An informal reading inventory is a survey that is personally given to a student to determine the reading levels. It helps in determining the student’s ability to recognize words, their meanings, reading methods and capability to understand. The inventory is in a form of a test that contains information and materials needed to assess the student. Before assessing a student one should inform them that it is not an examination and also during the session the teacher should encourage the student by applauding to a well read text.
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The teacher should also consider the emotional status of the child, prior knowledge and other professionals who have previously tutored the student. There are many types of reading inventory teachers are allowed to use any that bet fits the students.
Reading skills is the ability to comprehend fluently what is written on paper. They include word attack skills, fluency skills, comprehension and critical thinking skills. Below is reading inventory for a second grade child to analyze his reading abilities using the various assessment tools.
An informal inventory
|Types of texts||Story book||Fictional text||Dialogue text|
|Word accuracy||4 words per a hundred||7 words per a hundred||10 words|
|Rate of words per minute||50 words||40 words||29 words|
Some of the errors made were: hose instead of house; sow instead of slow; is instead of has; he instead of she; pig instead of big; there instead of their; and were instead of where.
The type of mistakes made is important because it helps the teacher in strategizing on how to help the student further. A miscue is a mistake made while reading; not all mistakes are termed as errors the major miscue are: misprounuciation, skipping words and silent reading whereby a child just stares at pictures but doesn’t read what is written down.
In assessing a child, the first step should involve choosing various types of texts depending on the grade of the child. The texts should have a variety of topics and writing skills to cater for the students different needs. The next step is to determine the approximate reading level of the student. There are three ways of doing that: the rule of thumb method, the publisher’s work and the fry’s method.
The thumb rule involves asking the student to place a finger on those words that are complicated and if all fingers are placed then the text is too difficult for the student read. In the publisher’s method the reading level and the interest levels are indicated on the book making it easier for the teacher determine which book is fit for the child which depends on the grade as said earlier. The fry’s method involves using a graph to estimate reading levels. It depends on the length of words and sentences on a text, and it is best fit for texts without dialogue (Gillet, 2007).
After choosing the text one should prepare a list of questions which are knowledgeable and understandable. The next step is to determine the errors made by the student; in doing this there are four types of assessments: Independent assessments, which means the student can read on his own without much assistance, the child is fluent, has good comprehension ability, and excellent word recognition.
Instructional which means that the student can read but under the conditions of a classroom, the teacher has to assist word recognition is fair, comprehension is also fair and there is a little word skipping.
Frustration means that the student finds the text complicated even in the classroom, the child mispronounces words often the child pauses a lot when reading and word recognition is very poor. Listening capacity determines the category under which the student falls by reading a text and then asking question from it. Such questions are:
Who was the king of the monarch? What did he do to be made king? How did the king feel when the son died?
We use scores known as scorable errors; these are mistakes that are allowable per every hundred words. An independent student gets one or two scorable errors for every hundred words read and has a 90% comprehension capability. An instructional student gets five or more errors and has a comprehension capability of 75% and the student needs constant help from the teacher’s.
A frustrated student has more than ten mistakes and the comprehension capability is usually below 50%, a student substitutes word for others, such as there for where taking pauses when reading and also silent reading.
However pausing becomes a mistake if the child takes more than 3 seconds to pronounce the word. Listening abilities involve reading a text to a child then asking question from the text. It is important in determining a child’s comprehension abilities.
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To determine the allowable errors per text one has to use a formula. For example, the text that was used for this student has 200 words therefore the allowable errors are achieved by calculating 2% of the total words which are 200 hence the maximum allowable errors are four words for a independent student while that of a instructional student are 5% of 200 words which are ten words, and for frustrated students its 10% of 200 which is 20 words.
Scorable errors are such as skipping words, substituting word for others, and mispronunciations of words while errors not scorable are repetitions, pauses, self corrections and mispronounced names. Having determined all of the above factors one can then administer the inventory to the child.
When giving the inventory the student need to be informed its not a test so as to avoid panic which might make the student to more errors being made hence the student needs to be relaxed. In scoring a student one needs a watch, all readings being used and all comprehension questions being used. One can set the clock, and then start it when the student begins to read. The errors are recorded until the student finishes the text, then the comprehension questions are read.
The inventory should have the following components: name of text, word per minute rate, the total scorable errors, comprehension scores and the reading level. In scoring the words the rate per minute is very essential, it is calculated by multiplying the total number of words by 60 then dividing by the total time taken in seconds.
For example the total words used were 200 and the time taken was five minutes hence the wpm is 40.Using the word rate and the other applications mentioned earlier a parent is able to determine the readied level of a child and also know the specific texts that are difficult for the child for example the child assessed had a problem with reading dialogue text while the stories and fiction texts were easy (Gillet 2007).
It is important for a teacher to know the reading level of students because help for weak students, can help students with good reading skills perform well in all other fields since reading and comprehension is dominant in all subjects, it is also a good way to increase students reading morale, the teacher also gets to know which areas need improvement whether reading or comprehension.
However emphasis on reading skills and level can bring problems to the management since more teachers have to be employed, there could be complains of biasness in ranking of the reading levels arising from the students.
The management also is expected to provide enough text materials for reading and also there be might no enough resources to accord each student the attention required.
In conclusion a good teacher should be ready to help the students in improving their reading skills and also encourage them. Teachers should also interact with the parents and give them guidelines on how to assist their children while at home.
Furthermore, a teacher should not give up on frustrating students nor should they scold them instead they should support them in whatever way. Reading is a major problem not only to children but also many grownups. Elder people can furnish their reading skills by reading a lot and using different type’s texts but children have to be assisted by their teachers or parents to do so.
Not only reading skills are important but also listening skills because they help one to understand other people, communicate, make relationships and maintain them and also listening to others critically to help solving challenges, disputes or crises. Hence, people should also concentrate on improving their listening skills by listening to information from audio media and attending discussions and debates about various matters.
Gillet, J. W. (2007). Reading Inventory. Boston: Allyn & Bacon