Basic Reading Inventory (B by jfm16066

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									 Basic Reading Inventory (B.R.I.)

        Christie Cortese
Language Development & Literacy I
        Professor Person
         April 20, 2006
                               Table of Contents

Introduction                                       2

Student Biography                                  2

BRI Definition, Explanation, & Administration      3-7

The Administration Process                         7-12

Overview Outline                                   13

Graded Word Lists- Strengths & Activities          14-16
      Strength 1 & 3 Activities                    14
      Strength 2 & 3 Activities                    15
      Strength 3 & 3 Activities                    16

Graded Word Lists- Weaknesses & Activities         17-19
      Weakness 1 & 3 Activities                    17
      Weakness 2 & 3 Activities                    18
      Weakness 3 & 3 Activities                    19

Comprehension- Strengths & Activities              20-22
      Strength 1 & 3 Activities                    20
      Strength 2 & 3 Activities                    21
      Strength 3 & 3 Activities                    22

Comprehension- Weaknesses & Activities             23-25
      Weakness 1 & 3 Activities                    23
      Weakness 2 & 3 Activities                    24
      Weakness 3 & 3 Activities                    25

Suggestion to Parents                              26

Reflection & Final Thoughts                        27

       On April 1, 2006 I assessed my eleven-year-old neighbor, Michael, in reading

using a Basic Reading Inventory or BRI. In the afternoon we worked together for about

an hour and a half in Michael‟s computer room. We sat face to face on beanbag chairs,

Michael felt most comfortable this way. The house was quiet, since we were the only

ones inside. Michael was very excited to help me for school.

       Michael is eleven years old and in the sixth grade. He lives with his mom, dad,

younger sister, and black lab, Charlie. Michael is an active boy who likes to play outside,

ride his bike, and go fishing. In school Michael‟s favorite subject is science. He does not

like to read books but does enjoy reading magazines about cars, motorcycles, and ATVs.

Michael‟s hobby is racing motorcycles. He travels with his father to Pennsylvania or

upstate New York on Sunday mornings to race with other children his age. He is doing

really well this season and won second place in the championship race. Michael‟s family

has a house in the Poconos where they like to relax, ski in the winter and use their boat in

the summer.

       I have known Michael for about six years. I have babysat for him and his sister

many times. Michael is a very active child who loves to play outside and get dirty.

Whenever it is sunny outside I know Michael will be working on his motorcycle in the

driveway or riding his bicycle down the street. According to Michael‟s mother, Maria,

Michel has trouble in school with reading. He does not like to read what is assigned to

him because he is not interested, therefore he has a lot of trouble getting the work done

and also remembering what he read. On the other hand, Michael does have a vast amount

of knowledge about things he is interested in such as science, motorcycles, and bicycles.

He likes to read and learn about these topics in his spare time.

       The Basic Reading Inventory or BRI is a test administered to a student or child, in

an informal manner, to figure out what reading level the child is at. The BRI contains

graded word lists and graded passages that begin at the preschool level and go the entire

way through twelfth grade. Each word list contains twenty words the student should

know for that grade. For example, the first grade level contains many Dolch words the

child should have learned already or is currently using in class. The graded passages are

about a paragraph size each. Beginning in the pre-primer category the passage contains a

picture to go along with the story. Also, the font is large and the sentences are double-

spaced. As the passages go up in level there are no pictures, the font becomes smaller,

and the paragraph is no longer double-spaced. Once the child has finished reading the

selected passage the test administrator will then ask a series of comprehension questions.

There are five different types of questions which include; topic, fact, inference,

evaluation, and vocabulary.

       Once the BRI has been completed the test administrator will tally up the total

correct answers and the total wrong answers for each level to grade what reading level

the student is actually reading at. The BRI consists of three levels, independent,

instructional, and frustration. The independent level is where the student can read

fluently without help. The child should have very few or no repetitions at this level and

his or her comprehension is at 90 percent. The child reads with near excellence in terms

of word recognition. This level is where the child reads for recreation. Furthermore, an

independent reader can read all schoolwork and reading materials alone. At the

instructional level the student is challenged but is not frustrated. The child will have

some problems reading materials at sight and will need to reread the material silently to

comprehend it. At this level the child can use context clues in order to understand

unknown words. In addition, the child is a fluent reader but will repeat some words or

phrases. Finally, the frustration level is a level in which the material is too hard for the

child to read. Ironically, many children are asked to read at this level since textbooks are

geared one level above the grade level they are used for. At this level, the child will most

likely refuse to read, lack expression when reading orally, have difficulty pronouncing

words, and move his or her lips when reading silently.

