Four Merry Conceits


These Ideas are Good!



Implementing and Evaluating Self-Monitoring and Fluency Strategies


Fluency is the ability to read text with speed, accuracy, phrasing, intonation, expression and comprehension (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002). Importantly, the optimal application of this skill depends on a myriad of other reading abilities. Word recognition, with the attending subsets of phonics and phonemic awareness, as well as spelling, vocabulary and comprehension all play significant roles in reading fluency (Tompkins, 2006). In order to improve self- assessment skills, as well as enhance fluency improvement strategies, I have chosen, for this application, to implement the “Four Color Method” (Laureate Education, 2007). Specifically, this approach, with its inherent self-assessing activities, has been shown to improve word recognition, expression and comprehension, resulting in greater accuracy and a more fluent reading performance (Laureate Education, 2007).

Michael is the fourth grader with who volunteered to participate in the “Four Color Method.” He described himself as an uninterested reader. His interaction with books occurs only in school. Before beginning, we discussed the importance of identifying the form of the writing – narrative, expository, etc., as well as fluency, word recognition strategies, and how these skills can be improved with self-evaluation.

We decided that the present selection was narrative in form. As such, he must keep in mind the structures of the form: setting, characters, problems, events and resolution. I advised him to identify these components as he read the story. Monitoring our performance, as we read, is critical for a fluent rendition, as well as for a more complete understanding of the text. We decided that if Michael did encounter a part that was not readily understood he had the option of going back and reflecting on an earlier part of the tale. He might also reread a sentence or even a paragraph.  In order to make these strategies more clear, I used a “think aloud” demonstration with an alternate text to model these rereading and reflecting approaches.

To briefly describe the “Four Color Method” used by Michael, the child reads a short passage while tape recording his recitation. He then rewinds and plays the recording of his recital. As the learner rereads the material, he listens to his vocal rendition and checks for errors. He uses a red pen to indicate any mistakes.  The student then reads and records the passage a second time. This time, he uses a blue pen to check his miscues. Finally, the student reads the story for a third and final time. Afterwards he marks the errors with green ink. Because the exercise continuously encourages the reader to think about the words involved in the reading, and his/her understanding of them, the child progressively improves throughout the sequence. At the conclusion, he/she draws a bar graph and charts his performance in red, blue and green ink (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002).

The reading selection that follows is a three hundred and twenty word excerpt taken from a fourth grade level book ” What Happened at Midnight” by Franklin W. Dixon. It reads as follows.

“Between driving the car and eying the plane, Ben had his hands full. Al kept looking back at the descending aircraft. 
‘I think the pilot's in trouble,’ he said. ‘He's coming down right on top of us.’
 They could see the airplane clearly now. They could even see the man in the cockpit. The machine was descending at incredible speed in a long glide. 
Ben slammed down the accelerator. The car jumped forward, raising a cloud of dust. But the speed of the car was small compared with the speed of the plane. The distance between them shrunk and the plane was steadily nearing the ground.
‘Whoa! That fellow is going to land right on top of us!’ shouted Al, in alarm.
‘Not if I can help it,’ answered Ben grimly.
For a second the plane flew level. Its nose pointed up and it gained altitude. Al breathed a sigh of relief. Then the big machine dipped again. He could see the propeller blades flashing in the sun.
The auto was traveling at ninety miles an hour. Ben did not dare raise his eyes from the road. He crouched over the wheel. 

‘Where is he now?' he snapped.
‘Right behind us! And he's coming down faster every second!’
Powerful though the NASCAR auto was, the speed of the plane was much greater. It was barely a hundred feet from the ground now and its nose was pointing down at a sharp angle. In a few more seconds there would be a crash, and from the angle of the flight, it seemed almost certain that the heavy plane would crash directly on the speeding auto.
The car roared ahead, the noise of its engine drowned in the loud throbbing of the airplane's motor. The plane came closer and closer, diving at incredible speed. 
‘We're done for!’ groaned Al.
 Unless a miracle intervened, the plane would crash directly on top of the boy's car.”

  Michael showed himself to be a fast, accurate reader with good automaticity skills.  Specifically, during his first rendition he made a total of twenty-three errors. However, sixteen of these occurred when he skipped an entire line. Had he not done this he would have charged himself with only seven errors, which places him in the ninety-five percent accuracy range in word recognition.

