Running Records

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A running record is a way to assess a student's reading progress by systematically evaluating a student's oral reading and identifying error patterns. These ongoing assessments will help you judge your students' strengths and weaknesses so you can plan lessons specifically for them. This template will help you track your students' oral reading accuracy.

Need a blank running records form? You can find it in our graphic organizers center.

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What Does It Look Like?

The process of recording responses during a running record is explained in detail in the next section. Use the following example of a blank running record form:

Blank Running Records Form

How Can You Make It Happen?

To take a running record, choose a student who is reading and gather paper and pencils for recording. As the student reads, record miscues. Ask the student to retell the passage to check for comprehension. Then analyze the responses, and use the information to decide on future instruction.


During silent reading time or small-group reading time, sit beside a student and explain that you want the student to read a part of his or her book to you. Be sure to tell the student that you will be writing while he or she is reading, and that it doesn't mean a mistake has been made. Position the recording form in a way that student won't be distracted by what you are writing. Since you may do this frequently during the year, make a note of the book or pages the student is reading, as the passages should be new each time a running record is taken. For older students, who tend to read quickly, it may be helpful to copy the pages the student is reading and record notes on the copy.


Record all correct responses with a checkmark. Use a symbol to mark each substitution, insertion, omission, and self-correction, along with words students don't know or ask for help pronouncing. A list of conventional symbols used to code responses during a running record can be found at on this printable.

Hesitations or repetitions may not affect the understanding of the story, but they can provide information about a student's reading strategies, so it is helpful to note them. If you think a student is losing meaning, you may say, "Try that again," and make a note of the prompt. Practice using these symbols prior to actual assessments, as that may help you keep up with students who read quickly.

After the student reads the passage, check comprehension by asking him or her to retell the story or answer questions that are both literal and inferential. Take notes on what the student learned and understood.

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