Assessing Reading Progress: Setting Goals and Monitoring Progress

Guided Reading instruction is critical in students’ reading progress.  Accurate levels, appropriate goals, and consistent monitoring will bolster that progress!

Guided Reading picture Cartoon

I consider Fountas and Pinnell to be the experts on guided reading and if you need to know why, check out my earlier posts which discuss their Continuum of Literacy and guided reading resources.

In order to get the most bang for your buck in guided reading, you must make sure your students are leveled appropriately and you are consistent in monitoring their progess towards an appropriate goal.  Let’s look at these a little more closely.

Assess your students’ instructional levels

  • Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System:  this assessment will most accurately align with guided reading levels.

assessClick pic for more info

  • DRA2 assessment is acceptable, however be aware this assessment is set up to find independent- not instructional level.  The manual does give instructions on finding instructional level so find that information before testing students!

untitledClick pic for more info

  • If you do not have access to an assessment product, you can still assess your students levels as long as you have leveled books and know how to conduct a running record.  Click here for info on taking and scoring running records.  A Google search is also full of running record information.  After taking he running record, the following information will help you determine whether the level is independent, instructional, or hard for the student.


To determine appropriate levels and set goals

  • First know the guided reading levels for your grade level. 


  • Compare their levels to the grade level expectations


This will inform you of how to proceed…students who are “Approaching Expectations” are your Tier 2 students and should be seen at least 2-3 times a week for guided reading…and those in “Does Not Meet Expectations” are your Tier 3 students who you need to see daily for guided reading.  The heading at the top will help you set goals for each group of students.

Monitor students monthly progress

  • Use this resource to track students’ monthly progress towards their guided reading goals


Keeping track of this information is critical to maximize your students’ growth during your guided reading lessons.  You MUST take constant running records to ensure students are in the correct group.  Be prepared to use the running record information to move students to higher- or lower level groups.  Need instructions on running records- click here.  Each student will move at their own pace and this is why groups need to be flexible.  Don’t impede students progress by having them in incorrect level groups.   This is about the only way you can really mess up guided reading!! 

So move ahead- but with appropriate knowledge of where your students are, and where you need them to be.



2 thoughts on “Assessing Reading Progress: Setting Goals and Monitoring Progress

  1. good information. it clear and to the point with useful links incase readers need details. Nice work!


  2. Thank you! So important to have resources to assist in improving reading instruction…glad you found it helpful!


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