       To administer the test it is important for the instructor to know what grade the

student is in. Once that is established the test administrator should start the child at a

lower level in order for success. For example, if the child is in second grade the test

administrator should start the child off on the kindergarten level. The child should know

the majority of the words on this level if not all. The child will have a positive

experience and want to continue the test. Once the child reaches the level of frustration

the test should be stopped. It is also important to tape record the procedure in order to

accurately document exactly what the child is reading. Sometimes the child will read

very fast and the administrator will not be able to write everything down.

       The graded word lists are the first part of the test. These lists help to provide

insight on how the student identifies words and also show the extent of the student‟s

vocabulary. The word list should be cut out and pasted on construction paper in order to

make the inventory more appealing to the student. The administrator will have a copy of

the word list that also contains a special section to record what the child has read. The

child will begin to read the list out loud and can use a bookmark to slide down the list if

necessary. While the child is reading the administrator will follow along and place a

check mark next to any correct word in the sight column. If the word is wrong the

administrator will write exactly what the child stated. Finally, when the child is finished

reading the list, the administrator will ask the child to go back and reread any word they

had gotten wrong. If the child corrects his or her mistake the administrator will place a

check mark in the analysis column. If the child does not correct his or her mistake or

again states the wrong word the administrator will write exactly what the child stated.

The uncorrected answers will count against the child‟s final score. After each graded

word list the administrator will add up the number of words the child got correct and

score which level the child is at. In order for the child to score on the independent

reading level they must have a total of 19 or 20 correct answers. To be placed on the

instructional level the child can have a range of 18 to 14 correct answers and for the

frustration level 13 or less out of 20. The child will be tested on the graded word lists

until he or she reaches the frustration level. The instructor will record all results in the

word recognition word list section of the performance summary sheet.

       The next step in conducting the BRI after the graded word lists is to move onto

the graded passages. To begin, the test administrator will hand the student a passage,

which should be a level or two lower than the child‟s grade so the child can gain success.

The administrator will cover up the passage and only show the child the title and the

picture if there is one. The administrator will now begin to test the child‟s prior

knowledge by asking questions about the title. This segment of the BRI will also assess

the student‟s ability to make predictions and assess his or her vocabulary. The test

administrator will then rank the student‟s background knowledge on a scale of high to

low on the word recognition-scoring guide for that graded passage.

       Once the child beings to read the passage the test administrator will follow along

on their scoring sheet and record the student‟s responses. The administrator will write

down any mistakes such as; substitution of words, insertion of words, omission of words,

reversal of words, and repetition of words or phrases. The administrator will also record

if the child self corrected the mistake, had teacher help or if the teacher told them the

answer. Once the child is finished with the passage the administrator will then ask the

child comprehension questions. The first thing the child will be asked to do is to retell

the story in their own words. This will be graded on a level of excellent, satisfactory or

unsatisfactory. Next, the administrator will ask a series of comprehension questions

provided on the comprehension-scoring guide. These questions will test the child in five

different areas including topic, facts, inference, evaluation, and vocabulary. Once all

questions are answered the administrator will add up the number of wrong answers. This

score is recorded under the comprehension oral reading section on the performance

summary sheet. The rankings are as follows; 0 to 1 question missed: independent level, 1

½ to 2 questions missed: independent/ instructional level, 2 ½ questions missed:

instructional level, 3-4 ½ questions missed: instructional/ frustration level, and finally 5

or more questions missed: frustration level. Again this section of the test should be

stopped when the child reaches the frustration level.

       Once the inventory is finished, the test administrator can go back and look over

the word recognition-scoring guide for the graded passages to finish scoring the child‟s

reading. However, if the administrator chooses to do so he or she can score right after the

child has finished the comprehension section of that passage. The administrator will look

over what was recorded and place a check mark for each substitution, insertion, omission

and reversal. The check marks will then be totaled and scored. If the child has a

significant miscue, such as one that changes the meaning of the story, there will be a

check mark placed in the box for either repetition, self-correction of an unacceptable

miscue and/or meaning change (significant miscue). These check marks are also totaled

and then added to the total number of miscues. The scoring for this section is as follows;

0-1 total miscues and/or 0-1 significant miscues: independent level, 2-4 total miscues

and/or 2 significant miscues: independent/ instructional level, 5 total miscues and/or 3

significant miscues: instructional level, 6-9 total miscues and/or 4 significant miscues:

instructional/ frustration level, and 10 or more total miscues and/or 5 or more significant

miscues: frustration level. These scores are recorded under the context section on the

performance summary sheet.

