The Next Step in Guided Reading {Book Study} - Week 2

Time for chapter two in The Next Steps in Guided Reading book study.  This week's host is Jennifer from Rowdy in First Grade.  Make sure to visit her blog for a freebie.
Chapter two is all about assessment...which assessments and how to use them in order to prepare for guided reading.

The five questions in green are the ones that we will be using each week to guide our thoughts.  

1.  What part of the reading caught your attention?  Maybe it's something you never thought about.  Maybe it's something that you've been trying to get a grip on.  Maybe it's something that you've never heard quite they way it was put.
Each year we administer the DRA {Developmental Reading Assessment} during the first weeks of school.  If you've never used the DRA, basically it is a kit of leveled books that are used to determine a students independent or instructional reading level.  You complete a running record using the text, time students to assess fluency, and then administer the comprehension portion.  When finished, you have a reading level for each student.

This chapter reminded me that assessments are much more than the final result.  Sure, the DRA or a running record may give you a number...but there is a lot more that should be involved in your decisions of how to group students as well as what the focus of instruction should be.  For example:  Is the student a fluent reader but lacking comprehension?  This is a completely different student than one who comprehends fine, but cannot use cues to read accurately.  An assessment might assign these two students at the same reading level, but their instruction should be totally different.

2.  How do you already incorporate this into your guided reading routine?  There's probably at least some part of the chapter that you're already doing!  Tell us about it!
Richardson mentioned several assessments for primary students:
Letter ID (K-1)
Sight Words (K-2)
Sentence Dictation (K-1)
Writing Sample (K-2)
Running Record with Retell (K-2)
(For fluent readers above these grade levels, she recommends doing a silent reading of a leveled passage, along with an oral retell/comprehension questions as well as a word study inventory.)

I already administer running records with the comprehension portion through the DRA at the start of each year.  I also assess student knowledge of the Dolch sight words and take a writing sample.  In addition, I do a word study inventory and a quick phonics screen to assess decoding abilities.

3.  What is something new you want to try next school year?  How do you want to make your guided reading time better or what new things do you want to try?
I really believe that I already administer all of the assessments that I need...what I need to improve on is actually USING the information from them correctly as well as continuing to monitor student progress, rather than giving the assessments, grouping students, and then placing the assessments in a binder somewhere never to be seen again.  

I do continuously assess sight words throughout the year, since it is used as part of our grading process.  We also give a writing prompt once each six weeks to monitor progress in that sense.  While we give the DRA three times per year, I really need to do a better job at more frequently administering running records (in an informal sense) to monitor student growth.  I also have not been good at revisiting the quick phonics screen and word study inventory in order to check progress.  I should redo these assessments at least a couple more times per year at a minimum.

4.  What are some resources that you ALREADY HAVE that you can use to teach what you read about in this chapter/section?
Below is the Quick Phonics Screener that I like to use.  (Click on it to download and find the student portion, directions, etc.)  It's great because it begins with letter/sound knowledge and goes all the way up to multisyllabic words.  It works perfectly for second grade because the students are usually all over the place.  Once you reach a point where a student struggles, you stop because you have pinpointed an instructional need, so it doesn't really take that long.
Last year I made this running record form to help make administering them a bit simpler for me.  It worked well, but the part I struggle with is the comprehension because I just don't always have time for a full retell so it's hard for me to pinpoint what to focus on there sometimes.  But, the form makes the accuracy part simple because there are 100 boxes...no need to prepare in advance and count out 100 words.  You can click on the image to download.
There are great Dolch word lists available on the page below if you are in need of the lists to use for assessment.
And here is a link to a Words Their Way spelling inventory!

5.  What are some NEW resources that you want to get or try to use to teach what you read about in this chapter/section?
I look forward to reading further sections in the text that were alluded to, especially the sections about how to assess student comprehension beyond having students retell.  Once students in second grade become fluent readers, it is important to ensure that they are able to engage in a higher level of understanding.  The end of chapter two shared a comprehension interview adapted from Mosaic of Thought, which looks like a helpful tool.  Basically it lists reading strategies and then sample questions for each as well as a student rating scale.

Feel free to join in and link up!


1 comment

  1. One of my goals for this year is to better use the information I gather from my assessments too. I use many of the same ones that you do, but I love the Quick Phonics Screener that you use. I will definitely be using that this year along with my other assessments. Thanks so much for sharing!

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