Thursday, January 13, 2011

Basic Reading Inventories (BRIs)

Soon you will be getting reports of your child’s reading progress.  Some teachers may share your child’s BRI scores.  The BRI is a reading inventory that is given three times a year to all 1st -8th grade students.  Even if your child is in a special program for reading support, they are given the grade level passage.  This assessment helps teachers recognize which students have specific strengths and needs in the area of reading.  The Basic Reading Inventory measures three aspects of reading:

RATE: Reading rate is measured in words per minute.  The reading inventory is timed and then converted to a words-per-minute score.  Each grade has guidelines for the rate children should be at in the fall, winter, and spring.  Of course, you should always look for your child’s score to increase!  The best way to increase reading rate is to practice reading every day.  Even 15-30 minutes will help improve your child’s fluency. 

ACCURACY: As children read aloud to the tester, they are marking any miscues (mistakes) your child makes.  They are carefully trained to catch 4 main kinds of errors.  Substitutions occur when your child says a word that doesn’t match the word that is printed.  Your child needs to learn to look carefully at print and make sure what they say matches both the beginning and end of the word.  An omission happens when your child skips a word, or possibly a line.  When children skip lines it sometimes lets us know they are having trouble with return sweep or tracking.  An insertion is marked if your child adds a word that is not on the printed page.  Sometimes students are reading so quickly they just say what makes sense, without checking closely.   A reversal is marked if your child reads the words out of order.  Most students will recognize this doesn’t sound right and make a correction.  Repeating a word, phrase, or sentence is not recorded as an error.  Many children use this strategy to build meaning and check their own correctness.  The end goal of our reading program is to help teach children a self-extending system of self-monitoring so they can fix-up reading errors.  Therefore, self-corrections are also not counted as errors.  However, repetitions and self-corrections take time and may lead to a slower reading rate. 

COMPREHENSION: After reading the grade level passage, the tester will ask your child 10 questions.  Most of the questions are based on factual recall.  However, one of the questions is a vocabulary term, one is based on making an inference (reading between the lines), and one question requires the child to evaluate an event and rationalize why.  Understanding what is read is a top priority.  If your child struggles with comprehension, have them practice summarizing or retelling after every few pages when they read with you at home.  This will help them learn to focus, think, and ask & answer questions while they read independently!

The best recipe for reading success is choosing books at the right level and practicing daily.  Working together we can help your child find success.
Borrowed with permission from J. Smith, Title I teacher, Pence Elementary, Fairfield, Iowa