       When I arrived at Michael‟s house he was just finishing up his lunch. He decided

it would be best to work in the computer room. It is upstairs, away from everyone, so we

would not be interrupted. At first we sat at the desk with two chairs, but there was not

much room and we were uncomfortable. Michael decided that it would be best to sit on

the red beanbag chairs in the corner of the room. We sat facing each other. Before

Michael and I got started, I talked to him about school, his friends, and his motorcycle. I

wanted him to feel relaxed. Next, I explained to Michael what we were going to do. I

explained to him what the BRI was and explained exactly what he would be doing.

Michael said to me, “This is going to be so easy!” I was glad that he felt this would be

effortlessness and was eager to begin.

       Since Michael‟s mother had previously told me that he had trouble in reading, I

decided to start him on the third grade level for the graded word lists even though he is in

sixth grade. He read the whole list correctly, in about five seconds, and was placed on

the independent level. I told Michael to try and slow down for the next word list so that I

could make sure I heard him correctly. Michael was sure that the next list was also going

to be a breeze so I handed him the fourth grade list and he began to read. This time

reading slower, he got all of the words correct except for the last two, prairie and

moccasin. I asked him to go back and reread number 19, prairie, because “I could not

hear him too well.” (I made sure I told him this rather than that he got the word wrong.)

He read it again but still was unsuccessful, as he was also with number 20. This score of

two wrong placed Michael on the instructional level for the fourth grade reading level.

       I asked him if he was ready to move on and he was still eager and willing so I

handed him the fifth grade word list. Michael did well on this level. On his first try he

got two words wrong, blister and terrace, however, when he had a chance to correct

himself he ended up getting terrace correct. His final score was a 19 placing him on the

independent level for fifth grade. Next, I asked Michael if it was okay to move on and he

was ready so now we went to the sixth grade list. On his first try, Michael got six words

wrong but was able to correct three on the second time around finishing with a total score

of 17. His level of reading for sixth grade is at the instructional level. At this point we

took a two-minute break so Michael could use the bathroom.

        Once Michael returned I handed him the seventh grade word list and told him

when he was ready he could begin to read. Michael took much more time with this list

and had a little bit of trouble. He finished with six words wrong. One interesting thing I

noticed was that Michael never sounds out words, he seems to just guess. I gave him the

chance to correct the words he got wrong and Michael fixed only one. He finished with a

score of 15 and was placed on the instructional level for seventh grade. Before handing

him the next word list I asked him if he was bored or wanted to stop but Michael did not

mind, he wanted to keep going. We were now on the eighth grade level and the difficulty

began to increase. If Michael was having trouble with a word it seemed as if he would

say anything he thought it was instead of sounding it out, however, he usually got the

beginning sounds correct. Also when he stated a word it was in question form as if he

was asking me if he was correct. All in all, Michael did not do too badly; he only got

seven words wrong and was able to correct three on the second try. Michael‟s final score

on the eighth grade level was a 16 placing him on the instructional level.

       Now we reached the high schools grades and I was interested to see when

Michael would arrive at the frustration level. I thought he was doing fairly well since he

was able to correct himself each time and stay on an instructional level. As he began to

read the word list for ninth grade he became very fidgety and I assumed he was going to

only give me about five more minutes. He did well on this level, starting off with six

words wrong and correcting four. He finished with a final score of 18 and was placed on

the instructional level once again. I asked Michael if he wanted to stop and he said no.

So I handed him the list for tenth grade and told him we would be done soon. As

Michael read this word list he was moving all over the place; sitting up and laying down

etc. His attention span was getting shorter and shorter but he would not give up or stop.

On this level Michael got five words wrong and then was able to correct one, finishing

again on the instructional level.

       Finally, when we reached the eleventh grade Michael hit the frustration level. He

had a lot of trouble with many of the words but he kept trying. He finished with eleven

words wrong and only could correct two. His final score was 11 or frustration level. At

this point I told Michael to go take a break and I began to check over my notes. At first I

thought that if Michael‟s attention span was longer he may have done better but after

reading my notes I realized that he had a lot of trouble reading the words for the eleventh

grade list. He may also have had trouble since he has probably never seen many of those

words or does not use them on a daily basis. Overall, I thought Michael did a great job

with the word lists.

       Michael went downstairs to take a break and have a snack. Once Michael was

done we went back upstairs and I explained to him that he would be reading to me a few

short passages and then I was going to ask him questions about what he read. His reply

was, “Oh boy, I hope these aren‟t boring.” I assured him that the passages were not

boring and that they were so short it would not even matter. After reviewing my notes on

the graded word lists I decided to start Michael on the fourth grade level for the passages.

