Monday, March 10, 2014

SOLSC #10: Running Records

WRITE. Every day in March write a slice of life story on your own blog.
SHARE. Link your post in the comments on each daily call for a slice of life stories TWT.
GIVE. Comment on at least three other slice of life stories.

Being new to elementary school, I was new to running records. I tried them out and studied them in grad school, but never used them until this year. Well, let me tell you - they can totally inform your instruction and be a super easy way to collect data if that's what you need to do!

If you want to start using running records with your students, here's a little how to just for you!

You will need:

A Leveled Reader (or another leveled reading passage) - We have a book room at our school. All the books that were leveled readers from any reading series we ordered, or science or social studies are in there and leveled by the Fountas & Pinnell leveling system. Last week, my 2nd graders were reading this book, which is a Level H.

A recording form - Sometimes forms come with books and materials you may order, and other times you have to make them. This is one that I made last week. 

Here's the back of my recording form:
All of my forms have the same parts:
  • The text of the story your student is reading (including running number of words)
  • A prompt to get them thinking in the right place about the text they are about to read.
  • Three comprehension questions:
    • Within the text: A right-there question - usually asking students to retell what they just read.
    • Beyond the text: An inferential question
    • About the text: A question about the author's craft or structure - this could be about the drawings, the pattern of the text, the text features or structure...etc.
  • Ratings for each of the comprehension questions on a scale from 0-3
  • Scores for the following:
    • Time
    • # of Errors
    • # of Self Corrections
    • Words Per Minute (WPM)
    • Accuracy
    • Comprehension points (out of 9, but add one for additional understandings)
    • Comprehension score and rating: 0-4: Unsatisfactory, 5-6: Limited, 7-8 Satisfactory, 9-10: Excellent
    • Level: Hard, Instructional, Independent

A timer of some sort - I love this one that comes with the benchmarking system from Fountas & Pinnell. It's cool because you can do time, input the Running Words (RW), the number of errors, and the number of corrections. Then, it will calculate the WPM and the Accuracy Percentage.

So, to collect data, find trends, and see if students are growing, you need to:
  1. Have the kids read to you! (While you record miscues...)
  2. Have a comprehension conversation (ask the questions and discuss)
  3. Score the running records.
  4. Record data consistently across the weeks
Here's one of my kiddos' recording sheets that I just did this morning:

And the back:

After I finish the running record, I record the data into a spreadsheet like you see below. It has taken me all year to get this sheet like this - I kinda played with other indicators and rating scales, but in the end, aligned everything to the Fountas and Pinnell benchmark system. I mean, that makes the most sense for me, since that benchmark system is what we use with out students, right? Anyways, here's my recording sheet:

You'll need to record data for a while, but then you'll start to see if there is growth or not. I keep all of my kids' running records in a binder with this sheet on top. Then, if and when I meet with parents for aconference, I have lots of data to share. Here's a snapshot of one of my 2nd grader's Assessment Summary Form:

I usually wouldn't have jumped to a book leveled that high (the K) but we were introducing the kids first chapter book to them and so I gave them lots of extra support knowing it would be challenging. Next week, I'm going to give kids a cold read (a running record on a book they haven't read) to see where they are and if they've grown since I last benchmark in December.

Anyways, I'm super excited about this today because my kiddos are finally really starting to show growth, and I can see it even clearer now that I'm tracking it more consistently with better data. My last assessment summary form was kinda wacky and inconsistent, so it's nice to revise a tool you had and then see how much better it really is!

Any tips for me with running records? I am still such a newbie to this!

Happy Monday!


  1. WOW! I love the assessment summary. In my board they are online and I really like using that system. However, it would be handy to have it in a binder like this when report time comes along. I am looking for ideas for organizing my guided reading better, so I am going to keep this in mind. What does "hot or cold" mean? Do you make a recording sheet like that for every book, or do all the teachers in the building make and share them through the book room? I am much to lazy for that! I have learned how to do a RR just by making checkmarks for every word, recording mistakes in the traditional way. I know it wouldn't help another person, but it makes sense to me and I do the analysis right away so I don't get mixed up later.

    1. Hey there! Okay - Hot vs Cold: A hot read is one that the kids had read previously. So that book - All About Animals - we practiced it all week, making it a hot read for the running record. A cold read wold then be a book they had never read before the assessment time.

      I make these recording sheets once a week, but I only teach one guided reading group, so it's doable. I put extra copies in the bag in the book room, but no one else in our school is doing it, although that's the goal! I don't think I could do this if I had 4-6 groups, so I would probably only consistently track the kids who I was most worried about. If you have one or two groups who are in Tier 2 or 3, maybe track them once a week, and less frequently for your Tier 1 kiddos.

      You're so right about doing the analysis right away. A few times I saved it and tried to do it a few days later...didn't work so well!

      Let me know if any of this doesn't make sense! :-)

  2. Great summary of running records! I would use this to help another teacher understand the process, because you explained it so well and included so many pictures! Awesome job!

  3. I love running records! Probably my favorite reading assessment!

  4. Running records caught my eye and I had to read. thank you for including the pictures and your forms.


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