Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading

Progress monitoring are buzz words in education. We monitor everything.

How long does it take Benny to read 100 words? How many multiplication facts does Carrie know? How many absences does Richard have? How frequently does Martha use her problem solving strategy?

The only issue with this is: what do we do with that information? What’s the point? 
If we collect tons of data on our kids, and then do nothing with it, it was an absolute waste of time and paper.

That being said, there is a purpose to collecting data in guided reading. It can help us make good decisions about what skills and strategies to tackle, how to group our kids, and when they’re ready to move up to a new level.

Here are some ways we can monitor students’ progress in guided reading, along with the reason it’s actually useful.

1. What to collect: reading level
One easy way to do this is on a monthly basis. I have a spreadsheet with each month across the top and students’ names down the side. At the end of each month, I record the students’ instructional reading level.

Why to collect it:
I look across the student’s levels from the year and try to notice if there’s been appropriate growth. If a student is making significantly less progress than his/her peers, I notice it and try to think about why that is. If a student is stuck on a level, I think about that too.

2. What to collect: anecdotal notes

To record anecdotal notes, I have an index card for each student. I stick them in the pocket of the plastic divider for that group when I’m not using them. During a lesson, I pull out the cards and have them in front of me, next to the lesson plan.

As students are reading and I’m checking in and prompting, I record notes about their reading behaviors. This might include notes about

– decoding skills kids used or didn’t use
– use of comprehension strategies
– how much prompting I had to do
– notes about fluency

Why to collect it:
After a few lessons on a certain strategy, I can pull out the cards and see how my group is responding to the strategy. Do my notes show that they’re using it well, and integrating it into their other strategies? Do my notes show a significant area of weakness that I can attack next? The notes are purposeful and help me plan for the future.

3. What to collect: reading behavior records
Reading behavior records incorporate a record of student decoding behaviors, a note about fluency, and a comprehension check. You can get a freebie form here on TPT, or get a form and analysis tools and explanations from Rolling Out Guided Reading.
Why to collect it:
These notes are more thorough than anecdotal notes. You record reading behaviors on about 100 words, and then check for comprehension using a scoring rubric. Using this data, you can decide whether it’s time to move up a guided reading level or time to stay at the same level.

4. What to collect: Strategy Quick Check
I have a little system called QuickChecks that I use as an overview every so often to see how students are using a variety of strategies for decoding, fluency, and comprehension. I just check off the strategies I’ve seen students use effectively.

Why to collect it:
This will give you an overview of where students are. As students move up in reading levels, sometimes the reading behavior record doesn’t provide you as much information. Thinking about what strategies students are able to use is a great way to monitor and plan for the future, and will help you think about what kids need to learn next.

Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!
September 24: Getting to Know Your Readers First
October 1: What Are the Other Kids Doing?
October 8: Organizing Your Guided Reading Binder
October 15: Preparing Your Space for Guided Reading
October 22: Planning for Guided Reading
October 29: How Do I Know What to Teach?
November 7: Monitoring Progress in Guided Reading
November 12: How to Build Reading Strategies
November 19: Guided Reading: Make it Fun!



Grab the All-in-One Guided Reading Materials (over 100 pages of tools, forms, organizational strategies, and more for guided reading K-5).


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