At Northwest Elementary School, teachers are piloting a program designed to better understand how children read, and teach them better practices for becoming strong readers.
The program is called the “running record” program and, unlike other student evaluation methods, it is designed to be highly personalized and catered to each student.
“The information they receive from [running record] is a wealth of information for the child's learning,” Principal Kathy Ramsour said.
The process involves a student reading to the teacher and the teacher using a worksheet to mark what the student got right and wrong. Areas the teacher looks for as the child reads are use of meaning cues, syntax cues, visual cues and self-correcting. Teachers ask students questions about the book and check for things like phrasing as the child reads.
Every week during professional learning communities (PLCs) every teacher at each grade level reviews between five and seven of their students to view their growth and evaluate their reading needs. By the end of each month, all students are reviewed. Teachers also use PLCs to review progress in areas such as math and spelling.
At Northwest, teachers are excited about the new program.
“We're finding we're getting much more feedback on where the kids actually are,” special education teacher Mindy Stegman said.
“It gives us so much more information,” echoed second grade teacher Heidi Savage.
The running record pilot program was initiated by USD 443 in December. Soon it will be up to the district to review the program's performance and determine whether it will be adopted distrct-wide.