Third grade seemed to be too easy for him on the word list section. We again sat on the

bean bag chair but this time we sat next to each other rather than face to face. I began by

placing the passage on the floor and covering up the paragraph only showing Michael the

title. I asked him to read the title, which was “Fire and Animals,” Michael did and then I

asked him what he thought this story was going to be about. He simply said, “fire and

animals.” So I tried to pry more information out of him, he gave me some ideas such as a

barn or wood fire, a fire dealing with dragons since they spit fire, and fire ants. We also

talked about camping and the Boy Scouts. It was very hard to get Michael to give me any

background information. I could tell he had a lot of knowledge but his imagination level

was low. He read the story with ease, was very fluent, and was attentive to punctuation.

He did not repeat any words or phrases but he did have a couple of substations, one

omission and one insertion. Next, I put away the passage and asked him to retell the

story in his own words. He knew the main points but was not very detailed. Finally, I

began to ask him the comprehension questions. He got all of them right and knew the

answers very quickly. Michael‟s total score for the context passage was a six which

placed him on the instructional/ frustration level however, for the comprehension section

Michael scored on the independent level since he got all of the questions correct.

       I decided to move on to the next level, grade five. Michael and I followed the

same procedure as before and again it was very hard to get prior knowledge from him.

The title of this passage was “The Mystery” and Michael simply told me this story was

going to be about a mystery. I asked him many questions which prompted more answers

such as a mystery about a ghost or someone who stole something. He also told me about

the mystery book series he likes to read called Goosebumps. Again I felt he that has a lot

of knowledge but he has a hard time getting it out of his head. Michael read this passage

with ease but had many substitutions. One ongoing pattern is that he always substitutes

“the” for “a.” He finished this passage on the instructional/frustration level. However, I

continued to test him at one more level since the same mistake was made over and over

and he did not seem to have a lot of difficultly reading. For the comprehension section

Michael retold the story in sequential order but left out details and one of the characters,

however this did not affect his answers on the comprehension questions. He got all of the

comprehension questions correct and received an independent score in this section.

       Michael and I moved on to the grade six level. Again, his prior knowledge was

hard to activate. The title of the passage we were working on is “Keep Your Distance”

and all Michael could really tell me was that it was going to be about staying away from

something, perhaps a bear since they are dangerous. I kept asking him questions but he

would say “I don‟t know” or he would laugh so we proceeded with the story. Michael

read with ease and again most of his mistakes were in the substitution category. He had a

total of five miscues and was placed on the instructional level. His retelling was very

vague, he had the main points but was once more lacking in details. Michael got all of

the comprehension questions correct and was placed on the independent level for grade

six comprehension.

        As we proceeded on with grade seven, Michael had much more prior knowledge

for the passage. It was about guerilla soldiers and I think that this interested him because

he had many insights to offer. Michael had a lot of difficulty with this passage. He did

try to read with expression and he kept going when he said the wrong word even if it

made no sense or was not a word. Michael‟s biggest problem again is in the substitution

category; however, most of his substitutions do not change the meaning of the story

which is why his comprehension is so superior. For this graded passage Michael scored a

total of 11 miscues which placed him on the frustration level. I knew it was now time to

stop the passages, yet I did finish the comprehension questions for this section.

Michael‟s retelling suffered in this section, he knew some main points but not all and was

lacking in detail. He only missed four out of the ten comprehension questions placing

him on the instructional/ frustration level. I felt it would be too hard to go on so I stopped

the test.

      Graded Word Lists                        Comprehension

Strengths                             Strengths

1. Beginning Sounds                   1. Fluency & Attentive to Punctuation
       a. Hang Up the Wash                   a. Play Practice
       b. What‟s My Beginning?               b. Read Around the Rosie
       c. Unscrambled Eggs                   c. Me & My Buddy

2. Vowel Teams/ Diphthongs            2. Vocabulary
      a. Daily News Reporter                 a. Personal Dictionary
      b. Steps                               b. Synonym Detective
      c. Diphthong Detective                 c. Absolute Analogies

3. Digraphs                           3. Inference
       a. Pick Me! S or C?                    a. And Then What?
       b. Scavenger Hunt                      b. Dear Journal,
       c. Spell It With Me                    c. Guess Who

Weaknesses                            Weaknesses

1. Silent Letters                     1. Prior Knowledge/ Predictions
        a. Flash Cards                        a. Magic Genie Predictions
        b. shhhh! Word List                   b. Creative Drawing
        c. Unscramble Activity                c. Prediction Challenge!

