I think reading is really difficult to assess and I have been doing it for years! I decided to put together a quick guide to help out other teachers who are struggling to get to grips with making a judgement for reading. I don’t think anything is new or particularly revolutionary….just useful (I hope!). I have tried to consider a few ways in which you can demonstrate progress too.
I also want to draw your attention to the work of MrsPteach and her brilliant blogs on reading. She has created lots of lovely resources too for using R. I. C. (Retrieve, Interpret, Choice) to help focus teaching on particular question types…
Here is my list…
- Look at the level/ stage of the reading book they can comfortably read (90% accuracy – a running record can be used to check this). Use the reading scheme guide (often a poster) which explains the reading age of each level.
- What is their phonic level (if they are not beyond phase 5)? Does their reading book reflect their phonic level?
- The Salford reading test will give a reading age and is therefore really useful to evidence the impact of interventions. It does not measure understanding. Again, check that their reading book reflects their reading age!
- YARC comprehension and reading test will give you specific feedback on areas of weakness and on-line will produce a useful report. The initial YARC phonic assessment can be used to ascertain if they can access the test and will give you a clear picture of phonic gaps.
- GL assessment will give an age related standardised score – this assesses comprehension. This may not be directly comparable with the newest SAT tests (2016) in Y1 and Y6, but is still a useful tool to target those who are struggling at the beginning of the year and may be used to evidence progress if repeated at the end of the year.
- Reading exemplification (for the interim framework) on YouTube, produced by the government, is useful for moderation of teacher assessment and assessment for learning approaches that can be useful in the classroom.
- Learning and Progression Steps (Lancashire County Council) break down statements from the National Curriculum to show smaller steps of progression throughout the year. This can inform planning, help in making age related teacher assessment judgements and, if the grids are filled in, show evidence of progress over the year.
Assessment for Learning – useful reading assessment activities in the classroom.
- Orally re-tell using a text map
- Wanted posters
- Acting out with small world play
- Hot seating
- Freeze framing
- Role play
- Retelling in story board / comic book frames
- Write a letter to or from a character
- Use information books to research a famous person
- What does the character – ‘think’, ‘feel’, ‘say’?
- What can you sense in a setting? What can a character see, hear, smell, and feel?
- Choose a sentence from your book that you like, tell someone or write down why you chose it.
- Write a character description
- Summarise a chapter or the plot
- Thought bubbles
- Sequencing and sorting jumbled pictures, lines, sentences or paragraphs from a text
- Text marking with a focus e.g. the impact of punctuation or cohesive devices.
- Collaborative group discussions
- Suggesting alternative words, phrases or sentences
- Book reviews (can shadow on-line book awards and join Leeds Book Awards)
Useful question stems for inference, deduction and interpreting events / ideas.
- What does this tell you about what….was thinking?
- What words give you that impression?
- Can you explain why?
- What makes you think that?
- Do you agree with this opinion?
- Predict what you think might happen next.
- Who would you most like to meet from the story?
- If it were you what would you be thinking?
- Would you want to visit this place? Why?
- How did……change through the story?
- Which is your favourite part? Why?
- If your book had a sequel how do you think it would end?
- Did the book end the way you thought it would? What clues did the author give you that made you predict the ending?
- What do you think is the author’s main message? Why do you think that?
- What character did you interpret as ‘bad’? What did the author do to give you that impression?
- What are the two emotions that….has felt. Why do you think….felt that way?
Having spent a few hours trawling through the reading exemplification that the government has published to support teacher assessment using the interim framework I decided to create some positive action points from what I watched and read. Okay it may have involved a couple of medicinal gins to get my creative juices flowing, but I managed to make a brief list of key points that, as a literacy leader in school, I need to ensure we consider in our teaching of reading.
I initially felt rather disheartened when I listen to the children on the videos read with lovely expressive voices and confidently discuss their clearly thought out views in well-trained groups. I could not see any links between those children and mine. However, I don’t stay down for long and really, when I looked closer, I realised that we do lots of the good stuff.
So key points are as follows….
- Prior knowledge is vital – for understanding of language expression and for the ability to empathise. We teach through our creative curriculum so all texts are experienced in a context as our pupils lack life experiences. It helps EAL and new to English pupils to make sense of what they read as well as focused teaching of idioms.
- Phonic skills – they need to be confident in applying their skills to read unfamiliar words. This means it is essential to have really good tracking and monitoring of those who begin to fall behind in Year 1. We have found that Dandelion Phonics worked well as an intervention for some children as well as using alphabet arc. I have blogged some of my approaches to teaching those who experience learning difficulties. https://theliteracyleader.com/2016/02/21/literacy-difficulties/
- Fluency and expression – this is something that my pupils struggle with as they are mainly EAL or new to English. I have decided that we need a greater focus on drama and reading and performing playscripts and poetry. Our assemblies need to showcase fantastic reading and performance rather than mumbling into a tatty piece of paper!!!
- Vocabulary – a wide breadth of vocabulary is needed to help the children understand what they are reading. I have blogged some useful approaches to playing with words. https://theliteracyleader.com/2015/12/02/playing-with-words/
- Modelling answers – it is vital for teachers to model their thought processes when they answer questions. Google Pie Corbett and ‘book talk’ – there are lots of really interesting ideas on developing your questioning.
- The importance of talk – talk helps children develop their understanding of a text so group discussion is vital.
I am no longer afraid of the exemplification materials!! Hurray!!