Marking a Running Record
Administering Running Records uses specialized terminology that is important to learn. Review the terms and explanations below for more information.
- Errors (E) — Errors are counted whenever a reader does any of the following:
Substitutes another word for a word in the text
Omits a word
Inserts a word
Has to be told a word
Mispronounces a word (not a result of dialect; creates a nonword)
- Self-correction (SC) — Self-correction means the reader recognizes the error and corrects it. When this occurs, do not score the previous substitution as an error.
- Phonics — The reader uses phonics to decode the words being read. Phonics skills vary by age, grade, and instruction. Younger readers may not have experience with long vowels and may read all words with a short vowel sound. This should be noted so the teacher knows this child is ready for long vowel phonics lessons.
- Morphology — Morphemes are the smallest units of words that have meaning and cannot be divided further. The most common mophemes are root words and affixes. A reader may use their knowledge of a word root and affixes to determine the pronunciation and meaning of the word read.
- Guessing — Some readers use this skill when they are attempting to read very quickly or if they have developed a habit of skimming as they read. For instance, if the word is ran but the reader says ‘runned’, this would indicate the reader is not attending to the graphemes in the word but rather trying to make sense as they read. Or, the reader does not know the word and rather than attempt to decode makes a guess.
While the student reads, mark the running record form with the appropriate symbols. Table 1 on the Taking a Running Record page will help you familiarize yourself with them. We've also provided a sample of a completed running record form below. Before working with students, practice taking running records with another teacher, who pretends to be an emergent reader.
Use the boxes to the right of the lines of text to gather information. Start with the first line, marking the number of errors in the "E" column. Then, tally the number of self-corrections in the "SC" column.
If you find the information useful, you may evaluate the errors and self-corrections to determine if they resulted from meaning, structure, or visual cueing. For each error or self-correction, write "MSV" in the box and circle the appropriate letter. This optional information is a way to further examine reading behaviors.
When you've completed your review, total the number of errors and self-corrections at the bottom of the columns. Use the Scoring and Analyzing a Running Record page for information on how to calculate the error, accuracy, and self-correction rates.