2. Short Vowel Sounds                 2. Fact Comprehension Questions
       a. Felt Fill-ins                       a. Tell Me Tower
       b. Matching                            b. Spider Web
       c. As Fast As You Can!                 c. Police Officer

3. Word Endings                       3. Retelling
      a. Crossword Puzzle                     a. 5W & H game
      b. Spelling Bee                         b. Puppet Show
      c. Segmentation Race                    c. Buddy Play

                         Graded Word List Strengths

Strength #1: Beginning Sounds- Michael got the beginning of the following words
correct but could not pronounce the ending: maternity, radiate, crochet, beneficiary,
composite, renaissance, inquisition, & lenient.

       a. Hang Up the Wash- A long piece of yarn or clothesline will be strung across

the classroom. Hanging off the yarn by clothespins are construction paper cutouts of

pants. The pants have the ending part of a word written on them. The student is given

clothespins and cutouts of shirts with the beginning part of the word on them. The

student will hang the shirt next to the pants to make a full word.

       b. What’s My Beginning? - On a felt board laminated word endings will be hung

up using Velcro. The student will be given a stack of laminated beginning sounds to

stick next to the endings to create a word. Mixed into the stack will be beginning sounds

that do not belong with any ending sound. The student will have to sort through the sack

and figure out what sounds actually make a word.

        c. Unscrambled Eggs- This activity should be played in pairs and almost

resembles flash cards. One student is given a stack of large cards with word endings on

the front and the full word on the back. He will then scramble up different letter cards

that are in the shape of scrambled eggs. These letters must include the beginning of the

word plus a few more letters. The other student will have to unscramble the letters, or the

eggs, and place them next to the word flash card to make a full word.

Strength #2: Vowel Teams/ Diphthongs- Michael did very well with the vowel teams
ar and ou. Whenever a word included these teams Michael always read it correctly.
These words included: nervous, lizard, scarlet, kindergarten, marriage, backward,
nightmare, vocabulary, monarch, extraordinary, camouflage, perpendicular, honorary,
variable & artisan.

       a. Daily News Reporter- The teacher will tell the students that they are going to

pretend to be news reporters. The teacher will tell the students to listen for certain vowel

teams in her next few sentences. The students will write down what the teacher has

stated and will then underline all of the vowel teams they were told to listen for.

       b. Steps- This activity can be done on the chalkboard, whiteboard or on a pre-

made worksheet. The teacher will draw a set of stairs that has a vowel team written on

the top step. Next, the teacher will write a word on the first step. This word must contain

the vowel team that is at the top of the stairs. On the second step the student will write

another word that contains the same vowel team. The student will keep doing this until

he reaches the top of the stairs and the teacher can make a few or many steps.

       c. Diphthong Detective- In this activity the student is assigned to read a

newspaper or magazine article of his or her choice and highlight the different vowel

teams. Each vowel team is highlighted in a different color. The student will then tally up

each vowel team and then graph his or her results.

Strength #3: Diagraph- Michael knew his sh and ch sounds or diagraphs every time
they were contained in a word. Some examples of the words he got correct are
accomplishment and bachelor.

       a. Pick Me! S or C- This activity is to reinforce the sh and the ch sound in words.

The teacher will write out a number of words that contain the above diagraphs however

the „s‟ or „c‟ will be missing. The student will have to figure out if the word makes the sh

sound or the ch sound and then fill in the appropriate letter.

       b. Scavenger Hunt- The teacher will assign a certain diagraph and write it on the

board. The students will then be asked to walk around the room and find 5 items with

that diagraph in their spelling. Once the students find the items they are to go to their

desks and write down what they found on their scavenger hunt. When they have finished

writing they will circle the assigned diagraph in their words.

       c. Spell It With Me- Cards are handed out to students that each contains a

digraph. The teacher will display a phonogram card. Any student whose card combined

with the teachers will make a word, will stand next to the teacher and spell the word out

loud together. The students will go back to their seats and then the teacher will pick a

new phonogram card.

