#TCRWP: Day 3 Reading Institute 2015

Oh, Happy Day!


My #OLW (One Little Word) is Focus!

And Focus was my goal today!

So I’m cutting straight to the chase and starting with my second session!

I literally only have two pages of handwritten notes from this session because . . .

We were working every minute!

(That could mean that I have a whole ton of photos, but remember “Focus” – no time to get side-tracked!)


Katie – Loving Complex Informational Texts

How can we accelerate students up through the levels of Nonfiction?

Today we studied the reading progressions in the new Units of Study in Reading that had their “birthday” on Tuesday of this week.  Katie modeled looking across two grade levels of the “Main Idea” study that has been our anchor this week, and then we were turned loose to choose our own progressions to review.  This was eye-opening, scary and yet, exhilarating work with collaborative opportunities to deepen our understanding as we read and discussed the content.

Our world of learning was then rocked by the three tools that Katie shared:

  1. Writing about Reading – Demonstration text written by the teacher
  2. Checklists for students constructed by the teacher
  3. Reading Toolkit pages

Then we could choose to create either Tool 1, 2, or 3.  My partner and I chose Tool 2. Checklist as we felt that would really be “beginning with the end in mind” if we constructed the checklist and then went back to write the demo text.  Here are our first drafts for our Analytical area:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.59.36 PM

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 9.59.58 PM

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.00.27 PM

The chunk of “progressions” that this was based on is also included here:

Screen Shot 2015-07-01 at 10.13.58 PM

This is work for just one of the progressions for Informational Text with checklists drafted for students in grades 2-4.  The progressions include student expectations for 16 areas.  These grew out of ten years of work in classrooms where students were collecting post-its across a wide span of grade levels but the work did not increase in sophistication as it continued up through the grades.

Do teachers understand this work?  

Where does this fit into your current understanding of teaching reading?

Just a bit more about the Learning Progressions you see pictured above (3 strands = literal, interpretive, analytic)

  • Lays out growth over one year
  • Based on grade-level expectations
  • Written in first person, with student friendly language
  • Includes both external behaviors and outcomes and internal processes
  • Lays out 1 possible pathway for growth
  • Designed for student self-assessment (included in MWI and Shares)

Is this work that your students are already doing?

How would your propose to set up a course of study for your students to learn how to do this work with informational text?

And then we moved on to Performance Assessments. We completed the task as students where we were asked to respond in writing with multiple main ideas.  In our group, we seemed to either have a topic sentence that was a “series” or two distinctly different paragraphs dealing with separate main ideas.  “Real students” did neither so it is helpful to have our own ideas in mind but also be prepared for students to do something totally different.

Performance Assessments:

  • Eliminated skills already in Running Records
  • Included skills that are valued on state standardized tests
  • 4 main skills for each unit of study (Others are addressed but only four are assessed at the beginning and end of the unit)
  • Can be completed in one class period
  • Text used is designed for grade level readers
  • Not to assess reading level but skill level thinking so a teacher could read them to a group of students

How could these performance assessments inform the reader?

How could these performance assessments inform the teacher?

Switching gears from upper grades to FIRST grade!

Session 1

Liz Franco – UNIT 3:  Readers Have Big Jobs to Do:  Fluency, Phonics, and Comprehension 

As you can tell by the title, this unit focuses on the foundational skills.  It is targeted for readers in H – I – J band and specifically designed to build the skills and practice for students that will help them be successful as they encounter more difficult text.  We explored books in this range and found that the texts are more complex.

  • Past tense  – many irregular words
  • Figurative language – comparisons
  • Multi-syllabic – 3 syllable words
  • More complex sentences
  • Multiple phrases in the same sentence
  • More often than not – sentences are getting longer so line breaks are sometimes a scaffold but this leaves at K, L, M
  • More dialogue
  • Dialogue tags are varying
  • Fluency – read with expression to match the tags

Then we looked at running records from students to determine what we should teach.  What were the miscues?  What strategies might we try?

