For the past few weeks our heads have been focused on Lilac books: the beginning of the book band system, and the very basics of teaching children how to handle books and narratives. Although we initially pictured authors having tantrums at being told they can’t use any words at all, we have come to realise the importance and impressive creativity of these books.
This week, we put authors to one side and turn our attention to another crucial cog in the literacy machine: teachers. More specifically, we have been asking ourselves, ‘how do teachers measure a child’s progress in literacy?’
A publisher could have the best books in their reading programme, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that educators are able to use them efficiently in assessing a child’s reading ability. Each reading programme will have its own strengths and weaknesses, and teachers will need guidance in order to get the most out of these. In the context of our own Reading Stars programme, we are producing Running Records to help teachers assess how a child handles our books, and use them to their best advantage.
If you don’t know what a running reading record is, don’t worry – a lot of people don’t know about them either! The basic idea is that, while listening to a child read (either in a group guided reading session or on a one-to-one basis), a teacher can mark exactly where in the text a child is struggling, and what strategies they are using in correcting their own errors. These could be strategies of context or meaning, using visual clues to make sense of words, or using knowledge of grammar or syntax to help decode the text.
While we know this doesn’t make us experts in assessment, what we do know is that running records are a good way of monitoring and analysing how children decode texts, and what they need to improve on. We also believe that, hand-in-hand with our banded Reading Stars books, this type of assessment can help a child read books that are appropriate for their ability, helping them to avoid associating reading with frustration and lead to a love of books.
Keep your eyes peeled for updates about how to get your hands on these brand-new Ransom Reading Stars Running Records.