                       Graded Word List Weaknesses

Weakness #1: Silent Letters- Michael had a lot of trouble with words that contained
silent letters. For example, with the word pneumonia, Michael kept trying to pronounce
the „p‟. Also, with the word knapsack, Michael was trying to pronounce the „k‟ sound.

       a. Flash Cards- In order to practice the pronunciation of words that contain silent

letters flash cards will be used. These cards will have an array of words that are simple to

hard and include silent letters. Using flash cards will help to read the words quickly and

know their sound on sight. Traditionally, flash cards are used with the teacher holding

the card up to the student and the student will tell the answer. This traditional method

can be used or the student can be timed each round he or she goes through the deck and

will try to beat his final time with each new round.

       b. shhhh! Word List- This is an activity where the child can create a word list

containing words with silent letters. The “shhhh!” in the title is a pun for the silent

letters! The child will be able to take out this word list anytime during daily lessons and

write down any word he or she hears, reads or sees with silent letters. As the list builds

the child can use it for reference and review.

       c. Unscramble Activity- This activity begins with the teacher writing on the

chalkboard a word all scrambled up, which contains silent letters. The child will be told

what the word is and will then have to unscramble it and write it down on a piece of

paper. The child will be learning the sound and spelling of the word and will also be

asked to underline the silent letter(s) in the word. The teacher will make sure it is correct

before the child can go onto the next word. If it is wrong the child and teacher will go

over the spelling and sound together.

Weakness #2: Short Vowel Sounds - Michael had a lot of trouble with short vowel
sounds. In many of the words he always assumed the long vowel sound was present. For
example, in words such as moccasin, custody, siesta, cuticle, and fraudulent, Michael
pronounced the long „a‟, „o‟, „i‟ sound rather than the short sound.

       a. Felt Fill-ins- This game is played on a felt board. The child will be given the

felt cutouts of all vowels. The teacher will spell out a word on the felt board using other

letter-felt cutouts. This word must contain a short vowel sound. The teacher will leave a

space where the vowel goes. The child will have to fill in the space with his or her

vowel. The child must then say the word, spell the word, and again say the word. The

teacher and student can also take turns on who picks the word and who fills in.

       b. Matching- This is a simple activity that can be done using a worksheet or

actual items in the classroom. The object of this activity is for the child to match the

picture to its word. The word must be a word with a short vowel sound. If actual

classroom items are being used the teacher will write the word on the chalkboard and the

child or students will have to find that item in the room. For a more advanced activity the

teacher can also use words that do not have short vowel sounds and the students must be

able to decipher the difference.

       c. As Fast As You Can!- This is a fun game that can be played with one student,

the whole class, or teams. The teacher will call out a word that contains either a short or

long vowel sound. The student(s) will be required to clap once, as fast as they can, when

they hear the short vowel sound. If they hear a long vowel sound they should not clap.

Weakness #3: Word Endings- Michael had trouble with a word; instead of sounding the
word out he would substitute letters and create a new word. For instance, with the word
harmonica, he stated „harmonicle‟ and with the word perpendicular he stated
„perpendaclory.‟ Also with competition he stated competitive and with the word
composite he stated „composit.‟ The substation would always be at the end of the word
therefore creating a weakness with word endings.

       a. Crossword Puzzle- One way to enforce phonics basics is to have students do

crossword puzzles of words used daily by them. The understanding of simple sounds

will be learned as well as spelling. Children can also create their own crossword puzzles

for the whole class.

       b. Spelling Bee- Another way to work on the arrangement of words, word sounds,

and word endings is to have a spelling bee. A traditional spelling bee can be used or to

reinforce Michael‟s problem with word endings the teacher can add a twist to it. Instead

of having the child spell the whole word, the child will only be required to spell the last

syllable or word ending. The child will say the word, spell the ending, and say the word

again. This can be used on one child or the whole class.

       c. Segmentation Race- This game is played on a felt board that is designed to

look like a racetrack. The child is given felt cutouts of horses that have letters printed on

them. The child will be vocally given a word and have to spell it out using the horse cut

outs. The beginning sounds or letters of the word are placed on the starting line, the

middle sounds or letters are placed in the middle of the track and the ending sounds or

letters are placed at the finish line. When done, the child will spell the word out loud and

say the word.

                           Comprehension Strengths

Strength #1: Fluency & Attentive to Punctuation- Michael was a fluent reader and was
attentive to punctuation. Even if he read a word wrong he would keep going. He had
very few repetitions and used expression in his voice.

       a. Play Practice- In order to reinforce fluency, expression, and punctuation while

reading students can be given plays to read. Each student in the play would be a different

character, be required to use different voices and really express him or herself as they

read. This is a fun activity for all age students. In the upper levels students can write

their own plays for the class to read aloud.

       b. Read Around the Rosie- This is an activity for a small group of students, five

or less. The students will sit in a circle and chose a book or short story. Each person will

read one page out loud all around the circle. Students will be able to develop their own

fluency as well as listen to others. Furthermore, the teacher can sit in the circle to read

and also model fluent reading. Students will then repeat what the teacher had read with

the same type of expressions.

       c. Me & My Buddy- This activity is for partners. Two students will get together

and read to each other a book they chose. Once they are finished each student will pick

out their favorite sentence or paragraph and read it out loud to the whole class with as

much expression as possible.

