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Assessing Reading During Back-To-School With Close Reads

Assessing reading during back-to-school with close reads is a great way to both set expectations for students and see how they are doing in reading comprehension.

At the beginning of the year, we have to get to know students, set up our classroom procedures, practice our classroom procedures, learn students’ names, and start getting into some kind of schedule.

It can be a lot.

We are also trying to get a feel for where students are at in reading, math, writing, and science. We could just look at their previous year’s test scores or talk to their teacher from the year before, but that doesn’t really give us any idea about how they work through problems, how they find solutions, or how their skills actually compare to their peers.

Instead, we need to find more organic ways of assessing students, ideally in a way that they don’t even realize they are being assessed.

Assessing Reading During Back-To-School With Close Reads

These Back-to-School Close Reads with Mystery Pictures are perfect for assessing reading at the beginning of the year.

The theme of the passages is back to school, so the content is appropriate, and the activity includes reading, answering reading comprehension-based questions, and coloring. It is like a test in disguise.

The passages included in this bundle are 

  • “First Day of School” – a fiction passage about how a young girl from Russia and an American girl view their first day of school.
  • “How Crayons Are Made” – an informational passage about the process used to make crayons
  • “Classrooms Around the World” – an informational passage about what it is like for students all over the world.
  • BONUS FREEBIE “Crayola Company History” – an informational text about the history of the famous Crayola company
Over 100 Close Reading Comprehension Passages for the Upper Elementary Classroom

You can do just one of these close reads or use them to help set up some classroom processes.

Close reads are great for setting up classroom procedures. In this post, we talk about how you can use Close Reads with Mystery Pictures to set up daily procedures in the classroom as a way of organizing the class. 

In addition to organization, students also get to show you how they work through the passage and the questions. 

With the four different passages in this bundle to work through, you can use them in different ways to see how students respond.

Assessing Reading During Back-To-School With Close Reads

First, have students do a whole passage on their own without modeling the close reading strategies. This is kind of like giving them a formal test, and this will be your baseline.

Next, work through one of the passages as a group and discuss the Close Reading Strategies as they are outlined in the teacher’s manual.

Then, let students work through the next passage with a partner. Using guided instruction, take students through the whole process as a group, but students will work with a partner to provide extra support as they learn the process.

Assessing Reading During Back-To-School With Close Reads

Finally, have students do a close read again on their own. 

Now, reflect and document.

  • Did they improve with the implementation of the strategy? 
  • How did they do on the skills that were assessed in each round of reading comprehension questions? 
  • What can you learn about how students handle working through a challenging activity? 
  • How did they do when asked to work with a partner?
  • How did the students respond to instruction? Did they get it right away, or did they need a lot of reminders and redirects?

Using the Close Reads gives you a chance to assess student’s reading skills with your own eyes, see how they handle instruction, and let you see how they work with others. 

This variety of assessments is invaluable as you start the year with your new learners.

Added Benefits of Using These Close Reads

In addition to assessing reading during back-to-school with these close reads, you can also use them to differentiate for students, and check out how they do other skills.

Skills you can assess with students using these close reads with mystery pictures include….

  • Student’s ability to follow instructions.
  • How students handle tasks like coloring.
  • How students learn and develop new processes
  • Attention to detail

Close reads are a strategy that require students to follow very specific processes. How students handle learning and practicing this process can help teachers see how students might respond to other strategies like this one.

As you are assessing reading during back-to-school with close reads, consider other ways they could be used in your classroom.

In this post, we give 5 ideas for how to use the Crayon-themed close read freebie with your students!

If you want to take a closer look at these resources or others available for upper elementary students, check out our on-site store or, if you prefer, our resources can also be found in our Fun in 5th Grade Tpt Store!

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