From “They Can’t” to “Here’s Why” to “Let’s Try”: Formative Assessment that Serves Readers Well

Yesterday, I described the pivotal role that assessment plays in defining the unique needs of readers.

Today, I thought I would share a tool that emerged from inquiry work I facilitated in several local districts three years ago. Take a peek: GRInterventionIdeas

A little bit about that: as teachers began expanding their definitions of what it meant to be a “successful” reader, the assessments they used to define the strengths and needs of those they were supporting became richer and varied as well. These assessments surfaced needs that were not expected (or even understood at the time) which inspired a great deal of investigation, reading, and collaborative learning. We leaned heavily on Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, Ellin Oliver Keene and Susan Zimmerman, and Kathleen Strickland.

The document above synthesized what was learned and framed it in ways that supported action. This moved teachers from “they can’t” to ” here’s why” and finally…”let’s try.” Frustration levels fell as teachers began implementing promising strategies and making a study of how they worked. Adjustments were made in response and performance began to improve.

That was then.

Now we’re learning even more as we move the Common Core Learning Standards into classrooms.

The six shifts, in particular, are contributing to our understanding of “here’s why.”

And something else: we’re finding that the shifts themselves serve as powerful interventions.

Really.

Everything is always a work in progress.

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