Strength #2: Vocabulary- Michael was very good with vocabulary. Even if he had poor
comprehension of the story and was unable to use context clues for the vocabulary word
he still could give me a clear definition.
       a. Personal Dictionary- This is a fun activity for students, which gives them the

opportunity to create their own personal dictionary. The student can design the cover

using construction paper and markers. Lined paper will be stapled inside like a book.

The students will be able to use their dictionary anytime they come across a word they do

not know, understand or ever heard of. The student will write the word down, create

their own definition using context clues and then write the word in a sentence. The

dictionary will then become a source of reference for the child.

       b. Synonym Detective- The student will write each vocabulary word or any word

they choose, on one side of a construction paper cutout of a magnifying glass. Next, the

student will have to write 3 to 5 synonyms for each word on the back of the magnifying

glass. Then, students can play a game with partners. They will hold up the magnifying

glass showing their partner the synonym list. The partner will be the detective and have

to guess what the word on the other side is. To make this game more advanced,

antonyms can also be mixed in the list.

       c. Absolute Analogies- A good way to practice vocabulary words is to use

analogies. Students can do analogies of vocabulary words on a pre-made worksheet or

they can play this fun game. The class will break into two teams. Team A will create the

analogy and Team B will have to figure out the answer. Team A will orally recite the

analogy to Team B and then Team B will have 10 seconds to figure out the answer

together. If they get it correct, Team B will now be able to make a new analogy, if they

get it wrong Team A will make another analogy.

Strength #3: Inference- Michael showed good use of inferencing skills. In the
comprehension section he got all of the inferencing questions correct, on each level,
whether or not he had trouble with the story.

        a. And Then What?- This activity will reinforce inferencing skills. The student

will be given about three sentences or a short paragraph from a story. They will then

have to figure out what happens next. It could be what a certain character will do or say,

or it could be about an event. This can be done after reading the whole story to also

reinforce comprehension or it can be done before reading the outcome to reinforce

prediction skills.

        b. Dear Journal,- Using inferencing skills the student will be required to write in

a journal the cause and effect of certain events in a story. The teacher can also alter or

change the causes from the story and the student will then have to write different effects

due to those causes.

        c. Guess Who- The teacher will tell students a story about a person, place or

thing. The teacher must never give away the actual name of this person, place, or thing.

Using context clues from the story the students will have to guess who or what the

teacher is talking about. This is also great to use in social studies to have students guess

the place they are going to learn about. For example the teacher may say, “I am going

somewhere very hot. There is no water around for me to cool off and it never ever rains.

I will use a camel for transportation and have to wear a lot of sun block. Where am I

going?” Obviously the narrator is going to be in the desert.

                            Comprehension Weakness

Weakness #1: Prior Knowledge/ Predictions- While quizzing Michael on prior
knowledge of the story based on the title I found this to be a weakness. Michael was very
vague in his explanations and would really just repeat the title back to me. For example,
for the story “Fire and Animals” Michael told me the story was simply going to be about
fire and animals. He did not want to elaborate and it was very hard to pry more
information out of him.

        a. Magic Genie Predictions- This activity requires some artwork on the teacher‟s
part. On a piece of poster board the teacher will draw a genie‟s head with a turban
divided into three parts. In the first part, the student will use markers and write what they
think will happen in the beginning of the story based on the title and pictures. In the
second part the student will write what they think will happen in the middle of the story
and finally, in the third section the student will write what they think will happen at the
end. The student can color the whole poster and check their predictions when they have
finished their story or book.

        b. Creative Drawing- This activity requires students to draw a picture based on
the title of the book or story. The students will also write a paragraph about their picture
and then another paragraph to predict about the story. This activity will help spark
imagination, creativity and use prediction skills.

        c. Prediction Challenge! - The class should sit in a circle to begin. The teacher
will tell the students the title of a new book or story. Then the teacher will ask the
student sitting to the right of them what the student thinks the story will be about. The
student will give an answer and the next student in the circle will have to add on to the
first student‟s idea by telling what will happen next. Each student will tell a new event or
what will happen from the previous student‟s idea while going around the circle. The last
student, or the one on the left of the teacher, gets to tell the ending of the story.

