Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Link: Teaching Reading: K-2

Student Case Study: Cassandra

Looking Closer


Cassandra Becomes a Fluent Reader

Video Summary

The Student, the Teacher, and the Class

Analyzing the Video
  Before Viewing
  First Impressions
  Looking Closer
  Summing Up

Making Connections

Selected Resources

Take a second look at Cassandra's reading development to deepen your understanding of her changing strengths and needs over the course of the year. Use the video images below to locate where to begin viewing.


Assessment at the Beginning of the Year: Video Segment

Ms. Perez talks to two students.

Find this segment 2 minutes and 24 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 6 minutes and 9 seconds.

In the beginning of first grade, Ms. Perez uses both informal and formal assessment to determine Cassandra's reading skills and appropriate teaching strategies. In this segment, Cassandra participates in a guided-reading group and in a one-to-one assessment with Ms. Perez. Add your observations about Cassandra's strengths and needs to the Literacy Development Chart.

  • What areas of early literacy does Ms. Perez assess?
  • How does Ms. Perez combine instruction and assessment in the guided-reading group? What strategies for identifying new words does Cassandra use?
  • During the individual teacher assessment, what strategies does Cassandra use to read high-frequency words in list form? What strategies does she use to read words in the story?
  • What do we know about Cassandra's reading comprehension?
  • Cassandra's teacher says she is "exactly where she needs to be in first grade." What does this mean? Do you agree?
  • What instruction would you plan in order to develop Cassandra's reading skills and strategies?

Developing Reading Fluency: Video Segment

Find this segment 12 minutes and 37 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 5 minutes and 56 seconds.

A students hand on a piece of paper.

By January, Cassandra is reading more difficult texts. Ms. Perez reports that Cassandra avoids new and more challenging books during independent reading, and "plays it safe" by choosing to reread only familiar books. In this segment, Cassandra reads with her guided-reading group, and reads a poem with a partner.

  • How has Cassandra's reading progressed since September? What specific reading strategies has she developed?
  • How has Ms. Perez's instruction changed since September? What decisions did she make to advance Cassandra's reading development?
  • How does Cassandra's individual reading of her book during guided reading differ from her reading of the poem with a partner? Which is more fluent? Why?
  • What does Cassandra's choice of books for independent reading reveal about her beliefs in her ability to read?
  • How does Ms. Perez promote Cassandra's perceptions of herself as a reader throughout the year?
  • What goals would you set for Cassandra for the remainder of the school year? What instruction would you plan to meet these goals?

Independent Reading: Video Segment

Cassandra reading.

Find this segment 19 minutes and 4 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 3 minutes and 28 seconds.

After her March assessment, Ms. Perez implements an independent reading program for all of her students. In contrast to guided reading, independent reading promotes individual student choice of texts that reflects both personal interests and reading levels. In this video segment, Cassandra reads a self-selected book during independent reading and works with a partner to share her book and to review high-frequency words on cards.

  • How would you characterize Cassandra's reading of her chosen book on frogs?
  • How does Cassandra demonstrate motivation to read and engagement with the text?
  • What factors have influenced her fluent reading of this book?
  • How is Cassandra's reading of individual sight words different from her September assessment? What strategies does she use now to read words?
  • What are the milestones in reading Cassandra has reached over the year?
  • What instructional plans and contexts for reading over the year have contributed to Cassandra's reading development?

Parent and Teacher Working Together: Video Segments

Find the first segment 54 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 1 minute and 29 seconds. Find the second segment 10 minutes and 3 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for 2 minutes and 11 seconds.

Cassandra and Ms. Perez.

Cassandra's mother meets with Ms. Perez throughout the year to share thoughts on Cassandra as a learner and to discuss goals she has for her progress in school. In the first segment, Cassandra's mother describes Cassandra's approach to learning; in the second segment, Cassandra's mother meets with Ms. Perez to discuss Cassandra's progress and to set goals for the rest of the year.

  • What does Cassandra's mother share in the beginning of the first segment to help Ms. Perez in her instruction?
  • Based on the parent/teacher conference, what does Cassandra's mother know about Cassandra's reading? What does her teacher know?
  • How do the teacher and parent collaborate to gain a deeper understanding of Cassandra? How do their descriptions of Cassandra differ?
  • What information might Ms. Perez provide as a result of this conference at the next parent/teacher conference?

Next > Summing Up

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