Analyzing Running Records - MSV Made Easy with a Freebie!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Since mid-year benchmark testing is here, I thought it would be helpful to talk about getting the most information out of those running records as possible.

Analyzing errors and self-corrections in running records can give you SO much information. This information can help you to determine what your students are using to decode words and what they need to work on. 

Take a running record of a student reading a passage or short text aloud. Be sure to record what their errors are above the word they read incorrectly or self-corrected. Need running records? Check out the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project for some FREE ones! You can also do a running record of any book a child is reading.

Let’s take a look at an example:

Take a look at each error and self-correction individually to determine whether or not the student was using meaning, structure, or visual information while reading. Notice if students are over-relying on one type.

Analyzing Errors:
Ask: "What type of information did the child use when they made this mistake?"

Analyzing Self-Corrections: 
Ask: "What additional information did the child use to correct the error?"

M – Meaning: Does this error make sense?
This student read screamed for cried, and self-corrected after reading burn for bury. Errors using meaning show that students are comprehending what is happening in the text or by using the pictures. It is evident that this student was using meaning after self-correcting the word bury in a sentence. This student understood that the word didn't make sense in the context of the sentence. I would work with this learner on using visual information (paying close attention to the letters/word parts in the words) along with meaning. 

S – Syntax/Structure: Does this error sound right?
This student read it for that, to for for, and my for her. These errors are acceptable in the English language and fit the structure of the text, without changing the meaning. I can hypothesize that this student was using syntax/structure when reading.

V – Visual: Does this error look right?
This student read glazed for gazed and Gliman for Gilman. Glazed does not make sense in the context of the story, nor does it fit the structure of the sentence. Gliman is a little different because it is a name. This student’s error doesn’t change the meaning or structure of the sentence. Because the beginning and ending sounds in the words were read correctly, these errors do show that the student is attending to visual information. I would also note that the student needs to work on reading through the entire word by recognizing known word parts to help them decode.

The goal of MSV = Self-Correction 
We want students to be able to monitor and self-correct on their own. Avoid immediately pointing out errors to students. If they do not self correct, guide them to reread the entire sentence instead (helpful prompts below). We should give students strategic actions to use with any book, rather than just guiding them through the book you're reading. 

Prompts to guide students:

  • "Run your finder under the word and read all the way through it."
  • "What strategy could you try here? (chunking, covering up part of the word, familiar word parts, etc.)"
  • "Try that again and keep the story in your head."
  • "If that didn't make sense, remember it's your job to check it again."
  • "What are you thinking about?"

MSV has ALWAYS confused me. Every single time I analyzed a running record I had to Google what it meant. For some reason I couldn’t keep that information in my brain. So I made a cheat sheet (lifesaver). If you want this cheat sheet for yourself, you can download it for FREE from my TPT store!


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  2. Looks great and better than my torn and tattered one. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Great post! So much can be learned from a running record.

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  6. Very helpful. Thanks for sharing.
    I noticed on the prompt section there is an error.
    "Run your finder under the word and read all the way through it."
    Did you mean to type finger instead of finder ? :)

  7. Thanks for sharing .The information shared is very useful.However,I am still not clear about one thing.What if I have taken all the errors in the light of MSV,what is my action plan going to be?What is the importance of evaluating the text in the light of this.What if I dont look at errors in the light of MSV?
    Still I will get an idea of what the patterns are .Please guide.

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