Engaging in and Exploring
An assessment of oral
reading of continuous text
The importance of Running Records
This resource has been designed to assist classroom teachers
reflect on and inquire into their approach to the assessment
The most powerful teaching in classrooms takes place when teachers use
the information gained from observations and assessments of children’s
of oral reading of continuous text using Running Records.
literacy development to plan their teaching. However teachers recognise
It is one of a series of resources produced by the Literacy
that observations can sometimes be subjective and influenced by what
they already know or believe about the students and their literacy
Secretariat and should be read in conjunction with Engaging
development. Therefore it is important to add data from more formal
in and Exploring Reading in the early years.
assessments to their observations.
Tests of alphabet knowledge, phonics, phonemic awareness, and sight
words form part of reading assessment but they don’t provide the whole
picture of how a student approaches the reading process. Gathering
information from a Running Record, which gives a reliable and valid
assessment of text reading, and adding this information to other assessments
enables a teacher to gain a richer and more comprehensive assessment
of a student’s reading ability.
Developed by Marie Clay, Running Records use standard recording and
scoring procedures to accurately and objectively record what a young
reader said and did while orally reading continuous text. The task is
‘authentic’ in that the students are asked to read in just the same way
as they are asked to read throughout the reading program within
A Running Record is a tool for coding, scoring and
analysing a child’s precise reading behaviours.
(Fountas & Pinnell, Guided Reading p 89)
The collection of Running Records provides an effective resource for
analysing and reflecting on the teaching and learning in schools.
Running Records are designed to be taken on any text as a child reads
orally. When used appropriately, and taken on an on-going basis, they
provide informative records which enable teachers to:
determine what students are doing as they are reading
I define reading as a message-getting, problem-solving
observe the strategies students use while they are problem-solving
activity which increases in power and flexibility the more
make informed teaching decisions
it is practised.
observe changes over time in a student’s learning
Marie Clay (2001)
report to parents.
Running Records Consultative Draft February 2012