Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students

Unit 19

Assessing students' reading using running records

'Hearing the student read' is usually one of the components of a reading conference. Sometimes it is appropriate to take a Running Record as you are listening to the student read. You may want to analyse what cues the student is using or whether there is a high rate of self-correction in a new text that has some challenges.

Running Records may also give you some information relating to the student's independence. Sometimes students stop at a tricky word and wait to be told by the teacher. Sometimes students look at the teacher in an appealing way, waiting to be told. These behaviours prevent the student from becoming independent and you need to teach the student more appropriate strategies to get through the tricky part of the text.

If you already know about how to take Running Records and analyse them you may like to skip this task.

Go to: Running Records within a Reading Conference. Print the article and study it. If possible ask a colleague who is competent in taking Running Records to clarify anything you are unsure about.

Follow up with some demonstrations, or possibly a workshop to give you some practise so you can begin to use this tool if you think it appropriate for some of your students.

Websites about Running Records for further information:

Within the Monitoring and Assessment section of this website there is a section dealing with 'Analysis of Reading Strategies' with older students including the use of Running Records. The main website is an Australian website about strategies for teaching reading in the middle years and has sections about a range of issues such as beliefs about students and reading, what successful readers know and do, examples of underperforming readers and possible solutions and the role of the reader.

There are several You Tube videos about Running Records, some showing a teacher in the process of taking a Running Record while a student reads and several that describe Running Records. There is a series of 17 videos by Artful Reading, beginning with

Running Records 1: Coding a Running Record Part 1

and this series includes the analysis of Running Records.

Note: When viewing or reading about Running Records the presenters and authors usually use a photocopy of the text the student is reading to indicate what the student is doing, but the photocopy of the text is not necessary. Although when you begin to take Running Records you may find it easier to have a photocopy of the text, the idea is to just be able to take a record 'on the run', which means you would not necessarily have done the copying before you listen to the student read; you would just have a piece of paper or the student's reading journal and you would make the necessary marks, line by line, as the student reads. The important thing is to capture what the student says and does so that you have enough information to compare this with the text being read and therefore be able to analyse the student's reading behaviours.

The presenters and authors also may use a special form for the analysis but this is not essential either, but the analysis of the Record is essential so that you can figure out whether the student is over-using or under-using a particular strategy and therefore you would know how to help the student improve as a reader.

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Effective Literacy Teaching and Learning for all Students