MAT Blog

Q&A: Setting Reading Goals with Early Learners, Part I

Posted by Colleen Cadieux on Dec 16, 2011 3:15:00 PM

Webinar with Christina BainbridgeFirst of all, thank you to everyone who was able to attend our webinar hosted by Marygrove Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) last Saturday! If you missed it, we presented a strategy 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. It was a great session of learning and sharing.

I was (and still am!) so thrilled to have been asked to present the research I gathered while I was a Marygrove MAT student. Just like the program itself, I wanted to offer a relevant strategy that teachers can immediately apply in their classrooms— and get results.

After the webinar, I received some very good questions about student goal-tracking and oral reading fluency, so I will begin to address them here. If you still have questions, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll tackle those in a later blog post!

Q. Did your students read passages at their grade-level, or at their reading level?

A. Most oral reading fluency measures that allow for weekly progress monitoring have students tested weekly at their reading level. My students were tested at their reading level. Keep in mind that the goal is to get them to grade-level. The rule of thumb is: If you are monitoring a student’s progress out-of-grade-level, they have to make twice the progress in half the time, to get them into a grade-level appropriate book. So, if I am testing second grade students who read at a first grade level, they have to make the first grade end-of-year goal in the middle of the year. (That should be a guiding force in setting goals for your students.) Also, if you are using DIBELS®, AIMSweb®, or any other oral reading fluency measure with all students— when all students are tested (typically three times per year)— all students are tested with grade-level materials, even if it isn’t necessarily their reading level.

Q. Did your students do cold reads or were they able to practice their pieces before they were tested?

Oral reading fluency assessments should be cold reads.  We are assessing the skills our students have when they encounter unknown pieces of text.  If you are using an oral reading fluency intervention program (e.g. The Six Minute Solution), students ARE re-reading the same passage throughout the week and charting their growth on that same passage.  However, for assessment purposes, students should not have encountered their passage prior to the assessment.

Well, that is all I have for today. I will address more questions this weekend.  Feel free to leave me a comment in the section below. Our Goal-Setting & Reading Fluency Webinar can be viewed in its entirety by clicking on the button below. You'll also get access to my full research report and tools to start getting improved reading results in your classroom.

Have a great start to your weekend, and I’ll answer more questions on Saturday.


Christina Bainbridge, Marygrove MAT '09 discusses reading goalsChristina 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!



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Tags: struggling readers, reading fluency, goal-setting for early learners, on demand webinar

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