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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Report card comment redux

December 2, 2008

Thanks for your feedback on the report card comment two weeks ago. Your comments highlighted the need for balance between the need to provide parent-friendly information with the need to provide accurate, research-based information. In a perfect world, a good comment would do both.

I admire the teacher's effort to provide specific information about Jack's reading. It's clear that she has a handle on at least three important aspects of Jack's reading: phonics, fluency, and comprehension. Maybe what's missing is some context? My notes are below. Let me know what you think!

Report card comment:
Jack's currently reading at a Rigby level 18.

Clearly this sentence needs more context. What does a Rigby level 18 mean? Jack's mom wasn't sure if he was reading on grade level or not. According to this equivalency chart, Jack's doing just fine.

Report card comment:
At this level with narrative text, Jack's reading is fluent (75 WCPM) and he has adequate comprehension. With expository text, however, Jack's reading becomes disfluent (60 WCPM) and he's unable to answer implicit comprehension questions.

This part really needs some work. I wish the teacher had (1) provided some sense of the WCPM expectations for third graders, and (2) described "expository," "disfluent," and "implicit comprehension" questions.

Report card comment:
We will continue teach strategies such as DRTA and graphic organizers to help assist Jack's comprehension.

Jack's teacher appears to be using assessment information to guide Jack's instruction. Hooray! Jack's mom, however, had no idea what DRTA's
and graphic organizers (see #3) are.

Report card comment:
In spelling, Jack is a within word speller. He's currently studying long vowels and ambiguous vowel patterns.

Again, great info, no context! A short explanation of "within word," "long vowels," and certainly "ambiguous vowel patterns" is definitely needed! Maybe this article would help (see Dylan and Delayne).

Those are my two cents. What are yours?

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"Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them." —

Arnold Lobel