Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The value of reading surveys

For many years now, I have given my students a reading survey at the beginning of each year.  I am always amazed at how much I learn from them, and usually, a couple of them make me chuckle as a kid tries to express his/her interests.  I'm not a fan of lots of questions, but I want to get to the gist of the issue:  Do you like to read?  Why or why not?

This year, using lots of questions from old surveys, which means I stole ideas from my favorites - Nancy Atwell, Laura Robb, and Donalynn Miller - I came up with a survey that I was really pleased with.  And then today, I used a form that I think will really help me.  While my students were taking their first standardized tests of the year, I was reading their surveys and jotting down notes on my conference forms.  How interested are they in reading?  How well do they think they read?  What do they like to do?  What clues have they given me about genres and interests so that I can steer them toward certain books?


Just reading those surveys gave me tons of good information.  I felt like I was learning a lot about each child, but this time, I was actually doing something with the information that I'll be able to turn back to time and time again.  Why?  Because that information is at the top of my reading conferencing note page - one for each student.

I'm so pleased with myself!  Now,you may be slapping your forehead and saying, "Are you kidding?  I've been doing this for years, and she thinks she just invented something new!"  And the truth is, I've always collected the information, and jotted things down here and there.  But this is the new me.  The organized me.  The me who even has all this information in a binder.  A blue one!  Not decorated, like some of you amazingly crafty teachers out there, but in. a. binder.  Where I can see it.  And use it.  Whenever I want it.  Woo hoo!

It's for sale at my TpT store here, but that't really not why I'm posting this.  I'm just tickled pink at how useful it's going to be.  Oh, and I learned that one girl likes to listen to "chreschen music" and another likes dogs and wants to be a "pet grommer."

There will always be a need for teachers!  Have a great Thursday!

11 comments:

  1. I just gave my reading survey today and was just thinking that it was too long. I need to cut it down for next year. I really like the questions you ask and I LOVE the way you record your findings. (I'm stealing that idea!!!)

    Jennifer
    Mrs. Laffin's Laughings

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    1. That's what blog buddies do best - borrow ideas from each other. Go for it!
      Marion

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  2. Yay for reading surveys!! I need to add this to my list of assessments I give my students at the beginning of the year!

    Katie
    Mind Sparks

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    1. It really is worth the time. And because it's a survey, the kids don't feel stressed about it. I really appreciate the honest answers I get back.
      Marion

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  3. Marion:
    This is wonderful! And the world definitely needs more pet grommers!
    :)
    Kim
    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

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    1. If I had a pet right now, I'd be thinking about taking it to my local grommer! Too funny!
      Marion

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  4. The last year that I taught reading, I kept notes like this in a composition book, with a few pages for each student...I think it was after I read The Book Whisperer by Donalynn Miller. Keeping the composition book was so great! I checked in with each student once a week, and ended up using the composition book as part of my portfolio for my evaluation at the end of the year. I was so excited about the documented growth I was able to see from beginning to end of the year, especially with students who were reluctant readers at the beginning of the year..

    Have a great year!
    Ellie

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    1. Hi Ellie,
      That's exactly what I'm going for! And it's after reading The Book Whisperer that I decided to do it this way. In previous years, I had kids journal and we would "talk" back and forth that way, but I like the face-to-face contact better.
      Marion

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  5. I teach history but I love to entice my students to read. I think I will borrow your survey and take a trip to the library with them. They've already let me know that I really shouldn't be making them write essays ;) in history class! Wait 'til they get more reading instruction in history class. LOL

    Tracy
    Miss A's Planning

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    1. Shocker! Say what? You're making them write? In History class? You must be the first teacher to ever consider such a radical idea! Good for you for making them do what they should be doing anyway.
      Marion

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  6. Hi Marion! The survey I used to use is way too long, so I scooted over to buy yours and I'm so glad I did! I'll use it tomorrow- thank you so much!
    By the way, I grommed my new puppy today, and the gromming sure did make him smell good! :)
    Darlene
    meatballsinthemiddle

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