After rewinding the tape, our reader was ready for his second attempt. On this occasion, he made only one error. He did make a second one, but quickly self-corrected it. I told him I was pleased to see so little evidence of blue ink. The final reading produced a perfect recital. No green ink was necessary.
Throughout the activity, Michael never hesitated when pronouncing the words and appeared very confident in his decoding abilities. His fix-up skills were also evident. The initial seven errors were obviously understood and rectified in his mind, since they never occurred again. Fluency facilitates but does not insure comprehension (Tompkins, 2006). In Michael’s case, he was able to grasp the gist of the selection and summarize it succinctly. This might have been expected since he spent so little effort recognizing words. Consequently, he was able to concentrate on comprehending what he had read.

Further analysis lead me to conclude that the text was at a level that was “just right” for Michael. He retold the story in summary fashion, correctly zeroing in on the gist of the narrative. He momentarily forgot one of the names of the characters but, even so easily surpassed the benchmark of seventy-five percent for comprehension. Coupled with a word recognition that hovered around the ninety-five percent mark, Michael seemed to have near complete mastery over word recognition and comprehension.

On the debit side Michael’s prosody skills (expressiveness and attention to pauses) need serious remediation. This fourth-grader read in a monotonic manner, with absolutely no “chunking” of phrases, nor variance of expression throughout the readings (Laureate Education, 2007). He also tried to recite too quickly. This resulted in a headlong sprint through the selection. As a result, he created a number of run-on sentences as he failed to pause at grammatical yield and stops signs, such as commas and periods.

An efficacious remedial activity for Michael is the “Paired Repeated Readings” method described in our text (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002).  In initiating this activity the teacher models the role of the reader, and then the role of the listener. Subsequently, the students begin the process under teacher guidance (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002).

To further describe this methodology, while one child reads, the partner listens attentively, helping out with words, expression or pauses when requested (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002). The reader self- evaluates his/her first rendition on the values of speed, smoothness, expression, and attention to punctuation. These qualities are then measured on a scale from one to four (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002).

Following a second reading by the same student, the partner assesses the performance on smoothness, expression, word knowledge and stopping for punctuation. The reader also renders a second self-evaluation. The listener then provides feedback to the reader by telling him/her a way that the second reading showed improvement over the first.  The reader next reads the passage a third time and renders a final self-assessment. The listener again provides positive feedback. They then switch roles (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002).

Another approach that will improve our fourth grader’s prosody is the use of slash marks for phrase pauses. Using this method, the teacher offers a short reading passage and replaces commas with slanted slash mark and periods with upright slash marks. This lends visual reinforcement to the punctuation scheme. The reader is expected to respond to these larger delineations with greater attention and will consequently develop the habit of making appropriate pauses as he/she reads (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002).

 Finally, I would a remind Michael to change the modulation off his voice. I would demonstrate that a period signals a drop in voice tone, a question mark indicates a rise, and an exclamation point can trigger either a rise or a drop, but must be read with feeling (Strickland, Ganske & Monroe, 2002)..
One of my goals for improving instructional practices to promote fluency and self- evaluation in my classroom is to offer the children more opportunities to reread selections. This is an excellent way to promote fluency. The supplementary practice increases not only speed and accuracy but also improves phrasing and expressiveness. This latter advancement develops primarily from discovering insights into the characters' traits and motivations, rather than from adopting exaggerated vocal tones (Tompkins, 2006). By getting to know the characters through repetitive readings, the children also increase their comprehension and inferential skills.

Reader's Theater is an excellent vehicle for repeated readings. It is a dramatic enactment of a text. As such, it offers students a dynamic context in which to practice a plethora of reading skills. These skills include comprehension and fluency, with its concomitant components of rate, accuracy, phrasing, intonation, and expression (Tompkins, 2006). Reader’s Theater also enhances comprehension as the children actually become the characters and grow more familiar with their feelings. Rereading can take other forms as well. Group reading, independent reading, as well as partnering up, reading in unison or echoing the teachers are all contributory venues.  
My second personal goal is to encourage a non-interruptive reading environment. When a reader hesitates at a word, I will give him/her a five second pause to self- monitor. If the correct response is not forthcoming, I will offer a prompt, and then praise the student’s effort (Tompkins, 2006).  I will also discourage the students from looking away from the text as they recite, as well as word by word reading, and invoking, when uncertain, a query or inquisitive tone (Tompkins, 2006).  

