Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Word lists

I mentioned yesterday that our school has begun using Fountas and Pinnell for our running records this year. In the past, many teachers just knew if their kids were high, medium, or low, but most of us didn't actually know what level our kids should be reading books from. Yes, I said "we". Guilty. :::lowers head in shame:::

I knew about running records and the importance of them, but I never considered the importance of knowing each child's level. Thank God that our other reading specialist is AMAZING and helped push for this to be implemented! And also thank God for my master's program that taught me the importance of this and the best way to go about it.

So we ended the school year by giving all students running records. Each grade level used the level that students should be at for the end of the year. For instance, all fourth graders were given a level R. The only problem is that if students were higher or lower, we didn't know how much higher or lower.

In my program, we talked about using word lists to help decide where to start when giving running records. Most of these assessment kits come with word lists and give instruction as to what running record to start with. So starting today, I began pulling all of the students (grades 3-5) to give them a word list and see what level we should begin on. I started with 4th since I know all of the teachers so well (I love my former teammates!) and we had already talked about using the word lists.

The only thing to be aware of when giving word lists is that this is not necessarily the level they will be reading at independently. Many students can "call" words but have NO IDEA what they are reading. If they read it fluently but don't have comprehension, they need to go back a level. It does students no good to be placed in a level where they have no understanding.

I have more word lists tomorrow, and I start training teachers on administering the running records. Should be a busy, but fun day!

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