|Reading Process||Classroom Environment||Instructional Decision Making||Sample Lessons by Level|
Introduction to Instructional Decision Making
We use formative assessment to monitor our students’ behaviors as they read. We try to learn from their behaviors how we can best support them in their journey towards developing the independent, self-extending system that we explored in the Reading Process section.
There are many forms that formative assessment can take, but none is more central to guided reading than the running record. The running record was developed by Dr. Marie Clay as a “neutral observation tool” to allow teachers to make systematic and useful observations of their students’ reading. Therefore in this module, we will explain and provide brief opportunities to practice administering, scoring, and analyzing running records. If you need additional instruction or practice on running records, several more comprehensive resources are listed in Suggested Readings.
Our discussion in this section is geared towards taking running records during guided reading lessons. This is usually done with text the children have read, possibly on the previous day. Running records are also used as benchmarks for monitoring students’ progress at specific times across the year, and under those circumstances, would be given with “cold” text (that students have not seen before), and with additional formal procedures for assessing fluency and comprehension. But here we are concerned with how running records taken during our lessons provide insights that guide us in our day-to-day efforts to teach.
Throughout the Sample Lessons by Level that follow after Formative Assessment, you will watch video clips of teachers taking running records during Guided Reading lessons, and making decisions from them on teaching points for the child. You will also see the teachers explain what they learned from the running records and why they chose the teaching points that they did.