Use Running Records to Help Students Set Their Own Reading Goals!
Use your running records to help students set their own goals that you can use in your 1-1 conferences or small group instruction!
I’m not only an Instructional Coach, but I’m also a reading specialist for grades K-8 at a private school in Georgia. Let me walk you through step-by-step how I did my goal setting conferences with my 1st-8th grade students.
At the beginning of the year, we have so many assessments going on… running records, writing assessments, beginning of the year math assessments, and standardized computer tests, such as MAP or STAR. Now the question is, what do we do with this evidence of learning?
This is what I did with my students last week. I did some goal setting small groups around their running records.
Step 1: I taught them what the 3 main parts of reading (decoding, fluency, and comprehension) were and what they meant. I said:
“Decoding is the ability to read words correctly and when we don’t, we go back and use strategies we know to try and fix up these words.”
“Fluency is the rate at which you read.... how fast or slow you read. If you read smoothly or choppy. Do you use expression when you read. Are you paying attention to the mood or punctuation when you read.”
“Comprehension is the understanding of what you are reading. Are you thinking about what is happening in the text? Are you able to summarize the important events that are happening? Are you able to keep track of the clues or information that the author leaves you along the way to form your own ideas and opinions? Are you able to analyze and critique how the author has written the text?”
Step 2: Once I taught my students what fluency, decoding, and comprehension were; I needed a way for them to remember what it was and tell others what they meant. So for my 1st grade students, I gave them reading strategy cards and had them glue them down on their poster to represent each main part of reading. Just like this:
The top strategy card is a girl saying, “does it look right, sound right, or make sense.” This is exactly what we want our students to do when they get to a tricky word. We don’t want them to keep reading or just skip over the word. We want them to stop and ask themselves:
“Does this look right?”
“Does this sound right?”
“Does this make sense?”
If it doesn’t, we want them to go back and try a strategy to fix it up.
For my 2nd-4th graders, I had them draw a picture of what decoding, fluency, and comprehension were. Like this:
For my 5th-8th graders, I had them write the definition of each one. Just like this:
Step 3: Next, I showed them their running record and I explained how I took notes on their oral reading & fluency. I explained what symbols meant when I was note-taking as they were reading out loud for me.
For the comprehension section, I taught them the difference between “Within the Text”, “Beyond the Text”, and “About the Text” questions.
Within the Text: The answer is directly found in the text, such as who the main characters are, what the setting is, or the important events that happened.
Beyond the Text: The answer is NOT directly in the text. You have to keep track of the clues or information the author leaves you along the way to help you form your own ideas and opinions about the text.
About the Text: Again, the answer is NOT directly in the text. You are now analyzing and critiquing how the text is written and the author’s purpose and craft.
Step 4: After they looked over the entire running record, I had them choose one part to focus on. Some chose “to go back and fix up words they don’t get right.” Another student said, “I want to read less choppy.” And some students wanted to focus on comprehension, such as the beyond or about the text type questions. Now I know exactly where to start with each child. I’m going to start with that one goal they have chosen and then move on from there.
Of course, you might need to adjust how your students goal set based on their grade level, just like I did. I knew my kindergarteners/1st graders would need a visual to help them set reading goals. So I gave them my text band reading strategy cards. It was amazing how quickly they understood and could retell to me what fluency, decoding, and comprehension were when they had these strategy cards.
Happy goal setting,