  • Rereading to self – correct
  • Cross checking
  • Check to see if it’s a snap word
  • Try the vowel sound another way
  • Use tools in the room (vowel chart)

And then we talked about the “HOW” for providing instruction . . . Possibilities for working with vowels:

Strategy Lessons – sounds vowels make – Readers have to be flexible – try it 2 ways

Small group shared reading

Small group word study with the vowel charts (Making/)breaking words AND THEN may make into small group interactive writing – compose something) or a Vowel sound hunt from books in their baggie

Key Point:  We aren’t convening a guided reading group of “H” students because we are going to give them “i” books.  Instead we ask:

What kind of H reader?

What supports tap into next steps?

Possible Tools:

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 5.43.20 AM

So, each student is provided with the instruction they need, not just marching through the levels . . .


“A student is ready for “I”, but he/she tends to karate chop words and not think about whole of text.  I will have more previewing work in my introduction.” LF

“A student is ready for “I”, but he/she tended to struggle with multi-syllabic words and not look through the words, I will put more VISUAL supports into my introduction.”  LF

“I am strategically planning who is being grouped together.  It’s not about the ‘letter’.’  LF

What small group?

What do the students need?

And how you are teaching?

So after Day 3 of this Learning Journey at the Teachers College Reading Institute, what are you thinking?

16 responses

  1. My mind is spinning just by reading your post! Keep’em coming. Again, thx for sharing your learning.

    1. Thanks, Mary!
      I find it scary that there is always so MUCH more to learn!!! You are totally welcome!

  2. […] Oh, Happy Day! My #OLW (One Little Word) is Focus! And Focus was my goal today! So I'm cutting straight to the chase and starting with my second session! I literally only have two pages of handwrit…  […]

  3. My head is spinning from reading your post. No wonder you showed a picture with your head on fire earlier! You gave me lots to think about. It sounds like you are doing amazing work! Keep it coming!

    1. Erin,
      I love “drafting” current thinking!!! Have to get started . . . doesn’t have to be “perfect” the first time!!! 🙂 (Risk-taking!)

  4. So little time! So much to learn! Again, thank you for giving me the opportunity to “tag along” through your detailed notes.

    1. Vicki,
      Can’t wait to hear your question! And comments! Time goes so VERY quickly!

  5. I am so grateful to you for sharing your learning. I devour these posts! I scan my emails, excitedly looking for Resource-Full. I feel like a reader in a barren desert, thirsty for the next book. Reading your blogs is making me reflect not only on the learning you are sharing, but also on what makes me so eager and anxious to learn. It seems like a combination of passion, purpose and a little bit of deprivation. I want to be there, too. I can’t be there. I reminded of the man from the documentary “Wasteland.” He taught himself to read by scavenging books from the huge dump in Rio De Janeiro. I’m like that man, scavenging for bits of learning, hanging on to your every word….thinking…synthesizing…..learning. How can I foster this lust for learning in my students?

    1. Susie,
      I ask that question about my peers and the teachers that I work with – “How do you show me that you are a life-long learner?” and “How do you share that life-long learning passion with your students?”

      This learning is so important to me that I pay for EVERY penny of it myself. The time is also mine so I have a huge investment and belief in my need to grow and learn!

      I so appreciate your thoughts and compliments!

  6. Wow! This work gives me an I-can’t-quite-catch-my-breath feeling. The work you did with the analytic progression is fantastic. It seems the jump from third to fourth is big (of course these are end-of-year expectations). And, it seems the thinking work in reading is also looking at text from a writer’s eye.

    I love how the performance assessment is reaching beyond running records, measures thinking skills AND can be accomplished in a day. This is going to offer so much more for our students. What I’m wondering is how long will it take a teacher to take the results to actionable teaching moves.
    Thank you for your amazing FOCUS!

    1. Julieanne,

      Amazing how Katie and Liz can push us ever so gently to rise far above the crowd!

      So much work that can be done in the Progressions! 🙂

  7. I am going to be rereading this post many times! Thank you for sharing!

  8. […] her Blog Fran also posted the work she did with a progression during her week at the TCRWP Reading […]

  9. […] Oh, Happy Day! My #OLW (One Little Word) is Focus! And Focus was my goal today! So I'm cutting straight to the chase and starting with my second session! I literally only have two pages of handwrit…  […]

  10. […] 7.  #TCRWP: Day 3 Reading Institute 2015 […]

  11. […] wrote about you here, here, and […]

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