If you have never completed a reading engagement inventory on your students, do it... I bet you will find the results fascinating! An engagement inventory is an observational tool used to record if your students are “engaged” in reading or writing about a text during independent reading time.
Reading Engagement Inventory Worksheet
I use a chart set up with boxes at five-minute intervals (available for download; customize the times to your own class period). I like to use these codes:
√– engaged l – library
r – reacting w – window/around the room
t – teacher n – notes
Every five minutes, I look around the room to see if my students are: P– engaged in reading; r – reacting to the text; t – watching me, instead of reading; l – browsing in the classroom library (this tells me how long it takes a student to select a book or if he/she is using the library to avoid reading); w – staring out the window; n – notes/writing about the text. I simply record the code in the row next to the student's name every five minutes, for 30 minutes.
I am always shocked to see just how much time my struggling readers spend avoiding reading, how long it takes my procrastinators to actually get started, or the amount of time my students that dislike reading use to do anything but read. This information is very useful for individualized instruction and goal setting. Depending on the grade level I'm working with and the students’ maturity level, I will share the results with them. The data collected helps the students set goals for themselves. For example, a struggling reader may set a goal to increase his or her time spent reading (if that is an issue). A procrastinator may work on getting started within two minutes of the directions being given.
I try to do an engagement inventory for my students once a month, and especially, close to parent conference time. The information I collect about my students using this engagement inventory helps me get to know them as independent readers and workers, and allows me to hold a parent conference confident that I know their child's independent reading behaviors. I think you will find this tool to be invaluable. Download it today!