Predictions of Progress: Do They Make a Difference?

Earlier in the year I reflected on my Reading Recovery teaching practices and identified a goal of working with intention toward helping my students to develop a self-extending system.  I knew that in order to do justice to this goal I had to dedicate regularly scheduled time to look through my running records, lessons records, and update my predictions of progress.

I am four weeks into my second round of students.  I have guarded my time for deep analysis of my students’ records and have been diligent about thoughtfully updating my predictions of progress.  I have found it helpful to assign each of my students a day of the week in which I carefully look through their records and update their predictions of progress.

What differences am I noticing?

I know my students

My four second round students all started with similar stanines and text levels.  Without analyzing their records consistently I could fall into the trap of following a similar sequence for each of them.  Instead, I am able to see that each have different pools of knowledge, they each approach text differently, they each have their own strengths and weaknesses.  Knowing these differences has helped tremendously with updating their predictions of progress.  Each of their predictions of progress outlines a different path to their end of program goals.  Along with knowing my students better, I have been able to make plans for a cluster visit sooner rather than later.

More tentative and flexible

If I am not regularly looking for patterns of how each of my students processes text I may make assumptions that are incorrect for a child.  Reflecting on their predictions of progress and analyzing running records has caused me to be more tentative and flexible with what I infer the roadblocks might be and what the next steps are for this child.  The evidence that I can specifically see in my records has helped me to be responsive to what the child needs right now – not what I thought they needed a few days ago.

Increase in problem-solving behaviors

I have seen evidence that my students are taking on problem-solving behaviors with and without prompting earlier in their program.  My mantra has been “it’s not about the accuracy, it’s about the effective strategic activity.”  This has helped me to adjust my thinking when choosing books.

I am not thinking:

“Can the child read these words?”

I am thinking:

“How can this book increase the child’s effective reading processes?”

“A few items and a few powerful strategies can set a beginning reader on a path toward a self-extending system quite early.”

~Clay, Change Over Time, ,p. 129

What do I need to work on?

This weekly analyzing and reflecting has helped me to clearly see some areas of my teaching that I can work on improving.

Supporting reversals, confusions, concerning letter formation

I have noticed that I need to be faster at interrupting incorrect responses.  Clay reminds us that we need to “plan an attack” on the child’s confusions (LLDI, p. 38) and that they should not be allowed to continuously repeat confused responses (LLDI, p. 179).

My Plan:

I have information concerning reversals, confusions, and letter formation listed on my predicitons of progress which I read before each lesson.  I plan to make this information even more front and center by writing on a separate sheet of paper that will be directly in front of me during lessons.  I will also be rereading the section in Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals on Sorting Confusions (p. 38).

Provide clear modeling

I need to make sure that I have provided enough clear demonstrating of what I want my students to do before calling on them to do it.  This includes having them share the task with me before having them give it a try on their own.

My Plan: 

Before the lesson, I will be writing on a sticky note how I will clearly demonstrate what I want the student to do.  I will also keep track on my lesson records when I have demonstrated for the student and when we have shared the work.  This will give me a better idea of when I should call on my student to try it out on their own.  This will also allow me to see how long it takes for my student to take something on for themselves.

Use the reciprocity of reading and writing

“…some of the aspects of literacy activities which are shared by reading and writing include how to control serial order in print, how to use phonological information, and how to search, monitor, self-correct and make decisions about words.”

~Clay, Change Over Time, p. 32.

I was recently asked if one of my students understood that rereading to know what word comes next in his writing can also help when he comes to an unknown word in reading. This was a great reminder to support my students with making connections between reading and writing.

My Plan:

Mary Fried’s article, Reciprocity:  Promoting the Flow of Knowledge for Learning to Read and Write, helped me think about how I might help my students to make connections between reading and writing.

  • Use Elkonin boxes in writing to support doing a slow check in reading
  • Use the words known in writing to help when a student stops at the known writing word when reading

I have to say that I was a bit surprised with the differences that I have noticed since updating my predictions of progress more regularly and thoughtfully.  I always felt like I knew my students, but now I am not sure that I really knew them the way that I should have.  I also felt like I was responsive to my students. I think that I was responsive during each particular lesson, but I may have neglected patterns over time in the student’s reading behaviors that would have caused the way I responded to be different.

To hold ourselves accountable and to get more support in thinking about our students Gen and I have set up a Twitter Chat.  We would love it if you could join @LiteracyPages for our second Predictions of Progress Twitter Chat #POPchat on Thursday, April 26th, 7pm, EST.



Clay, M. (2001).  Change Over Time In Children’s Literacy Development.  Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann.

Clay, M. (2016).  Literacy Lessons Designed for Individuals.  Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann.

Fried, Mary D. “Reciprocity:  Promoting the Flow of Knowledge for Learning to Read and Write.” Journal of Reading Recovery. Spring 2006:  6-14. Print.



One thought on “Predictions of Progress: Do They Make a Difference?

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

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