Today’s post is all about how to use a running record to check comprehension.
Running records are an amazing assessment tool. In parts 1-3 of our blog series, This Reading Mama and I have shown you what a running record is, how to take a running record, and how to do a miscue analysis.
In summary, you’ve learned how to use a running record to determine reading level.
But what about comprehension? After all, if a child is reading a text accurately but doesn’t understand, it’s not his/her independent reading level at all.
That’s why today’s post, the final one in our series, is so important.
Today I’ll show you how to use a retelling to determine a child’s level of comprehension.
All about retellings
A retelling is when a child tells you about a text after s/he has read it. This usually requires a fair amount of prompting from you, especially with learners in K2.
After the child has finished the complete text, ask him/her to think about what has been read. Then say, “I’d like you to tell me all about the book – as if I’m someone who has never heard it before.”
You can take notes on the back of the running record form.
While it would be fantastic if your readers knew exactly how to give a structured retelling without prompting, that’s not likely – at least at the beginning. Here are some prompts you can use that still call upon the child to do most of the thinking.
Questions to ask about a fiction text
- Who is the main character?
- Who else was in the story? Tell me about ________.
- Where/when did the story take place?
- What happened in the story?
- What else happened?
- Why did _________ happen?
- What problem did the character(s) have? How was it solved?
Questions to ask about a nonfiction text
(these will vary depending on the structure of the text)
- What is the author teaching in this book?
- What is something you learned about ______?
- What else did you learn about _______?
- Why did _____ happen? What happened after ______?
- How are ____ and _____ alike? How are they different?
Some teachers use a retelling rubric to assess whether a child understands a text. We’ve included those in our online course, Teaching Every Reader.
But you can still get a pretty good feel for a child’s comprehension level without a rubric. At the bottom of the form, circle the number (1-4, with 4 being highest) to help you remember the child’s ability to retell the text. Take notes if you can.
And there you have it! Be sure to check out all the posts in our running record series.
*Stock image via iStock.