How to use Progress Monitoring (*in reading) to Get Real Results

In my current position as a reading coach, one of my goals is to provide support in k-2 reading.  We have had to become very strategic and systematic in our thinking and planning to make sure we are all working smarter and not harder. The one area that has made the most impact (not just for me) has been our progress monitoring protocols.

When we monitor students’ progress, they administer measures frequently and repeatedly to estimate students’ growth in a behavior or skill.  Without progress monitoring teachers are shooting in the dark to determine students’ needs, which makes it very difficult to truly individualize intervention to move them forward. On our campus, Running Records are taken systematically with fidelity once a month (or more, if a student’s accuracy is showing progress) to provide evidence of how well the child is juggling their cueing systems to comprehend the message of the text.

Records are taken to …

  • guide teaching
  • assess text difficulty
  • capture progress
  • identify reading behaviors

When a student is labeled C or a level 6, it is very difficult to then provide those students with the correct intervention in reading. The labels are only as meaningful as the information used to arrive at them.

After our initial benchmarking assessment and student groupings, all of the teachers meet to…

  •  analyze the sources (DIBELS and TRC running record with comprehension)
  • Theorize behaviors that are preventing that student from going any further
  • Theorize cueing systems that are allowing students to be successful in accuracy/recalling information
  • Identify teaching points from The Reading Strategy Book by Jennifer Serravallo
  • Discuss the best balanced approach to address the highest and lowest of needs

Analyze Sources

We are a very data driven district. With that comes a lot of responsibility to plan with the end in mind.  For our grade levels the desired resultsin each grade are above most districts; kinder students are charged with ending the year on a level E, first graders have a goal of entering 2nd at a  level J, and second grade students are expected to head into 3rd reading at a level N (state standardized test ready).  With this, teachers have a lot on their plate.  One thing that has made this possible is our progress monitoring expectations and the acceptable evidencethat shows progress. Once we added the Fountas and Pinnell reading behaviors checklistto the TRC running records, we all started to make the connections to everything else we were already doing.  This step, thought process, has made the progress monitoring concrete; true evidence that a student is reaching the goal.

Theorize Behaviors


By identifying the miscues for our intensive and strategic readers, we can then identify behaviors that need to be on the forefront of our guided reading and intervention times that can be on-going over time.

Identify Teaching Points

th3dyelrzcJennifer Serravallo wrote a gold mine!!! Her Reading Strategy Book has really helped all reading teachers identify strategies that can help provide students with a toolkit of strategies that can help them become independent readers.  Hang with me as I promote this amazing book… (I am not even getting paid to promote- it is just that good.)

What makes this book great…

  1. color coded by reading goals (13 different goals)
  2. great anchor charts for every strategy ( 300 strategies)
  3. Getting Started introduced teachers to the BOOKMARK and how to determine the start point in intervention and goal setting
  4. Addressed the Balanced Literacy Approach
  • Makes me wish I wrote this book years ago 😉

gr sheetApproach (using Targeted Guided Reading chart to focus on a plan of action- Thank you Pandamania)

  • * Whole group reading (all students need this strategy)
  • * Shared Reading (really helps with the cueing system)
  • * Read Alouds (provides retell support)
  • * guided reading ( Daily  small group strategy    instruction with every reader/ grouped by reading behavior and/or reading level)
  •  * intervention (intensive and strategic students, on-going, filling in gaps )

In the last few months,

every student has made progress toward their goal

teachers KNOW their students

teachers know their What, Why and How and Daily objective for all teaching approaches

Everyone has become behavior/strategy focusedIn my next blog, I will address how this protocol (with just a few tweaks) has helped our 3-6 grade reading teachers become more strategic, goal-oriented planners, reading teachers and purposeful instructors.

Categories Teaching

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