It is easy for a student to come to the erroneous conclusion that reading is about quickly and correctly pronouncing words out loud. Running records can exacerbate this misconception if teachers are not emphasizing the importance of comprehending what is read.
The comprehension component of running records is included to help us notice how a child is being thoughtful about his reading. Evaluating or measuring comprehension is difficult for many reasons for all learners (not just ELLs). As teachers, our goal is to uncover the process of comprehension. Consider these tips the next time you give a running record to an ELL.
TIP #1: Explicitly direct the student's attention to the cover.
- Ask the student to tell you about what she notices on the cover
- Tell the student to "think about what you know about ______." (something that was mentioned in the scripted introduction)
- Consider asking a longer question in "chunks" to reduce the linguistic complexity.
- Consider changing a question into a declarative statement if the question appears confusing to the child. For example: Instead of "What are three things baby bear saw in the forest?" Try "Name three things baby bear saw in the forest."
- Consider wait time. Many times ELLs need additional time to process in their native language and then respond in English.
- Keep the focus on the meaning of the book. Ask the questions as if you were having a conversation about the book.
Interested in reading more on running records and ELLs? Click here for some of my thoughts and tips on miscue analysis.
Written by: Tammy King