Have you been wondering how to use your running record data to form your guided reading groups?
Learning how to analyze the data and create small groups can be difficult and takes time to master. For this final post in the series about running records I will show you how I decide my groups.
If you missed the other posts in the series, just click any of the links below to view them.
- Form Guided Reading Groups Using Running Record Data >> You're here!
Start with the Data
Now that we’ve completed our running records it’s important to use the data to form our guided reading groups. I try not to spend a lot of time on this as my groups are fluid and I might notice needed changes after the first group.
When I was taking my running records I recorded them on my running record spreadsheet. You can find it for free on my second post in the series, Taking Running Records: The Unofficial Guide. If you are already an email subscriber then you can download the recording sheet from the free library.
I will be using actual class data throughout this post. My second grade class was 100% ELL students and mostly pre-emergent readers with one outlier reading at 5 levels higher.
Cut Apart Your Data
Once you have all your data on the spreadsheet you will want to make a copy of it. Next, you’ll cut apart the spreadsheet. I also cut the header to use as a guide when laying out the pieces.
Sort Students By Reading Level
Now you will use the header row as your guide and you’ll sort the student scores according to reading level. I didn’t have any labeled as “pre” so I started with my AA readers. At this point I’m not worried about percentages, I’m just placing them if they had a score in the AA box. Next, I’ll look for B, then C until I run out of students to group.
Three Main Reading Levels
I can see pretty easily that there are 3 main reading levels in this class.
Arrange High to Low By Percentages
I’ll take a closer look now at the percentages I’ve written for each student. If needed, I’ll tweak the arrangement so it is in order of their score. I’ve also jotted a quick note on some of the scores while taking the running record. This will be important if I need to shift some students to make my groups.
Take a Closer Look
In the picture below you can see I had grouped according to the last level I tested. Since this student passed AA I tested them at A but needed to discontinue the test. I will move this student to join the other AA students.
Tweaking the Groups
The student below them was tested at an A level but scored a pretty low score, 51%. They would definitely struggle if left at an A level. I moved them to be with the AA group.
Count the Students in Each Group
The final step is to count how many students I have in each leveled group. My goal is to have no more than 6 students in a reading group (or less in the lower groups).
Final Tweaks Using Additional Notes
For this class 9 students were discontinued in the AA group. However, I have some notes I jotted down on a few of these discontinued students that show me they have some more reading skills in their toolbox than their friends.
I will place the 2 higher students in the next group up (a pre-emergent group that has some sight words and reading concepts of print). The 7 remaining students that were discontinued are too many for a pre-emergent group so I will make 2 reading groups out of this group of 7.
Looking at the next chunk of scores for the AA level, I have another 7 students that were able to read some of the text. One of these students has a note that they “read” using strictly picture support but no ability to sound out words. I’ll move this student into one of the pre-emergent groups I mentioned above. This now gives me a group of 6.
My next group (A level) goes from 51% to several students with a similar score in the 80s. You could either move the 51% student up or down depending on how you feel about their frustration level.
I’m going to take a chance to move her into the next higher group. I feel that those 4 other students will help motivate and push her to try her best. Also, I might decide to move her after even just one reading group if I decide it's not a right fit.
What About Outliers?
Last is my “outlier” or my highest student. I will make him a group of 1. Because he is reading quite well I will plan to meet with him individually every other week.
Another option is to check with your teammates and see if they would be willing to have that student in their guided reading group if they have a student at the same reading level. This usually only works if you and your teammate have reading groups during the same time.
In the picture above you’ll see my assigned reading groups.
I have placed the highest student, we’ll be calling him Dan, in a reading group slot but I’ve placed an asterisk. Most likely I’ll be pulling Dan individually but would still like to have Dan participate in a group setting so he doesn’t feel so isolated.
There are many factors that can go into how you group students. For this blog post we looked strictly at my running record data to form the reading groups.
After taking running records I would then give my lowest students (the discontinued ones) a letter and sound identification test. This would help me further form the first two or three reading groups since there are many with the same discontinued score.
I hope this post has helped you see how to use your running record data to form your reading groups.