Reading Assessments: 2 Effective Ways to Measure Reading Engagement

As teachers and readers, we understand the importance of nurturing a love for reading in our classrooms. We use reading assessments, “just right” books, clear expectations, read alouds, and a positive environment to foster reading engagement. However, we must keep in mind that not all students come to school with the skills they need to engage in their reading.

There are two reading assessments that I use and recommend for monitoring reading engagement in the classroom: a reading interest inventory and a reading engagement inventory. Once you have the data you need, you can identify students who need some intervention and make a plan to optimize reading engagement for all your students!

“Without engagement, you’ve got nothing.”

Jennifer Serravallo
This post includes a description of and a freebie for two reading assessments for engagement

What is Reading Engagement?

Reading engagement goes way beyond reading the words on a page. It involves active mental and emotional participation. During reading, students should be visualizing, asking questions, and making connections. Ideally, they will be ready and excited to share their thoughts about reading with others.

There are two effective reading assessments you can use to help set up your students to be fully immersed in their reading. Using a reading interest inventory is a great way to help make sure students are getting books they love. However, having the books is only half the battle. Using a Reading Engagement Inventory can help you see the reading behaviors that occur during independent reading time.

Reading Interest Inventory

A reading interest inventory is a questionnaire or survey that is used to gather information about students’ personal reading preferences and interests. After giving this reading assessment, you will gain valuable insights into your students’ individual tastes, allowing you to tailor instruction and book selections to match your students’ preferences.

The most important factor of reading engagement is making sure your students have “just right” books that they are excited to read. These books can be decodable or leveled depending on your students’ abilities and the resources you have at hand. You can use the information from the reading interest inventory to create positive and engaging reading experiences for your students.

Use this reading assessment to help you find books your students will love.

Reading Engagement Inventory

A reading engagement inventory is a great way to monitor which students are fully immersed in their reading. As you (or another trusted professional) watch the students read, you code students’ behaviors. Some of the typical items included on a code are “on task”, “looking around”, and “reacting to text”.

Here’s how it works:

  1. List your students’ names in the first column.
  2. Observe your students during silent reading time.  If you have an instructional coach or student teacher who could do the observation while you are working with a small group of students, that would also work.
  3. While you are observing students, fill out the form according to the code.  Try to fill in at least three time periods for each child, especially for those where there is a concern.

Reading engagement inventories are a reliable way to monitor and assess your students’ reading habits and engagement. The information gained from these assessments can help you organize reading conferences and reading groups to address any concerns. You can learn more about reading engagement inventories as well as other reading assessments from Jennifer Serravallo’s awesome book, The Literacy Teacher’s Playbook.

A engagement inventory is a great reading assessment to see who is focused during silent reading time.

Both reading interest inventories and reading engagement inventories are great reading assessments for reading attitudes and engagement. Reading interest inventories provide valuable information about the types of books students love as well as their attitudes toward reading. Reading engagement inventories dive deeper, looking into on- and off-task behaviors during reading time. Both inventories can you plan lessons that will build engaged, enthusiastic readers.

Grab the Freebie!

Are you ready to tailor your instruction to meet your students’ reading engagement needs? See below for a free download that will help you meet this goal. The download includes the two reading assessments mentioned here: a reading interest inventory and a reading engagement inventory. As a bonus, I included a list of lessons, strategies, and prompts you can use with your whole class, small groups, or individual writing conferences. Give these assessments and strategies a try and watch your students’ reading engagement flourish!