My school has been using Reading A-Z for a number of years. It is a useful way of tracking students' reading and comprehension as they progress through the different classes. The lower level books begin at A and are suitable for students in the first grade. Each level becomes increasingly more difficult all the way up to Z, which would be around fifth grade, depending on your school system. Reading A-Z provides this correlation chart for parents, teachers and students in order to keep track of the individual's progress. It is important to note that this system is designed for students whose first language is English. The chart also contains the Lexile index range for each book. This is a scale educators use to determine the appropriate reading age of a book for a child. It is particularly useful when buying books as gifts!
Running records serve two main purposes:
- They are used to match students to books that are written at their instructional reading level.
- They are used to determine whether or not students are ready to exit their current levels and move to the next ones.
Perhaps the most useful teaching tool I have gained from the Reading A-Z program has been reading groups. During these times, I will divide my class up into groups of four to five students. I will then assign the same book to each student in the group. The books are as near to the child's reading level as possible. I then have the students read a page of the book each until the book is finished. After they have read the book, I will have a retell activity or a discussion on the story.
I hope this is useful to somebody out there!