Steps to Analyzing a Running Record

Teachers are busy people with so many responsibilities!  Sometimes it may feel like we don’t have enough time to go beyond the numbers that we calculate from the running records that we take.  When we stop our analysis at the accuracy rate the only information we learn is whether the text is at an appropriate level for that student.  This is not enough to inform our instruction. It is necessary for us to find the time to dig deeper to learn more about the strategic activities that our students use while reading.  When we take the time to deeply analyze our running records, going beyond whether the text is appropriate, we will be able to truly inform our responsive teaching decisions.  The following is a guide to analyzing running records in a deep and powerful way.  This guide was created using a resource from Jan Richardson, Maryann McBride, & Libby Larrabee .

Step 1:  Is this text at an appropriate level?

Below 90% – Hard Level

90%-94% – Instructional Level

95%-100% – Easy Level

Step 2:  What cue sources did the child use?

Meaning   – Does it makes sense with the story?

Structure – Does it sound right?  Is that the way you would say it?

Visual – Does it look right?

Step 3:  Did the child integrate the cue systems?

Does the child use meaning, structure and visual information in a coordinated way?

Does the child integrate the cueing systems on the first attempt?

Step 4:  Is the child monitoring?

Does the child notice something isn’t quite right?

Does the child show signs of monitoring by stopping his reading, looking unsure, hesitating, looking at you?

Step 5:  What other strategic activity did the child use at difficulty/after error?

What is the pattern of error?

What is the pattern of behavior?

  • Searching
  • Cross-checking
  • Rereading
  • Self-correcting

Step 6:  What does this child need to learn next?


  • to take risks
  • to use meaning
  • to self-monitor errors
  • to reread
  • to notice print detail

Step 7:  Comment on the child’s level of fluency.

Is the child’s voice guided by the punctuation?

Does the child put words together in meaningful groups?

Does the child put emphasis on particular words to reflect meaning?

Does the child change their intonation to reflect the meaning of the text?

Does the child read at an appropriate pace?

It takes a lot more time to analyze running records in this way.  Digging in this deep will allow us to be responsive to that student’s needs at that very moment and into the next lesson.  When we stop at step 1 we could be wasting precious time teaching something that is not what the child needs right now.  Click the image below if you would like a handout version of these steps for analyzing a running record.



Guide to Analyzing Running Records





5 thoughts on “Steps to Analyzing a Running Record

  1. Pingback: Help! My Student is Not Progressing with Reading! – Literacy Pages

  2. Pingback: Literacy Interventions: Let’s think outside of the box – Literacy Pages

  3. Pingback: Let’s Talk Self Extending Systems: 2018 Reading Recovery Goals – Literacy Pages

  4. Pingback: Running Records 101: The History & How to Score, Code, & Analyze – Literacy Pages

  5. Pingback: Running Records: Frequently Asked Questions – Literacy Pages

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s