My final goal is to increase the use of informal reading assessments. These evaluations, conducted in the classroom setting, involve the discovery of the highest level at which a child can correctly respond to seventy-five percent of the comprehension questions, usually in the form of retelling, while at the same time producing an oral reading- induced word accuracy of ninety-five percent (Cunningham & Allington, 2007). Since children’s reading abilities are a work in progress, it is imperative that the teacher employ frequent and systematic assessments concerning the students’ development. In this manner, not only can the instructor calibrate lessons in an appropriate manner, but also provide a well-suited offering of self-selected material. 

In conclusion, I have concluded that word recognition and fluency cannot be taught in isolation.  The reading skills involved in this process are all interrelated and mutually dependent. Word study adroitness, invoking such abilities as phonemic awareness, and phonics, as well as spelling, vocabulary, and comprehension, all play a role in the fluency process. As such, each of these skills comes into play every time a child reads. Consequently, it is vital that each of these behaviors be explicitly taught through modeling. Additionally, the students must be taught to think while they are reading. Explicit demonstrations by the teacher, through think alouds, will lead to dramatic increases in cognition. A natural outcome of this will be a heightened sense of self-monitoring on the part of the reader.

If I were to consider changes the next time I utilized the “Four Color” approach, I would offer a piece with a more complex plot. The text would also incorporate a wider variety of settings, as well as changes in mood, among both the characters and in the general atmosphere. These alterations would highlight the need for altering the reading pace, as well as invoking changes in intonation and expression. However, the present four color activity indicated that my reader, using visual and auditory clues, was able to think about and critique his performance in a positive, constructive manner. Since this will place him on a track that will lead to greater fluency, I feel assured that the lesson was successful.




Cunningham, P. M., & Allington, R. L. (2007). Classrooms that work: They can all read and
                 write (4th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Dixon, F. (1931). What happened at midnight. New York, NY: Grossett and Dunlap.
Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2007). Program Seven “Comprehension and
                Fluency” [Motion picture]. Baltimore: Allington, R.

Strickland, D. S., Ganske, K., & Monroe, J. K. (2002). Supporting struggling
               readers and writers: Strategies for classroom intervention 3–6. Portland,
               ME: Stenhouse.

Tompkins, G. E. (2006). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (4th ed.). Upper
               Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.



Running Records

Miscue analysis is an authentic, whole language assessment designed to identify and gain insight into the various cueing systems (meaning, syntactical, or graphophonic) students utilize while reading (Valencia, 1997). A miscue can be defined for our purposes as a response by the reader that is not semantically, syntactically, or graphophonically correct. Miscue analysis is both quantitative as well as qualitative, since the number, as well as the type of errors, is tabulated. To make the data collection in this assessment manageable, a system of shorthand is implicit. The numbers endemic to this shorthand correlate to such missteps as substitution, self-correction, omission, reversal, insertion, a word provided by the teacher, repetition, and mispronunciation (Laureate Education, 2007). However, not all miscues are created equal. The teacher must use analytical skills to determine if the miscues are relatively minor, or disrupt the meaning of the written text, or are grammatically unacceptable. These latter errors are the most serious because they indicate that the student is unaware that the reading is not making sense. (Tompkins, 2006).


   There are other particulars that must be addressed in miscue analysis. These include the total number of correct responses produced by the student, (the percentage of which will determine the child’s appropriate reading level), the specific errors that he/she made, the number of self-corrections substantiated, as well as the visual and graphophonic miscues identified.
            I conducted my Miscue Analysis Practice Session with Grace, a student in the third grade. I was not familiar with the child before the session, but after explaining the assignment to Grace’s teacher, he indicated that the task would be appropriate for her. We sat down in a corner of the classroom and I explained the task to her. She was to orally read the given passage. I also assured her that this was not a test, and even her teacher would not learn its results. Soon after she began, I encountered my first difficulty. My unfamiliarity with the number-miscue correlation was an immediate encumbrance. (This was my initial use of it). I solved this challenge by substituting my own shorthand whenever I could not instantly replicate the prescribed method. Grace read the passage fluently, but did make a number of mistakes. She mispronounced huge as hug, and inserted the word the before buckets, before self-correcting. Additionally, she could not pronounce survive, so I eventually provided her with the correct articulation.
            After she finished reading, I asked her to retell the story in her own words. She did so successfully, using many words and phrases from the story (huge, sailed, fell in buckets, and crops). In response to my prompt, she also identified the main idea (the rain meant the crops would grow, and these would feed the people).
            From such a short excerpt it was hard to gain many additional insights into Grace’s reading proficiency. My guess is that she needs to read more. Her two miscues, the visual substitution of hug for huge, and survive - the word she failed to pronounce, are words a third grader should previously encountered and mastered.
             This assessment’s value lies in its authenticity. The medium, and setting and are familiar, and the child’s learning modes have been taken into account. In fact, the variety of reading tasks can be tailored to a number of multi-sensory venues. Additionally, when used in a classroom setting, the teacher is familiar with the child's degree of motivation, background experiences, and level of self-esteem. Moreover, these assessments are of short duration, flexible and provide a systematic and timely evaluation of the reader’s strengths and weaknesses. Further, the feedback from this appraisal is immediate and applicable to future lesson planning.
       The classroom challenges inherent in this system are twofold.  First, compiling and interpreting a continuously evolving set of data for twenty or more students can be daunting. So too is the tweaking of each child’s reading program every few weeks. However, the plusses of Miscue Analysis far outweigh the work involved.




