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Recording progress in independent reading for pleasure – a free tool

Some commercial reading promotion projects incorporate detailed record keeping systems that allow schools to monitor the amount of independent reading that students do and their progress. As a much cheaper project set up by a not-for-profit, Rooted in Reading has not, until now, featured this type of facility.

However, an email I received last week from an academy that was about to launch Rooted in Reading reminded me of a spreadsheet that I had begun to create some time ago with exactly this aim in mind.

I have now completed the spreadsheet so that it is in a fit state to release to schools. It has tabs covering all the main Rooted in Reading passports that are used in schools.

The spreadsheet has been designed to be as simple as it can be whilst providing as much useful information about reading progress as possible. Learners’ names can be entered in the first column, followed by key baseline data from KS2. The headings boxes contain comment boxes with explanatory notes.

Each learner should be given a target number of points to achieve by the end of each term (3 per year). For an able, enthusiastic reader this could be 50 points, whilst for a less able reader it could be 30 points. Initially this may be difficult to gauge but it will soon become clear how this can be linked to prior attainment in reading. The learners can be involved in this process. As the passports have different numbers of tasks the targets will vary but in most cases I have suggested a maximum of 5 points per task in order to maximise continuity.

In the green KS2/3 passport two books can be recorded on each passport page. The headings of these pages are recorded, in order, in the spreadsheet. The teacher or librarian who is monitoring each learner’s reading progress will need to read each passport entry that the learner completes and stamp it in the appropriate space. To check on understanding, the teacher may want to engage the learner in a dialogue about the books they have read. Then, in the spreadsheet, the teacher will award a mark out of 5 for each entry, taking into account the difficulty of the book in relation to the learner’s ability and the detail and sophistication of their response.

The spreadsheet will automatically calculate each learners’ total number of points and how far away from their target they are. House points can be awarded to learners who achieve their termly target.

Each different passport has its own tab in the spreadsheet and obviously schools and cut and paste the relevant sections as needed. So, if your school has vertical tutoring and uses tyhis as a means of monitoring reading for pleasure, tutors could well have several different passports being used within the group, meaning they will need to use several of the spreadsheet’s tabs. If, on the other hand, English teachers monitor reading for pleasure they will be able to set up tabs for each class with most if not all of them working on the same passport. Hopefully schools will be able to use the spreadsheet in flexible ways in order to meet their different needs.

If you would like a copy of the spreadsheet please send a direct message to my twitter account, @stevewillshaw, letting me know your email address. I look forward to some feedback on ways in which the spreadsheet can be improved further.

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