How to Fit Running Records Into Your Reading Groups

Happy new year teaching friends! If you are busy setting lots of new year's resolutions for yourself and your classroom, then this next series of blog posts is definitely for you! We will be sharing some tips and ideas for classroom management and procedures to help you revamp your teaching for the new year.

Maybe your school/district requires you to take regular running records of your students or maybe you are just looking for a tool to help better guide your reading instruction. In either case fitting assessment in always seems to be a struggle especially when your small groups may only last about 10-15 minutes in kindergarten!

So here is how I manage to collect a running record from every student at least once a week. Crazy right? I promise you it can be done, and the more you do it the faster and better you get, all while really understanding your students as readers better.
First I should begin by sharing that my literacy block is structured based on the Daily 5/CAFE model from the 2 sisters, Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. 
I schedule 1 1/2 hours a day for my literacy block which is made up of 3 thirty minute rotations.  Each rotation consists of a 10 minute mini lesson and then 20 minutes of students completing one of the Daily 5 choices.  While students Read to Self, Read to Someone, Work on Writing, Listen to Reading, or complete Word Work, I do 2 different things. First I pull a small group to work on a specific strategy or skill that all students need, and send them off to practice while they complete their daily 5 choice. Then I conference with 2-3 students individually. Here is a visual of the planning sheet I use for my literacy block:
You can grab a FREE blank copy here if you'd like to use it for your class. 
Once I have this structure in place it is SO easy to collect running records from my students that I actually start each individual conference with a running record. I have time to do about 30-36 individual conferences a week so with 18 students that means I usually meet with my lowest readers an 2-3 times each week to make sure they are getting the support they need and the more fluent readers meet with me just once per week. Now I will say that running records in kindergarten are a bit easier because most students are at a level A-C when I start them in leveled books, but I quickly have students reading up to level H-J and sometimes beyond so it can be done!

So what will you need?
First knowledge of how to take running records. If you need a crash course, here is a link from the Reading A-Z website with the basics. Otherwise ask a literacy coach/reading specialist in your building and I am sure they'd be happy to help.
Next, a blank running record form. Of course you could use books that have running record forms that accompany them, but these can be limited and hard to find.  Plus as you get better, I find it is actually easier to just use a blank form with whatever leveled book the child is reading. You can grab blank forms here.
Last, spend time looking at the record and figuring out what each child needs to move them forward in their reading. We use a form to analyze student work as a grade level every week which helps our team share ideas and get help with our students' needs.

 I've found that since I started conducting regular running records with my students I really know and understand their reading needs better which has helped me to really accelerate their growth.  I hope you'll give it a try and find it worthwhile to try out in your classroom!

1 comment:

  1. You are always so motivating to me!!! I go back to school tomorrow after a long and wonderful break and have to start my running records. I really appreciated this post!!