Brief Intermission


How to Write a Clerihew

You're going to love learning how to write clerihews. Why? Because clerihews are funny poems you write about specific people. That means when you learn to write a clerihew, you can instantly write funny poems about your parents, your teacher, your favorite movie star, your best friend, your pet, or anyone else you can think of.
Clerihews have just a few simple rules:

  1. They are four lines long.
  2. The first and second lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other.
  3. The first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person.
  4. A clerihew should be funny.

That's it! You don't have to worry about counting syllables or words, and you don't even have to worry about the rhythm of the poem.
Let's look at an example. Let's say your art teacher was named Mr. Shaw, and you wanted to write a clerihew about him. You might start your clerihew like this:

Our art teacher, Mr. Shaw,
Really knows how to draw.

Notice that the first line ends with the name of the person the clerihew is about, Mr. Shaw. The second line ends with "draw" because it rhymes with "Shaw."
To finish the clerihew, you need to write two more rhyming lines. In a well-written clerihew, those next two lines will make the poem funny, like this:

Our art teacher, Mr. Shaw,
Really knows how to draw.
But his awful paintings
Have caused many faintings.

Just remember, put the person's name at the end of the first line, rhyme it at the end of the second line, and then write two more rhyming lines that make it funny, and you're done. Have fun!





New York State Reading Standard (grade level five):  students will use specific evidence from stories to describe characters, their actions, and their motivations.
Learning Target: reasoning and inferential proficiency.
Enduring knowledge: reasoning and inference skills.
Audience:  real ( comprised of class members).
Product: tableaux and a whole class discussion.
Assessment: based on the alignment of the  group discussion and performance to the rubric.

The students will listen to a read aloud of a younger reader’s version of “The Lady or the Tiger” by Frank Stockton. This is a suspenseful tale about a man who, in an arena, must decide which, of two doors, he will open. Behind one is a beautiful woman, who will become his wife, and behind the other, a man-eating tiger. The author has not finished the story and has left it to the reader to imagine how the story ends. To complicate matters, the man’s former girlfriend, the princess, knows the secret of the doors and has indicated to the man in the arena which door to open. The children must therefore use their reasoning and inference skills to gain insight into the motivations and character of the princess, the king, and the young man. After the story is read, the class forms groups of four, and discusses the story, using the following prompts:

  1. Who came out the door, the lady, or the tiger? Discuss your answer with your teammates.
  2. Pretend you are the princess. To which door would you point? What makes you think as you do?
  3. If you were the young man, would you believe the princess?
  4. Who does the king hope will come out of the chosen door?

            This group discussion is followed by a whole class dialogue, where the insights discussed in each group is shared with the rest of the class. Next, the class cooperates in developing a rubric to evaluate their group skills and tableaux performances. The students will be introduced to the rubric by viewing the teacher developed criteria components, as well as an outline of each level of mastery. The rubric will be described by the teacher as a work in progress. The students will then cooperate with the teacher in developing it.
             A series of four videotapes will be shown, in which students have acted out different parts of an unrelated story. The class will be asked to categorize whether the adjectives little, some, substantial, or significant describe the criteria as it relates to the viewed activity. A series of four prompts will be used to accompany each videotaped tableau. They are:

  1. What is each of the characters doing?
  2.  How would you describe the body language?
  3.  How would you describe the facial expressions?
  4. What is the group trying to demonstrate? Why?

