How to Use An Informal Running Record To Inform Instruction

Updated: Nov 2, 2021


Running Records provide so much valuable information in such a short amount of time.

I know that when someone says "running records" teachers are immediately overwhelmed! That's due to the boxed systems that use running records as their foundation. (my personal opinion)

When school districts require teachers to conduct running records from "The Box", it becomes just another paperwork task to be completed. I've seen it happen in many school districts that I've worked with. Then, the value of the reading experience with individual readers is lost. (again my personal opinion....that I feel very strongly about)

Running records were not meant to be 'boxed up", standardized and marketed! One more time for the people in the back..."Running records were not meant to be "boxed up", standardized and marketed!" I firmly believe that Marie Clay never intended for that to happen! (again my personal opinion). If she did, she would have created a boxed program.

True Running Record Story

Believe it or not, I was at a new campus in a new school district where a teacher was doing a running record from the "boxed up system" outside of the “Running Record Testing Window” dictated by the school district. The principal visited her classroom for a walk-through observation and the teacher was questioned as to why she was assessing a student with a running record when it wasn’t within the district’s designated testing window! This was marked against her on her walkthrough evaluation form.

I WAS SHOCKED! Really…this is where we are now? That’s just sad! This teacher was administering an AUTHENTIC running record to assess her student’s reading growth and her progress monitoring decision was questioned based on a "district mandated running record testing window" --dates on a calendar.


Now she had to do AUTHENTIC running records “on the sly” so she wouldn’t get “busted”! Honestly, she didn't do many running records after that to assess her readers. She was too stressed and overwhelmed because she didn't want another mark against her on her evaluation.


True story!! It’s sad, but true!

Readers progress ALL THE TIME

Readers progress ALL THE TIME.


I don't know about you, but my readers didn't progress on a specific and dictated timeline created by the school district.