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Informal Classroom-Based Reading Assessment

Steps in administering this assessment

1. Choose a book that is age appropriate, but unfamiliar to your student. (This
gives a more accurate picture of a child's ability in handling texts.)

2. Ask the student to read the story aloud to you and then at the end tell you what
the story was about.

3. You should familiarize yourself with the following scoring information prior to
administering this assessment:

Reading behavior How to score

Read correctly (no

Check mark over word

Omission (one error) Long dash over word omitted

^ at point of insertion with the inserted word written

Insertion (one error)
above it

Repetition of a word (no

Mark above word with a capital R

Repetition of a phrase Capital R with a line and an arrow stretching across

(no error) phrase repeated

Self-correction (no Capital SC above the word to indicate child has self-
error) corrected

Unable to read word

T for Teacher prompt
(one error)

Decodes a word in an Mark individual sounds read within the word

obvious manner (no followed by a check mark if eventually read correctly
error) or a circle if read incorrectly

Read incorrectly (one Circle word



What should you count as an error when giving this assessment?

Passage reads: The tall fir tree.

Substituting a word
Student reads: The tall far tree.

Passage reads: The tall fir tree.

Omitting a word
Student reads: The tall tree.

Passage reads: A dark and stormy night.

Inserting a word
Student reads: A dark and stormy winter night.

Needs prompting (if the

Passage reads: I wish that people…
student has to be told a word
Student reads: I wish that… (pauses) that…
by the person administering
(teacher prompts "people")…
the running record)
4. As the student reads, mark each word on the form by using the symbols above.
Place a check mark above the words read correctly.

5. If the student reads a word incorrectly or substitutes a word, record what is said
above the actual word.

6. As the student reads, pay attention to his or her behavior. Is the student using
context clues (from the sentence or pictures), structure (language sounds correct)
and visual cues (using beginning sounds, familiar word chunks, etc.) to read words
and gather meaning?
7. Intervene as little as possible when a student is reading.

8. If the student is stuck on a word, wait 5-10 seconds before you tell him or her,
the word.

9. After the reading, ask the student to tell you about what he or she has just read.
Make notes on the following:
 Can the student tell you what happened in the story in his or her own words?
 Does the student include the different parts of a story (the characters, setting,
events, problem and resolution)?
 Can the student identify the main idea and supporting details?

 Does the student use some of the vocabulary found in the text?
 Is the student's retelling minimal, adequate or very complete?

What do I do with the information obtained from this assessment?

The information gathered while completing an oral reading accuracy assessment

can be used to determine error, accuracy, and self-correction rates. To calculate a
student's reading accuracy rate, divide the total words read correctly by the
total words read. For example, if a student read a passage containing 100 words
and made 5 errors:

95 (total words read correctly) / 100 (total words read) = 95% word accuracy
Use the accuracy rate along with the information gained in the student's story
retelling to determine whether the text the student read was too easy, just right, or
too difficult for the reader. Below is a general breakdown to use to help guide you
when choosing texts for students:

Oral reading accuracy What this says about the text

95-100% Too easy; the text does not present a challenge

90-94% Just right; the text is challenging but manageable

89% and below Too difficult; the text is frustrating for the reader
If a student can read a book with 100% word accuracy but can only give a minimal
retelling of the story, do not choose a higher leveled book. We read to get meaning;
if a child is not getting meaning from a text they must be instructed on
comprehension strategies. Word accuracy without comprehension is not

What should I be looking for when I give an oral reading accuracy


Giving an oral reading accuracy assessment and asking a child to retell reveals
many things about a child's reading ability. There are other things to be on the look
out for and can be taught in the moments following this assessment:
 Has the student mastered directionality, letter-sound correspondence, return sweep,

 Did the student make "good errors" when phonetically reading a word (i.e.,
reading islandas "is land" instead of "eye land")?
 Was there an attempt to self-correct errors?
 Did the student attempt to decode an unknown word?
 Was the student's reading slow and labored, or fluent?
 Did the student use expression while reading?