            Student input will then be added to the rubric to flesh out and refine each level of mastery.  The class will also view four role - playing activities in which group skills and procedures are depicted by students. The class will assign a 1 – 4 rating for each of the activities and discuss why they made their decision. The rubric’s components will then be developed.
             Following this, the class regroups into foursomes. The new groups are comprised of those students who agreed on a certain ending.  Each of these groups creates a tableau, a dramatic activity which places the students in the characters' persona. They act out a scene from the story in order to demonstrate what the characters (the princess, the king, the young man, etc.) are thinking.  Body language and facial expressions are used to demonstrate emotions. They freeze at the climax of the scene. As the teacher taps each student he /she talks and acts like the character and explains how he or she is feeling at that particular moment. This performance, as well as the whole class dialogue, will allow the students to demonstrate their mastery of reasoning and inference skills.
             I would include exemplars and anchors for each the performance criteria, in the form of videotaped tableaux and role playing, to demonstrate group skills. These activities would provide concrete models to show levels of mastery, as well as introduce the rubric to the students. 
            Additionally, I can foresee that  the rubric is an effective instructional tool in the following ways. To begin, the students helped to develop it, and therefore share ownership with it. This will add a motivational impetus.  Secondly, the students are presented with criteria components and levels of mastery before the group activities. This sequence will allow the rubric to indicate the lesson objectives as well as the assessment tools. As a result of understanding  these objectives, the students can begin to form learning strategies, or schemas to facilitate the learning.  

Table 1 Rubric

Levels of Mastery

Criteria Components

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Planning and Cooperation for Tableau

The group has little success in planning due to the non- cooperation of its members.

The group has some success in planning. Not all members participate fully.

The group has substantial success in planning. They work together and the roles are shared equally.

The group has significant success working together in an effective manner. Each member cooperates fully with his/her teammates. All roles are creatively developed.

Tableaux Skills

The group shows little evidence of coordinating effective facial expressions and body language to show ideas and emotions. The audience has no idea about the activity they are viewing.

The group shows some coordination in the ability to demonstrate ideas and emotions through body language and facial expressions. The audience has some idea of the emotions the group is trying to depict.

The group demonstrates substantial evidence of the use of effective use of facial expressions and body language. The audience has a clear idea of the emotions the group is attempting to display.

The group shows significant evidence of a coordinated and creative depiction of the emotions and motivations of the characters. The audience gains significant insights into the characters.

Reasoning Skills
To facilitate the discovery of insights and inferences from the story. (Based on a whole class discussion).

The student shows little or no insight into the motivations of the characters

The student displays some insight into one or two of the characters in the story.

The student demonstrates substantial insight into most of the characters.

The student shows significant insight into each character’s motivation and displays a firm grasp on the appropriate inferences to be made.


  Performance Assessments


Grade Level: 3

Standard: Literary Response and Analysis.

 New York State Learning Standards for English Language Arts - students will present their written opinions and judgments from a variety of perspectives in a clear, logical, and persuasive manner.

Objectives: students will:

Text and Materials: I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff

 Activity: After listening to a read aloud about a child who wants an iguana for pet, in I Wanna Iguana, (Orloff, 2004), students will complete a T - Chart listing the most persuasive arguments for purchasing the iguana on one side, and the drawbacks of such a purchase on the other side. They will then identify the most persuasive arguments, and write an essay to their parents, persuading them either to obtain, or not obtain, an iguana for a pet.
            To begin, performance assessment is a method of monitoring of students' progress in relationship to identified learner outcomes (Stiggins, 2005). This strategy focuses on the students’ growth over a period of time, rather than on comparing one student with another. Further, this method of assessment requires the student to create authentic products which demonstrate his/her knowledge or skills. As such, the content and assignments should be standards - based, and include real world applications (Valencia, 1997).
             Active participation is the key to all performance assessments. In preparing their students to work on a performance task, teachers describe what the task entails and the criteria that will be used to evaluate performance. These include demonstrating to the students product models of the assigned task at various levels of proficiency (Tompkins, 2006).
      The most productive performance tasks are inherently instructional. Assessment and instruction, are therefore closely aligned in the practice of performance - based teaching (Skillings & Ferrell, 2000).        
             Performance Assessments can be divided into two categories. The first is assessments of learning, in the form of evaluating the child’s degree of mastery of the achievement objectives. The second is assessments for learning that pinpoint, at any juncture of the lesson, whichever deficiency is impairing the student’s path to mastery. By carefully monitoring performance assessment and reflecting on the learning process, teachers can make informed, timely decisions about content and instruction (Stiggins, 2005).
            Teacher and student- developed rubrics, along with the concomitant models of proficient writing, are also central to the success of both the assignment and assessment. Students learn more proficiently when they know the goals toward which they are working, when they are able to examine models of excellent products, and later, when they judge how their own product correlates with a set of established criteria. Consequently, clearly understandable rubrics are obligatory. Accessing these criteria before, during and after the assignment allows students to judge their own work, thereby increasing their understanding of what they know and what they still have to learn (Tompkins, 2006).
            Combining performance appraisals with portfolios of student work is yet another option. Portfolios are student oriented collections of their best work. By annotating and reflecting on the work samples, students become aware of their strengths and weaknesses as writers. “They can identify the literary procedures, concepts, skills and strategies they already know, as well as the ones they need to focus on.” (Tompkins, 2006, p.323). The students, therefore, can perceive the connection between assessment and learning. Portfolios have the additional advantage in that students feel ownership of their work. Further, their contents can be used to showcase the students’ talents at parent - teacher conferences.
     The writing segment of the assessment entails a five paragraph persuasive essay. The focus of the essay is a student generated persuasive piece of writing, with the goal of bringing the parents into line with the children’s position. They will use the T  Chart as a resource for their ideas. Before beginning their essay, the children will collaborate with the teacher in creating two rubrics. This cooperative effort will not only give the students a sense of ownership in their work, it will also establish a criterion to which the students can align their efforts.
            After the rubrics have been created, the students will follow the usual sequence of drafting, conferencing with the teacher, revising, editing, and publishing their work. A checklist will also be provided to reemphasize some of the salient components of the rubric, to serve as an additional self assessment tool, and to indicate whether a timely minilesson on any detected deficiencies might be profitable.

