Reading Clinic: A Strategy Inventory for Every Reader
"I read only what
I have to and nothing else," fourth grader Josh once said to me. Josh
had excellent grades but no personal reading life. His words replay in
my mind whenever I face a new group of students.
How can we turn students
like Josh into readers? We must set aside time to learn what our students
already know about effective reading then build on
those strategies. Here's how.
Primary and Intermediate
READING STRATEGY INTERVIEWS
To document students' use of reading strategies (book selection, prediction,
One Reading Strategy Record Sheet per student
nterviews take about 10 minutes per student.Try to do two each day, while
other students are working in small groups or reading individually.
- Prepare interview
questions like those shown here.
- Why do you
check out a book to read?
- How do you
know if you can read the book?
- What do you
do before you start reading a book?
- If you are
alone and can't pronounce a word, what do you do?
- If you are
alone and don't know what a word means, what do you do?
- What do you
do if you don't understand a paragraph or a page?
- When you have
completed a book, what do you do?
- Hold interviews
in a quiet place. As students answer your questions about reading, take
notes on the Reading Strategy Record Sheet. Try
to record what students say without paraphrasing.
- When you've completed
all the interviews, reread your comments. List the reading strategies
each student uses in the Notes section of each sheet.
- Hold a quick conference
with each child, reviewing what he or she knows about reading.
- Together, set one
or two goals for the student to work on over the next few weeks.
- On chart paper,
list all the strategies students use and the positive reading attitudes
they've shown. Discuss the list as a class, pointing out how much students
- In a notebook,
write the goals you and students have set. Use them to plan reading
- Store students'
Reading Strategy Record Sheets in folders. Return to these to discuss
progress halfway through the school year.
Use this sheet to
record students' comments during your interviews with them.
The best way to bring
children and books together is by reading aloud daily. Here are five great
Sing a Song of
Popcorn: Every Child's Book of Poems, selected by Beatrice Schenk
de Regniers, illustrated by nine Caldecott-medal winning artists (Scholastic,
1988). Grades K and up.
Her Stories: African
American Folk Tales, Fairy Tales, and True Tales, told by Virginia
Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon (The Blue Sky Press/Scholastic,
1995). Grades 1 and up.
Picnic by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Stephen Kellogg (Dial, 1994).
Grades 3 and up.
Lassie Come Home
by Eric Knight, retold by Rosemary Wells, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
(Holt, 1995). Grades 1 and up.
Maii and Cousin Horned Toad: A Traditional Navajo Story
by Shonto Begay (Scholastic, 1992). Grades 2 5.
Robb, a classroom teacher for 34 years, currently teaches eighth grade at Powhatan
School in Boyce, Virginia, and coaches teachers in grades K-8. She is
the author of Reading Strategies that Work (Scholastic Professional
Books, 1996) and Whole Language, Whole Learners (Morrow, 1994).