Scene 3

Several weeks have gone by since Ms. Dever began to use DI reading and spelling materials in her 6th grade resource room. In that time she has noticed some changes in some of her students. They were beginning to get excited about the progress they were seeing. Periodically, the students would complete reading checkouts. These would show the students' fluency when they completed timed oral readings with Ms. Dever. The data sheets were already with the kit Ms. Dever had purchased. She completed the timed oral readings with each student and allowed them to complete the documentation of the results on their own. They kept a graph of the results of all of their reading checks. Each one they completed, they recorded the date and made a bar on a graph to show what their reading rate is in words per minute.

Click here to view an example reading checkout.

Kevin was just finishing up recording his reading check on his bar graph. As he shaded the bar for today, his eyebrows raised slightly and a tiny grin formed at the corner of his lips. This is so cool, Kevin mused. When I started doing these reading checks, I was getting about a 30 every time. That's 30 words per minute. Ms. Dever wants all of us to work to try and get 100. I was at the bottom of the pile. Today I got 70 words in a minute! Maybe this stuff works after all. Ms. Dever saw an interesting look on Kevin's face as he recorded his information. When he finished, he sat back in his chair with a tiny smirk on his face. She realized that is the first time this year she has seen him show any emotion. "What's fired you up today, Kevin?" she asked. "Nothin'. Just did better than last time," came a dismissive reply. "That's what we want to see. Glad you're improving!"

Kevin could see that he was improving, but he was still reading smaller shorter books than his friends. He still felt embarrassed of the books he was carrying around. But for the first time in many years, he felt like some day he might not have to feel that way.


  1. Can you apply the method used in DI where students track their own progress to an experience of your own where this method was useful?
  2. Ms. Dever does not post the students' reading checkout scores in her classroom, but other teachers do. Debate a common practice of posting students' progress to promote healthy competition.
  3. Develop your own record keeping utensils for tracking student progress in reading. What would they look like? How would the students use them? Compare and contrast your tools with those shown for some DI materials.
  4. Explain how you might use this record keeping method in other curricular areas beyond reading.

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