Table 1
The Rubrics (2)

Persuasive Writing Content

Component Being Assessed





Develops convincing, persuasive arguments.

Uses many facts and opinions to support position.

Presents fairly convincing argument.

Clear position is somewhat supported by facts and opinions.

Presents a weak argument. 

Position is taken, but is supported by few, if any facts and opinions.


Writing displays a logical organization with many reasons presented in a clear order.

 It contains an attention grabbing beginning, detailed middle, and an ending which expresses completion. 

Organization of reasons is mostly clear and orderly.

Some reasons are included.

Story contains a  satisfactory beginning, middle and end.

No clear organization.

Few reasons presented.

No clear beginning, middle or end.

Language Use

Consistently uses complete sentences.

Shows good use of sentence variety. 

Uses complete sentences.

Shows some sentence variety. 

Some sentences may be incomplete.

Little or no sentence variety. 

Word Choice

Uses vividly persuasive word or phrases accurately, some of which are above grade level.

Acceptable persuasive grade level word choices.

Few persuasive details are included.

Uses mostly worn out words repetitively


Writing Mechanics

Component Being Assessed





Capital letters are used correctly. 

There may be one or two misused capitals.

There are many mistakes in capitalizing.


Punctuation is used correctly.

Punctuation is mostly used correctly.

There are many punctuation errors which make the piece difficult to read.


All grade-level words are spelled correctly. There are very few other spelling mistakes.

Most grade-level words are spelled correctly.

There are many spelling mistakes which make the piece difficult to read.


There are no missing words or grammatical mistakes.

There are a few missing words and/ or grammatical mistakes.

The grammatical errors in this piece make it difficult to read.

The checklist includes the following:

Did my opening paragraph grab the readers’ attention?

Did my topic sentence include the topic title or main idea?

Did I support my idea with persuasive arguments?

Does my writing make sense when I read it to myself?

Did I use complete sentences?

Do all my facts and opinions support the topic sentence?

Did I use variety in my sentence length?

Have I used vivid, persuasive vocabulary?



Goodwin, W. L., & Driscoll, L. A. (1980). Handbook for measurement and evaluation in early childhood education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Producer). (2007)  [Motion picture]. Program Nine, "Assessment of Reading, Part Two" Baltimore: Afflerbach, P.

Orloff, K. (2004). I wanna iguana. New York, NY: G.P. Putnum and Sons.

Skillings, M. J., & Ferrell, R. (2000). Student-generated rubrics: Bringing students into the assessment process. The Reading Teacher, 53(6), 452–455.

Stiggins, R. (2005) Student-involved assessment for learning.(2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Tompkins, G. E. (2006). Literacy for the 21st century: A balanced approach (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

 Valencia, S. W. (1997). Authentic classroom assessment of early reading: Alternatives to standardized tests. Preventing School Failure, 41(2), 63–70.