Creating Reader Profiles to Set Reasonable Goals With Your Readers

Updated: Oct 8, 2021

Students should see their growth without THAT test score clouding their vision!

You know the test scores I'm talking about...the standardized kind. Or could it be that computer generated one that district has invested in. Or could it be that program that guarantees to get kids reading.

Test scores aren’t the complete picture of a reader and a writer.

Standardized scores should not define a reader's growth and progress.

Within the education world the word--data--can be so blinding.

However…as like-minded teaching professionals, we all know it’s important to profile your readers using data. BUT...the right kind of 'data'.

Data that is found within a reader's authentic reading work.

Assessing a reader’s progress and tracking their growth means getting to know your readers. AND readers seeing themselves as readers.

Reading Profiles

You already have the 'data' for you and your readers to see. You just have to find it and assemble it.

Readers need to see where they have been and how far they have come.

You should create a reader profile.

So, just what is a reader profile?

This could be a ONE PAGER Snapshot of all your readers--a class profile. (shown here)

This could be an individual profile to address each readers specific needs.

Creating a Reader Profile paints a visual picture of each reader that documents growth and change throughout a school year.

Profiling a reader doesn’t have to take a large amount of time.

Profiling a reader simply means gathering a few artifacts from the reader and assembling some quick notes.

This can be done any time throughout a school year. Actually it’s an ongoing process.

Assembling a Reader Profile

Think about the different kinds of artifacts that can give you the information you need to profile the kinds of readers you have.

This could mean how the reader responds and reacts to text within stop and jots or longer written responses.

This could mean any reading interest surveys your readers have completed or reflections they have had about their own reading progress.

This could mean any tracking charts that show reading level and progress made over time.

This could mean notes you have about how they engage during independent reading or during talks and discussions about books.

This could mean any conferring notes you have taken about the reader.

It definitely means any running records you have conducted –formal or informal.

Running Records are a quick glance into a reader's head when a point of difficulty is reached.

These quick little snapshots show a reader's strengths and areas of difficulty or concern.

Creating Portfolios For Your Readers

When you have all that ‘data’ gathered in one place. You can easily make informed decisions about your readers. Why not put it all in one place--Student Literacy Assessment Portfolios.

It might be called a Literacy Assessment Portfolio

OR Student Literacy Folders

OR Literacy Assessment Folders

OR Literacy Portfolio

OR Student Literacy Portfolios

OR....whatever your school district calls's all the same!

It's a place to collect reading and writing student artifacts to review and track progress of students’ literacy growth.

A Literacy Portfolio could (and should) travel from grade to grade and teacher to teacher to keep track of how a reader has grown and developed over time.

I’ve Created Reader Profiles, Now What?

Help your readers see their own reading profile to drive the goals they set for themselves as a reader.

Once you have built a reader’s profile, you get the privilege of sharing with your reader all of the success and reading progress made up to that point.

Then you get to guide your reader into setting a new goal based on all that work & progress.

Literacy portfolios and walks through student reading work should not be conducted alone and filed away in a file cabinet.

👉 Readers need to see their successes and struggles.

👉 Readers need to reflect and think aloud about their reading work up to that point.

👉 Readers will see what they can accomplish when they reflect on the reading work they have done to set new goals.

👉 Readers need to determine what they are doing as readers and the kind of reader they want to become.

When readers take part in the reflection and goal setting they are more empowered to work toward showing progress to move closer to the reader vision they have made for themselves.


Steps for Setting Reasonable Goals With Readers

Have readers browse through their reader’s notebooks and/or literacy portfolios to review all the work they have done so far.

They should ask themselves what they notice about their reading work and what they are wondering about what they can do as a reader to improve.

Have them jot a few notes down about what they notice.

Have a conversation with your reader about how they see themselves as a reader right now.

Ask these questions…

1. What kind of reader do you want to become?

2. How do you think you can become that reader?

3. What would you need to do to become that kind of reader?

Share your vision of the reader.

Share what you kind of reader you think the reader can become.

Then, ask, How are the visions the same and how are they different?

Based on the conversations determine a reasonable goal to help your readers move closer to the reader he or she wants to become.

Think about what they noticed, what they want to accomplish and the visions of the future reader.

Choose ONE goal to work on now.

Some readers may want to work on reading volume and stamina. Other readers may want to work on “reading between the lines”. Others may want to work on noticing characters. It doesn’t matter.

A reading goal is all about what the reader wants to focus on for the next few weeks.

Write the goal together using a thinking stem, such as:

  • I will ____________ by _______________.

Examples to spark your thinking:

  1. I will read for longer periods of time by tracking the number of minutes I actually read during independent reading using a bar graph.

  2. I will jot my noticings about text using the sentence stem “The author wrote…, so that makes me think….

  3. When I lose track of a character, I will go back and reread to gather information about the characters actions, behaviors and inner thoughts.

Work together to determine small action steps the reader can take to achieve the goal.


1. How are you going to meet your goal?

2. What steps are you going to take in the next few weeks?

3. What will you have to do to meet your goal?

Write those little steps down for easy access like inside the readers notebook.

Review the goal and action plan together.

Place a copy in the student’s literacy portfolio and have the reader place a copy in their Reader’s Notebook.

Return to the goal in about 4 weeks to review and reflect AND...

  • Determine new action steps to take to meet the goal.

  • OR, celebrate the goal achievement and set a new goal.


Creating a reader's profile is not just a task that is required by a school district. It's essential to tracking growth. When you work with readers to curate authentic pieces of reading work to include in a literacy portfolio, you are empowering them to see the kinds of reader they can become.

Until next time...

Goal writing and reflection tools found

here 👇 on Teachers Pay Teachers OR grab this and more easy to use tools right over here 👉👉👉


Here at Literacy Treasures, I LOVE to talk about reading and writing and share with teachers all that I've learned about what it takes to build strong readers and writers. I have immersed myself in the research of Lucy Calkins, Jennifer Serravallo, Stephanie Harvey, Debbie Miller, Carl Anderson, Gay Su Pinnell, Irene Fountas and so many others.  Every resource, strategy, tool, minilesson and teaching tip that is shared on Literacy Treasures is rooted in this research