Predictions of Progress: We Can Do it!

Before we dig into predictions of progress I just wanted to put a little plug in here for the Reading Recovery Council of North America.  If you are not already a member I highly recommend that you consider signing up (today!). Whenever I’m stuck in my teaching, need something for parents or administrators, or want to learn more this is my number one place to go.  Before I was a member I didn’t realize all that was offered through their site.

  • The Journal of Reading Recovery Archive
  • Twitter Chat Archive
  • Reading Recovery Book List
  • Listening  Library on Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Topics
  • Video library with recordings from National Reading Recovery Conferences
  • Reading Recovery Paperwork
  • Parent and School resources
  • And more!!

Thank you for sticking with me while I threw that out there.  Now let’s move on to Predictions of Progress.  The ongoing analysis that is required when updating predictions of progress is what will support us in being most effective with our Reading Recovery students.  Although this thinking is necessary it can be time-consuming and overwhelming.

Knowing that writing predictions of progress is nonnegotiable if I want my students to discontinue as fast as possible, I decided to come up with a plan for making the process more manageable.

Adopt a Growth Mind-Set (keep firmly in place!)

Keeping a growth mindset firmly in place can be hard when we have a classroom teacher or team of professionals saying things like, “he should be classified,” “she is dyslexic,” “he was tested and has a below average IQ,” “she is getting all of this support and she still isn’t learning,” and so on.

A fixed mindset, in regards to Reading Recovery, would be thoughts that the child will not be able to discontinue in 20 weeks. We will find ourselves on the path to a fixed mindset if we dwell on any of the following:

  • All of her stanines are a 1.
  • His articulation and oral language skills are so poor
  • They are looking at special education for this student
  • Her parents are not involved
  • He has been absent so frequently
  • All three of her brothers struggled with reading too

Marie Clay says a negative stance can have a detrimental impact on our student’s progress:

“Some teachers might predict quite early in the lesson series that they do not expect a particular child to complete his series of lessons successfully.  That lowered expectation immediately produces detrimental effects.  During the series of Reading Recovery lessons we do not at any time suggest that a child is unlikely to learn to deal with the written code.  We must keep trying.  This child’s time in Reading Recovery may be his one big opportunity for literacy learning. Do not give up on him.”

LLDI p. 169

Wow!  Powerful right?

A growth mindset is thinking positively that this child will discontinue within 20 weeks (if not earlier).

If you are interested in learning more about Carol Dweck’s work on a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset click on her article and Ted Talk below.

Article:  Carole Dweck Revisits the “Growth Mindset”

Ted Talk:  Developing a Growth Mindset

Find a System That Works For You

Predictions of progress are not a “one and done” type of thing.  Marie Clay writes:

“Evaluate a child’s progress regularly against these predictions. Week by week you may need to adjust your predictions as new strengths and weaknesses emerge, finding space on your lesson record to note these shifts.”

LLDI p. 29

In order to do this frequent updating, we have to find a system that works for us.  Not every system will work for everybody.  Braeden Schantz, a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, suggests a variety of ways for recording POPS:

  • On the comment section of our lesson records
  • On a post-it that travels to the current daily lesson record
  • On a note-taking app such as Evernote or Onenote
  • On a separate sheet of paper, either handwritten or typed

Understand What to Include

On page 28 in Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals, Marie Clay writes a bulleted list with what to include in our predictions of progress.  Through Schantz’s audio file, available with membership to the RRCNA, she gives more detail about each bullet.

  • At the end of the lesson series he will need to know how to …in order to…

This section is referring to the over-arching goals, usually related to strategic activity, that we have for the child.  Meeting with the child’s classroom teacher can help us with this section.  Ask the teacher:

What does the child need to do to be on grade-level with their peers?

What do “average” classroom students need to be able to do in reading and writing, mid-year and at the end of the year?

Think about how long this child needs.  If you think the child needs a full 20 weeks of lessons ask yourself why.

  • In the next few weeks he will need to know how to…

For this section include specific goals that will help this child work toward their overarching goals.  Think about what is most important for him to do next.

  • Extra work will be needed on…

When thinking about this section include the alarming things that make you wince and think, “Oh, boy!”  This would include, letter/word confusions, serial order issues, poor one to one matching, directionality issues, etc…

  • I will need to pay special attention to…

I have always thought of this section in relation to my student, but I love Schantz’s take on it.  She says it relates to the teacher and what you need to check up on in your own teaching.  Are you always prompting toward a particular source of information?  Are you moving up and down the scale of help or are you always starting with the most support?

Create a POP Schedule

It might help to create a schedule of when to update predictions of progress.  We could pick a particular day for each student in which we would look back on the weeks’ lesson records and running records to see:

  • any patterns of what the child is doing/not doing
  • how they are taking on our teaching
  • any patterns of what we are doing in our teaching

For example, on Mondays, we would update Student #1’s prediction of progress.  On Tuesdays, we would update student #2’s predictions of progress and so on.  That way we decrease the chances of feeling overwhelmed with the thought of doing all of our predictions of progress at once.

Use POPs

We should place our POPs where we will notice them and use them!  We should read our predictions of progress before each lesson.  Having our predictions of progress in mind before the lesson will help us when thinking about our prompting and support during the lesson.  We should refer back to our predictions of progress at the end of the lesson by summarizing and providing examples of the child’s progress toward their goals.   We should also take note of any new strengths and weaknesses as we observe them.  Having this all in mind will help us to better individualize the lesson we write for the next day.  Doing this work along the way will help to speed up the updating of POPs because we will be able to clearly see the child’s day to day progress toward their goals.

I will be starting with my second round students soon.  I look forward to sharing with you how I am doing with updating and using my predictions of progress to be more effective.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic!  Does anybody else struggle with re-visiting their predictions of progress?  Do you have tips to share that help you to stay on track with updating predictions of progress?



Braeden Schantz, Reading Recovery teacher leader from Walhalla, SC.  POP-More than a piece of paper, a mindset.  RCNA Listening Library. Originally recorded in 2016.

Clay, Marie.  Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals.  Portsmouth: Heinemann, 2016. Print.

Gibson, Sharan. (2012).  Predictions of Progress: Constructing Lessons for Individuals. Journal of Reading Recovery, Spring 2012, pages 23-31.


3 thoughts on “Predictions of Progress: We Can Do it!

  1. Pingback: Promoting Literacy. Monthly Reads. – Literacy Pages

  2. Pingback: Reading Recovery Reflections & Goal Setting – Literacy Pages

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