One thing that became very clear to me in May was that assessment that has to be done for the sake of files, records and funding often makes me frustrated. But this is not a post about the assessment that I must do. Instead, I want to think about the goals I have for my students as readers so that I can be clear about certain things.
What am I looking for when I observe my students in the first few weeks?
How does what I see along with the goals I have shape directions for teaching and learning?
What ongoing data do I need to measure how individual students are progressing?
What is the best data/assessment to use for this purpose?
What can we celebrate?
What is really important?
How does our reading community support the readers in the room?
My Teacher Librarian and I work together daily in my classroom during Reading Workshop. We met in early June and made a list of goals to guide us in working with a new group of readers (likely a Grade 2/3 class) in the fall. We didn’t start with curriculum guides or performance standards. Instead, we started with our collective experience (over 20 years each) and sense of what our little readers and learners need.
Some of these things will happen early on in the year and some will develop over the course of the year. Of course, individual students will progress at their own rates.
This is our list with a few additions and a little tweaking. Of course, many things will happen in our literacy learning but this list should help keep us on track and allow us to continue to respond to the changing needs of our students.
Our goals for our readers?
Each reader will . . .
- self-identify as a reader
- have a passion for books and literacy experiences
- be able to independently read/interact with text for at least 15 minutes and build his/her reading stamina over the course of the year
- be able to distinguish between fiction and nonfiction texts
- be able to use the features in nonfiction texts to obtain information
- have an understanding of genres
- be able to self-select “good fit” texts for independent reading (thinking about interests and levels)
- develop listening stamina and active listening skills
- be able to talk about books and participate in learning conversations in partner, small group and whole class discussions
- be able to share an opinion about what we are reading together and what he/she is reading independently
- develop a variety of strategies to make meaning
- be able to demonstrate comprehension through retelling, identifying the main idea and summarizing key points
- use a variety of comprehension strategies (i.e. visualizing, inferring) when reading
- read widely as well as develop a growing repertoire of favourite authors, genres, series, etc.
- use a variety of strategies to figure out unknown words
- make progress along a continuum in terms of being able to read at grade level. For our more vulnerable readers, reasonable goals can be set and more intense one to one time provided in the context of Reading Workshop. For our other readers, we hope that each child will be reading at or above grade level by the end of the year.
- make time to read at home
Obviously, our goals are shaped by the ages and stages of our students. What are your goals for the readers in your room this year? I’d love to hear!