Ever wonder if it would be possible to track student reading at the beginning stages – to be able to identify exactly where learners are struggling and help them to rectify issues even before they start on leveled readers like the ones provided by PM Benchmark? Well it is! How so, you might wonder? By using our newly created editable reading assessment templates, as shown in the sample for our Short 'A' - Mix 1 eBook below:
For each of our single word Emergent and Transitional Readers eBooks a set of reading assessment sheets like the ones above have been developed to allow you to observe and track a student’s progress over the course of three attempts (if need be), and the following tips have been provided to guide you in using these tools.
1. Evaluating Decoding Skills
Each of our single word Emergent and Transitional collections of eBooks have been scaffolded to afford students the opportunity to practice new beginning/end sounds singly before moving on to books that are mixed. For example, our CVC Emergent Readers collection begins with Short ‘A’ eBooks that are separated by individual word endings such as 'ag', 'am', 'an', etc. and then proceeds to the Short ‘A’ mixes that present a combination of all the endings practiced. When it comes to tracking student progress, our assessment tools can be used to evaluate how successful a student is at decoding each ending prior to progressing to the mixed books and/or next set, which in this case would be Short ‘E’. In practice this would mean tallying the total words read correctly, and if the learner achieves a score of 90% or higher, deeming them successful and able to be evaluated on another book.
2. Evaluating Reading Skills
As a student is reading, space for you to note reading skills observed has been provided on the assessment tool. This area can be used to jot down things like whether the learner is looking at the picture for clues, can sound out all the letters, etc. After listening to the child read and marking their score, you can then add notes for next steps, which could include areas to work on during reading lessons in class.
3. Evaluating Reading Comprehension Skills
A reading comprehension page has also been included for you to ask questions at the end of each assessment. Given that the children will still be in the beginning stages of learning how to read, the questions you create need not be too complex and could include the following:
Whether you choose to use the reading comprehension section as part of the overall score that determines whether a student is ready to be assessed on the next book or simply as practice for answering comprehension questions in the future is entirely up to you.
4. Frequency of Evaluations
Given that the purpose of our reading program is to assist you in identifying students’ gaps in reading and helping them to build a strong foundation, how often you assess learners is your choice. You may feel it best to evaluate students after teaching a complete set of word endings, i.e. all short ‘A’ words, at the end of each term to provide feedback to parents on how their child is doing and plan steps forward for the next term, etc.
5. Evaluating Using Every Book
Do you need to assess students on every single book? Not necessarily. While some might find it helpful to test using each book, others may find assessing students solely on the books that contain a mix of word endings and/or sight words enough as they can see which sounds/words a student is struggling with and use this to inform their next lessons. It comes down to a matter of personal preference and what best suits your needs.
As mentioned, the reading assessment templates we created are editable as we realize that not every teacher’s needs are the same – feel free to use what we have provided as a base and to modify as you see fit! Have additional question about our reading program and assessment tools? Contact us! We are happy to help.
Wondering how you can deliver professional development sessions that not only inspire educators to make changes when they see the relevance in what you are proposing, but that also provide them with the means to implement change? Follow the simple steps below!
1. State Your Vision and Goals
For any professional development you plan to offer, you should always start by writing out your vision for the session and asking yourself what knowledge and skills educators should walk away with after leaving your session. The clearer you are about what you would like to achieve, the easier it will be to plan a well-thought out and focused session.
2. Merge Visions and Goals
In addition to thinking about your own vision and goals, it’s always a good idea to do a little investigative research on your audience by browsing through the school websites of those who will be in attendance or by asking educators to complete a quick survey to learn about their visions and what their goals may be. With this information you can think of ways to merge both yours and your audience’s vision to ensure that any session offered is tailored to meet the needs of educators in attendance.
3. Create Individualized Tools
With a clear vision for your session, the next step is to create the tools to support your audience in their learning – will this be in the form of planners, a handbook, online resources, etc.? For every tool developed, you must not only think about that tool’s objectives, but also of how to individualize it by ensuring that whichever learning tool you offer is differentiated and/or scaffolded to accommodate differences in teaching roles (mainstream, specialist, support staff), different levels of teaching experience or knowledge of the topic you are presenting on, different grade levels, etc. This may mean making multiple versions of whichever tools you are planning to offer.
4. Plan Your Session
The last step before offering your professional development is to plan it out. Because your objectives are clear, you understand your audience’s needs, and you have your learning tools in place, this will be a fairly easy process! To ensure that your session remains focused, that there is a balance and clear connect between your talking points and time for educators to collaborate, and that your session is individualized, a planner similar to the one below can help you organize your thoughts.
5. Provide Ongoing Support
All too often, educators walk away from professional development and fail to make changes at their school or in their classrooms because there is a lack of follow up after the training is over. To avoid this common pitfall, it’s a good idea to have a plan in place for how you will support your audience after the session, which doesn’t necessarily mean a second session will need to be offered – this can be done via email, by setting up a group chat platform on your website for educators to support each other, via Zoom calls, etc. It doesn’t have to be much, but knowing that a platform does exist for questions to be answered will make it more likely that educators will buy into implementing your ideas!
Do you have any other tips you would like to share for running effective professional development? We’d love to hear them!
In previous articles, Educational Frameworks have been looked at from an administrator and teacher perspective and have shown how implementing one at your school can unify a staff and help to create a cohesive teaching culture. And if you wanted to stop there, you could as the effects alone of a staff that is working together to achieve common goals is impactful enough – but what if you were interested in taking things further and incorporating students and/or parents within the framework, could this be done? Absolutely. Supposing we take the Language Framework below as an example.
In looking at the framework, one will note that its purpose is to illustrate how curriculums connect through language, not how people connect to one another, therefore when designing the accompanying individualized planners, it can apply to staff, students and/or parents. And the advantage of this? Imagine if you could connect an entire school and its community so they could work together towards achieving common objectives – to give you an idea of what this would look like when all the planners are in place, the generalized diagram below depicts how staff, student and parent templates could line up within a framework.
If student and/or parent planners are something your school is interested in, stayed tuned for upcoming articles that will demonstrate how they can be developed. Feel like you may need some support? Contact us, we’d be happy to assist you in elevating your school’s Educational Framework and taking it to the next level!
For more information on designing individualized staff planners see:
Different Planning Solutions for Your School
Individualized Teacher Planners: Do They Really Work?
Tips for Personalizing Planners at Your School
How to Use Planners as a Learning Tool for Students