Ten Things I Think About When Sitting Silently During Benchmark Assessments

(Note: I wrote this a few weeks ago and forgot to post it. So ..)

I am finally nearing the end of the first round of Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Reading Assessments with my students. It takes forever! The data is very useful and the one-on-one work with students is enlightening and helpful in classroom practice. It does give you a pretty good snapshot of a student as reader. But it takes forever! Mostly, this is because there is a piece of silent reading that the students do. For the slow readers, this can take a long time. And the teacher just sits there.

So, in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek effort, here are the (not-quite-real) Top Ten Things I Think About When Sitting Silently During Benchmark Assessments:

  1. Why in the world is she looking up at the wall? She should be reading the book. Eyes down, kid. Eyes down! Oh wait, she’s done and waiting for me to say something. Ahem.
  2. Those three teachers on the F/P box are old friends of mine. Hello, friend. How is your day? Boy, you sure look happy there, giving that reading assessment to that smiling kid. Look at that smile! Just look at it! You look like you and that kid are reading a comic, not a book about “The Internet” or “The International Space Station”!
  3. Oh. No. Not the tsunami book again. No. Please, dear lord. Not that one again.
  4. I wonder how I would do if I were the student and old Mr. Dudak (my sixth grade teacher) were sitting next to me, trying to look busy, as I read silently, knowing that he would be writing notes about my reading as I read and talked. Maybe not so well. I’d wonder what he was writing about me.
  5. What’s that humming sound? Where’s that coming from? Wait. Now it’s gone. Wait. Now it’s back.
  6. I wish they would add a few graphic stories in the mix. That would shake things up a bit.
  7. Come on, kid, how long does it take you to read five paragraphs about animal adaptations? (Looking at the clock out of the corner of my eye so as not to make him nervous.)
  8. What if the reading pieces here were multimedia? A F/P video game? An interactive video story?
  9. Yikes. Will I even be able to read my handwritten notes later? Will anyone else be able to read my notes later? Double yikes.
  10. This kid is way below my expectations. Now what? (Corollary thought: this kid is way above my expectations. Now what?)

Peace (in the F’n P),


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