As you may know, last Saturday we presented strategies in a webinar hosted by Marygrove Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT): “Goal-Setting and Reading Fluency.” It was designed to help struggling readers take control of their reading by setting reading goals to help increase their motivation, fluency growth, and overall grade level performance. The material was based on the research I conducted as a student in the MAT program. We received some wonderful feedback, and I would like to answer more of your questions here. Last time, we discussed the differences between grade level and reading level, and how students should always cold-read for these assessments.
Today, we will discuss motivation, parent communication and keeping students on track. If you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment and I’ll tackle those in a later blog post!
Q. How do parents keep informed about their child’s progress?
A. If you are using a program like DIBELS®, or AIMSweb®, you have access to some amazing graphs that you can print out to share with parents. As part of my project, parents received weekly notes after each progress monitoring assessment. Now, I rely on my own communication methods such as bi-weekly newsletters, conferences, phone calls and my classroom website. Of course, my students are always eager to tell their families when they have successes!
Q. What if students aren’t making appropriate growth on their graph?
A. It may be time to re-assess their goal or the other interventions you are doing in the classroom. One of the keys to the success of student charting and goal setting is having lots of conversation with students about their graphs and goals. Student goals are always up for negotiation if they aren’t making progress that aligns with their goal, or, if the opposite happens: they make better progress than they thought they would! Think about the instructional interventions you are doing with these students. The general rule is: If insignificant growth is made over a period of three weeks, the instructional intervention needs to be re-evaluated.
Q. Motivation was a big part of your project. But how do you motivate your students to read?
A. I love to read. I think, personally, a lot of my students’ interest in books and reading comes from my positive attitude, which I’m sure you all convey, too. I have a huge classroom library, and I conduct several read alouds each day for instructional purposes—(and to get my students excited about reading new books.) In my classroom, I have a “100 Club” where students can document books they read outside of school, and can achieve levels in a “club” when they reach certain number milestones. I also offer children the chance to earn the privilege of eating lunch with me on Fridays. One of the ways they can earn lunch is by documenting the Accelerated Reader tests they take. (Every 13th test earns you “Lunch Bunch” on Friday!) They can also earn a “Lunch Bunch” for each level of the “100 Club” they achieve.
That wraps up this round of questions. I will address any more that come in as needed. Please don’t hesitate to ask. Your question could help clarify something for someone else. We appreciate the feedback.
If you haven’t already, click the button below to view the webinar, access my full research report, and tools you can use to start getting improved reading results in your classroom, today!
Have a great holiday,
Christina Bainbridge, Marygrove MAT ’09 currently teaches a first and second grade split class at Central Elementary in White Pigeon, Michigan. She has incorporated her master-level teaching practices into an award-winning website: Mrs. Bainbridge’s Class, which she loyally tends to every week. Teachers all over the country love her for it, and you will, too. Check it out!