter 3 in Reading Wellness provides a fun lesson for helping students learn to do this!
Today the book study over at Adventures in Literacy Land's on Reading Wellness: Lessons in Independence and Proficiency by Jane Miller Burkins and Kim Yaris continues with Chapter 3.   Make sure to check out my previous posts (IntroChapter 1, & Chapter 2) as well as those over on Lit Land. Don't forget that you can access the book online (currently free from Stenhouse Publishers) if you want to check it out before purchasing.
Do your students attend to both print and meaning while reading? Does your instruction give equal attention to both? Chapter 3 in Reading Wellness provides a fun lesson for helping students learn to do this!

Print or Meaning?

Chances are that if you are a first grade teacher, you spend a lot of time getting your younger readers to attend to the text itself while reading, right?  Much instructional time is spent learning sight words and phonics skills.  If you are a fifth grade teacher, the opposite is probably true.  You probably rarely listen to your students read aloud anymore and you focus most of your instruction on comprehension strategies.

Which of these is correct?  Is there just a switch one day?  When should it occur?  Burkins and Yaris spend this chapter explaining the importantance of students understanding they need to attend to BOTH the print AND the meaning of the text...ALWAYS!  The authors use the analogy of a puzzle and state that both the pieces and the picture are equally important (love this!). 

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