Predictions of Progress: The Map That Leads to a Self-Extending System

I am going to be completely honest with you I am really bad at keeping up with my predictions of progress.  I know that they are very important and not superfluous paperwork, but I seem to neglect to revist them on a regular basis.

My first step in reminding myself about the importance of writing predictions of progress was to reread the corresponding section in Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals.  Marie Clay writes

“These will help her maintain a long-term perspecive on her day-to-day teaching decisions.  This is important.  Specifiy the goals for each child” (p. 28). 

When I’m not regularly checking on and adjusting my predictions I may unintentionally take my student on a long meandering path to his destination.  We need to take the most direct path.   We don’t have time for sightseeing!  Clay is clear that we should never waste time engaging students in tasks they can already do and that we should not be working toward the student taking baby steps but appropriate leaps.  I can only do this work by committing to writing and updating my predictions of progress on an on-going basis.

When do I Write Predictions of Progress?

The section on predictions of progress is under the subheading Designing the Series of Lessons and then under the sub-sub heading Identifying a Starting Place for Teaching.   It is important to note that predictions of progress are written before roaming around the known.

It might seem strange to write predictions of progress before roaming around the known if new things aren’t intentionally taught during this time.  Remember this is a time of discovery.  Through the many shared experiences with the child and the voluminous amounts of reading and writing the child will discover new things and make new links.

After administering the Observation Survey and selecting students, an Observation Survey Summary is completed.  The O.S. Summary is an essential tool to use when writing predictions of progress and thinking about where to begin each child’s lesson series.

Predictions of progress shouldn’t end with the first one.  They should be reviewed regularly while checking on each child’s progress.  Predictions of progress may need to be adjusted each week as you notice the new things your students do.

Who Should Write Predictions of Progress?

Everybody should write predictions of progress even veteran Reading Recovery teachers.  Predictions ensure that you are following each individual child and not a “standard” path of learning that you expect the child to follow.

How do I Write Predictions of Progress?

Clay emphasizes that although our students might have the same goals for final outcomes the path that each child takes to get there will be different.  This is because each child has a different way of processing while reading and writing texts and has different strengths and weaknesses.

When writing predictions of progress Clay tells us to look carefully at our Observation Survey Summary and:

  • Look at what each child can do now
  • Think about what each child needs to learn how to do
  • Describe the changes you want to see that will support each student in becoming a more competent reader & writer
  • Look at what information each child uses and neglects
  • Look at what useful things each child can do and what areas are most problematic
  • Think about how a child’s lesson series will differ from another child you have taught  (LLDI, p. 28)

Clay also tells us to record the following:

  • At the end of the lesson series he will need to know how to … in order to …
  • In the next few weeks he will need to know how to …
  • Extra work will be needed on …
  • I will need to pay special attention to …  (LLDI, p. 28)

How do I Hold Myself Accountable?

My students are counting on me to be a strategic intentional teacher that gets them to where they need to be in the quickest, clearest, most memorable manner.  I am going to hold myself accountable for revisiting each student’s predictions of progress by blogging regularly about my progress with this goal.  If you are interested in joining me in holding yourself accountable feel free to share how things are going in the comments sections below.  You may also want to work closely with a colleague.  You can help to hold each other accountable.

Writing predictions of progress may feel like one more thing to do, but it is so integral to our students’ success.



9 thoughts on “Predictions of Progress: The Map That Leads to a Self-Extending System

  1. Pingback: Predictions of Progress: We Can Do it! – Literacy Pages

    1. Hi Michelle, I do not use any particular form for predictions of progress. I use Clay’s guiding questions in Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals to help me think about each student. I find that it is helpful to talk with the classroom teacher to find out what they expect their on-grade level students to be able to do by the end of 1st grade. This helps me to think about what I should expect my RR students to be able to do by the end of their lesson series. Maybe you could join us for our upcoming POP Twitter Chat : Thanks so much for visiting LiteracyPages!


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  6. Karrie Bryce

    Hi there I happened to come across your pages by chance. As a NZ Reading Recovery teacher in her second year, I have really enjoyed reading the information you have posted here.Thankyou for sharing.


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