Weakness #2: Fact Comprehension Questions- Michael had trouble with the fact type
comprehension questions, especially in the upper levels. He got more of these questions
wrong than any other type. In order to help him pull facts from the story some activities
are listed below.

       a. Tell Me Tower- For this activity the teacher will draw a tower or large

building. On each floor of the building there will be a question about the story. Starting

from the bottom the questions are very general and get more and more detailed to the top.

The bottom level can contain the setting and characters. The next level can be designated

for the plot. The next level after that can be for the problem or conflict in the story.

After that the levels can be for the solutions or outcomes. The student will have to fill in

each level.

       b. Spider Web- A replica of a spider web is made out of yarn. The student will

be given index cards to write down the title, author, setting, characters, plot, problem,

solution, and ending. The student will then clip the cards onto the yarn or web with

clothespins. The student can also add a card with a picture dealing with the story and can

also draw some bugs and spiders to add to the web!

       c. Police Officer- After a story is read to the student the teacher will tell the child

to pretend they are a police officer. The student will have to get all the facts from the

story to tell how the problem was solved. The student must “interview” each character or

tell facts each character would give about the problem.

Weakness #3: Retelling- Michael had a hard time retelling the each passage he read. He
always got the main points correct but left out lots of important details, this happened on
all levels.

        a. 5W & H game- This activity can be played in partners or with student and

teacher. One person will ask the questions who, what, when, where, why and how? The

other person must answer each question about the story. This will work on retelling and

pinpointing each last detail.

        b. Puppet Show- The students will make their favorite character from a story into

a puppet. This is most easily done with a paper bag and some art supplies. They will

then put on a puppet show having the character retell the story. This activity can be done

with one student using one puppet or a group of students acting out all of the characters

from the story.

        c. Buddy Play- Buddy Play is an activity in which two students or buddies act out

the story for the whole class. They will have to concentrate on telling the beginning,

middle, and end. They will also be responsible to act like different characters, which will

help to have the students remember all details.

                    From the desk of Ms. Cortese…….

                                                                               April 20, 2006

Dear Mr. And Mrs. Spiller,

        Your son Michael was assessed in reading using a Basic Reading Inventory or

BRI. With the use of graded word lists and graded passages Michael‟s reading level was

confirmed to be independent at the fifth grade level. This means that he can read fluently

at this level and does not require any help. For his actual grade, sixth, he is reading at an

instructional level. At the instructional level Michael is challenged but he is not

frustrated. Michael is also at the instructional level for seventh grade and for eighth

grade he is at the frustration level; the material is just too hard for him.

        Michael‟s strengths in reading include, beginning sounds, vowel teams, and

diagraphs. He is also strong in fluency, vocabulary, and inferencing. Michael has trouble

with silent letters, short vowel sounds, and word endings. Furthermore, Michael needs to

work on prior knowledge and making connections to the story, taking facts out of the

story and retelling the story with sufficient details.

        Michael will be working on many activities in class to reinforce his strengths and

to build up his weaknesses. I would also suggest for Michael to read at home for

recreation. He can read anything he likes from a book to a newspaper or educational

magazine as long as he is reading everyday. Please feel free to contact me with any

questions or concerns.

                                                                                 Thank you,
                                                                                 Ms. Cortese

        After conducting a full Basic Reading Inventory I was able to generate some

thoughts and concerns about the test. First of all, I felt that the test does not give a

comprehensive outlook on a child‟s reading ability, especially for the upper grade levels.

The word lists for the upper grade levels have the same amount of words as the lists for

preprimary to second grade. I feel that for grades three through twelve there should be

more words on the list. Furthermore, I felt that for grades eight through twelve the

passages are too short. Most standardized tests for reading comprehension have long

passages, ones with four or five paragraphs. In order to more effectively test the

student‟s reading comprehension ability the passages should be longer and contain more

details and events. However, the BRI is an informal reading assessment that does give

specific insight into a student‟s strengths and weaknesses with reading.

        On the other hand, I felt that the BRI was easy to conduct and kept the child‟s

interest. Michael and I took about an hour and a half to do the whole test and Michael

did not want to stop, even when the levels began to get harder. He did get fidgety from

sitting and I thought I was going to lose his attention span but he kept going.

        Finally, I felt that the grading of the BRI was rather confusing. For example, a

student can go from independent to instructional and then back to independent as the

levels rise. Therefore, I do not think the BRI levels of independent and instructional have

enough weight deciphering them apart. The level of frustration is however, very

accurate. When the material becomes too hard the child is frustrated and obviously

cannot go on. Finally, I feel that the BRI was most accurate in finding a student‟s

strengths and weaknesses in word recognition and comprehension.


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