Chapter 10, Assessment: Looking Closely at Readers, in Catching Readers Before They Fall is just as the chapter title suggests, a closer look at the individual assessment of readers. The authors discuss several methods of both “informal (conferences, observations, and anecdotal notes) and formal assessment (running records, benchmark assessments, and Observation Survey Tasks [Clay 2007])” (180) and stress the importance of formative assessment to guide class lessons, guided reading instruction, as well as individual instruction. If the teacher finds “the majority of the class needs a particular skill or strategy, we can model this during an interactive read-aloud, shared reading, or community writing. However, when our assessments indicate that only a few children need practice with a specific skill or strategy, then guided reading or individual conferences might be a better time and place for that lesson” (187).

Connections to Learning

This chapter very much aligns with what we are learning in class about effective literacy instruction. It is so important to have a pulse on where your students are in their learning in order to inform instruction and be effective in your teaching. If you try to teach ahead of where children are in their learning the lessons will fall on deaf ears and could cause them stress and confusion. If you are teaching below their level they will be bored, distracted, and their learning will not progress.

Professional and Personal Connections

This chapter and my class on reading instruction have informed me of what I was observing in my child’s classroom. The most effective literacy teacher I have observed, throughout my children’s education so far, was using all these strategies as well as involving parents in the process at home and highly encouraging at home reading. Because of my daughters attendance in this teachers class (in my opinion) my daughter is far exceeding all expectations of reading in both French and in English. Unfortunately, not all teachers take as much care in their instruction and some struggling readers get left behind. I want to be one of those teachers that makes a huge impact on the life of her students.