As I am preparing for families to come this spring and summer for portfolio reviews, I am thinking it beneficial to discuss different ways to document what your student has done this year. I am going to break this down into subject areas over the next several weeks so I can provide you with various options for each area. This week I am going to address Language Arts, particularly reading.
Record oral work. When little ones are just beginning to sound out letters and read, it may be difficult to “show” work that has been done since a large portion of the work is oral. For beginner readers you can record a book that you are reading aloud and the interaction that is taking place. For instance, if you are reading In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming and you are having your reader listen and follow along, pointing to certain letters or words, it documents what is being accomplished. You can have a grandparent listen to it as well. Those are button-busting moments for all involved!
You can also have any of your readers create audio books over a period of time to show progress. Modeling this would be helpful to your child, either by listening to a book on CD or by recording one yourself. These can be short books or a chapter book; it just depends upon what you would like to do. Since it is January, you still have several months to do this before a portfolio review. Play it back for your husband at the dinner table and let your student shine!
Keep a book list. Either keep a receipt from the library; record the titles in your lesson planner; or take pictures of the books, or bring three books with you that were read at the beginning, the middle, and the end of the year. This is an amazing way to see the progress your student has made throughout the year. There are times when I just don’t think I have done anything and if I have someway of looking back to where I began I am encouraged that I actually did more than I thought. Sometimes you see tremendous growth with your child, and much of the time it is slow and steady. Both of these are great, so don’t be discouraged. :)
Keep workbook pages. If you are using a traditional workbook, you can pack it up to show at your assessment, or you can tear out 30 pages or so. These pages would be from the beginning, middle, and end of the year.
Check comprehension of reading passages. This can be done by stopping in certain portions of the story and ask questions such as, “What do you think will happen next?” “How do you think the story will end?”, “Why did the character act that way?” (motive) If your child is not writing yet, then record their answers and be sure to title the page. For example: Caps For Sale Why did the seller throw his hat down? Record your child’s response.
Having your student draw a picture of the story as a summary or as a prediction for what will happen is a way to record comprehension too. Many reading programs have comprehension questions at the end of the passage so you can include some of those for the portfolio.
Create a picture collage of activities. Perhaps your children make crafts or do some of their schoolwork on the computer. You can take pictures of your children reading directions, and/or show a picture of the computer screen with the results that are given at the end of the lesson or game.
I hope this has given you ideas of documenting your student’s work. As you can see, there are many ways to do this and you are not limited to just one way to do things. You have unique pupils and not each child learns the same way.
Please leave a comment if you have another idea. I’d love to hear it!
My friend Ann sent me a picture of what they do to celebrate reading at their house. They create a Reading Wall. Every time someone reads a book they write the title and their name on a post-it and stick it to the Reading Wall. I love it! Thank you for sharing, Ann. :)