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Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop

Using Assessment To Guide Instruction Put It Into Practice | Using Assessment To Guide Instruction

Choose Activities

In this section, you will apply what you have learned to your own teaching. The three activities are designed to assist you in developing resources for assessing your students’ literacy development. Choose one or more from the list below to practice in your classroom.

Activity 1.
Use Assessment To Plan Instruction

Analyze a student’s performance records to plan appropriate instruction.

Activity 2.
Develop an Assessment Schedule

Plan a schedule for assessing your students’ reading and writing throughout the year.

Activity 3.
Create a Handbook

Collect literacy resources for each workshop session in a Handbook for Effective Literacy Practices.

Use Assessment To Plan Instruction

In this activity, you will assess the reading and writing performance of one of your students to guide your instruction.

  1. Print the Student Assessment Form (PDF). Consider what you want to know about the student’s performance in the different areas of literacy.
  2. Collect three to five performance samples or records of informal assessments. They should provide evidence of the student’s strengths and needs in the following areas:
    – Concepts About Print
    – Language
    – Word Knowledge
    – Reading Fluency
    – Comprehension
    – Writing
    – Motivation and Interest
  3. Analyze the assessment samples to determine the student’s strengths and needs, and complete the Student Assessment Form.Now use the assessment data collected to plan subsequent instruction to support the student’s learning.
  4. From the assessment information, identify the areas of reading and writing in which the student requires different or additional practice.
  5. Develop lessons and activities that will advance the student’s learning in these areas.
    For example, if the student’s oral reading fluency should be stronger, you might plan activities to develop fluency with simple texts (e.g., repeated readings, reading into a tape recorder, practicing reading to a younger student.)
    If the student has difficulty recalling and comprehending elements of stories, you might select texts with a clear story structure (e.g., folk tales), develop lessons that focus on story elements, and provide simple story maps for the child to outline the important information.

To chart the student’s progress, repeat similar assessments throughout the year and adjust instruction accordingly. Compare Assessment Forms to consider how the student has progressed.

Assignment: Submit a completed Student Assessment Form.

Optional Viewing
You may want to watch the workshop participants analyze samples from a first-grader’s literacy portfolio. Find this segment approximately 46 minutes and 30 seconds after the beginning of the video. Watch for about 5 minutes.

The Running Record (PDF) and letter to next year’s teacher (PDF) are also available for your reference.

Develop an Assessment Schedule

In this activity, you will create a schedule of classroom assessments to use throughout the year.

The workshop participants raised several important questions about classroom assessment including how much to assess, when to assess, and what to assess.

Although assessment occurs daily, it is critical that specific assessments are in place and documented in a systematic way, to provide ongoing information about student performance and growth.

Consider the statement by Dr. Paratore:

You could learn about children’s literacy behaviors, performance, and interests in almost all areas of the day. What the effective teacher needs to do is develop some framework, some system for collecting and making sense of that data.

This activity will help you develop a framework for assessing and documenting student performance throughout the year — plan to ensure that you are collecting enough evidence for each student. The assessments should reflect your instruction and curriculum goals.

  1. Create your assessment schedule by listing the months of a school year (September through June). Next to each month, allow space to include areas of literacy and the assessment practices that measure each area.
  2. In the beginning of the year, you will assess areas of literacy to gather baseline information about your students’ literacy knowledge, and to plan initial instruction. Identify these areas of literacy, and list the assessment practices you will use to measure them.
  3. During the middle of the year, you will assess areas of literacy to track your students’ progress and continue your instruction accordingly. Identify these areas of literacy, and list the assessment practices you will use to measure them. You may want to include additional assessments for your low-performing students.
  4. The end of the year assessment will assess student progress over the year, and also provide documentation of performance for the next year’s teacher. Identify the areas of literacy and assessment practices used to measure them.

Some Areas of Literature and Assessment Practices and Tools

Word Knowledge




Identifying rhyming words

Oral retellings

Journal entries

First Grade

Running Records; Knowledge of high-frequency words

Oral retellings; Response to questions

Journal entries

Second Grade

Running Records; IRI

Written summaries

Project reports

Assignment: Submit your completed Assessment Schedule.

Create a Handbook

In this ongoing activity, you will collect literacy resources in a Handbook of Effective Literacy Practices to use in your classroom.

Do this activity with your colleagues to create a comprehensive collection of resources and instructional plans.

Today, you will create a section focused on using assessment in planning instruction. Include resources you already use, and plan to use in the future. Place these resources in the section for Using Assessment To Guide Instruction. You may want to include:

  • the Assessment Semantic Map you completed in Session Preparation
  • the Assessment Schedule you developed in Activity 2
  • a copy of your school/district curriculum learning expectations in reading and writing
  • a list of emergent literacy concepts for kindergarten and first grade
  • a list of core words to know at your grade level
  • a list of phonemic awareness and/or phonics skills for your grade level
  • interest inventories
  • Record forms for:
    • Running Records
    • oral retellings
    • written summaries
  • spelling tests (standardized or teacher-developed)
  • benchmark books for assessing at the beginning, middle, and end of the year

Assignment: Submit a copy of your completed Handbook at the end of the workshop series.

Wrap Up: Reflect on Your Learning

In this section, you will review and complete your notes on using assessment to guide instruction.

Review the notes you have taken during this session. Return to your Assessment Semantic Map you completed at the beginning of the session. Add any new ideas and practices for assessing children’s literacy development. Use your revised map and the following questions to reflect on the ideas presented in this session. In a paragraph, respond to the following questions:

  • What new assessment practices will you use in your classroom?
  • In what ways do you plan to use the results of your assessments?
  • What assessment practices do you want to know more about?
  • What are the challenges you still face in assessing and recording student achievement and progress in reading and writing?

Assignment: Submit your written reflection.

Series Directory

Teaching Reading: K-2 Workshop


Produced by WGBH Educational Foundation. 2003.
  • ISBN: 1-57680-681-2