How to Assess the Reading Process

With Dr. Beth Scott: April 20, 2009

About Dr. Beth Scott

  • Reading Specialist
  • Doctorate from the University of Maryland
  • Works at Penn State Harrisburg in Pennsylvania

Four Reading Processes

  • Think-Alouds
  • Interview
  • Error Detection Task
  • Questionnaire


  • The Student reads a passage and stops in the middle to discuss what they just read.
  • Restating or elaborating on what they read.
  • Produce responses that are connected to the text.
  • Example: Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Students may make a connection when Goldilocks was in the woods with a basket walking to her grandma's house by saying they like to go see their grandma.
  • Individual


  • This occurs after the reading has taken place.
  • The teacher can ask specific questions to the students about what they read.
  • Determine how students are thinkng and what strategies they are using.
  • Evidence of metacognition (Ex: How they figured out an unknown word).

Error Detection Task

  • There are errors embeded in the text.
  • Students have to read and identify.
  • Example: The mother put the 'lion' in the baby carriage; the student would identify that the baby should replace lion.


  • Can be in a variety of forms.
  • Includes a question stem or statement.
  • Response: 4 choices the students can choose that reflects their thinking about a task.
  • Whole Group

Advice for Teachers

  • Questionnaire is a great way to begin the process to find out what the students are thinking about.
  • Group students according to how they use strategies.
  • If you find students who may be struggling, you can do a think-aloud with the student.
  • Then do an interview.
  • Error Detection Task is not an effective text processing assessment (it complicates student responses)
  • Should not rely on just one technique

Advice for Principals and Policy Makers

  • Encourage teachers to look at the student's process and get the reading specialist involved.
  • Find ways and time to examine what students are doing during reading so we can help with instruction.

Advice for Parents

  • Give kids leway of thinking.
  • Let the kids talk about what they are reading and discuss it with them.