Phonics Data Made Simple Blog Post Title

Phonics Tools for Data Collection for Teachers

Having the right phonics tools when collecting data will make your life so much easier. There’s different options you have when selecting phonics tools, but it’s super important that you select the right tool for the job. First, you have to know your students and your goals for collecting data. Know that each child might not require the same assessments at the same frequency. You also want to consider things like: who will be giving the assessments, how long do you have to give the assessments, will they be given one on one or in a small group setting?

Phonics Tools for Collecting Baseline Data

Baseline data should be the starting point of any data collection. If nothing else, you should always know the starting point of students and their skills. This is how you will determine what, if any, progress has been made. Baseline data should be conducted BEFORE any instruction takes place. This data will tell you where the student is instructionally in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. When you are considering phonics tools for collecting phonics data, you want something that:

  • can quickly be used
  • can completed with every student
  • provides an overall view of student success as well as provide specific data on individual sections
  • is easy to understand and evaluate the data
  • is objective in nature

It’s also to important to consider WHY you are collecting the data. In this case, we want to know about phonics skills. So it’s important to use a phonics tool that only measures phonics. I don’t want to give passages and ask comprehension questions, because that’s not what I’m trying to figure out.

What I use:

I use these baseline assessments as my phonics tool for collecting baseline data. These assessments cover a variety of skills and progress from simple tasks (like CVC words) to more complex tasks (like multisyllabic words). With ten words per skill, it’s a super fast and easy way to see how students are doing on each particular phonics skill. From here, I can take the data and use it to guide instruction – I can group students based on their need and determine which phonics skills need the most instruction.

Phonics Tools Assessments (beginning, middle, and end of year)

“Made one-on-one assessment so much easier. With 30+ students and one teacher, I need an effective and quick way to assess students one-on-one. This resource saved my sanity.”

-Victoria F.

Phonics Tools for Collecting Data During Instruction

People underestimate how much data can be collected during instruction. I mean seriously, give me a post it note or a tally counter and I can easily get data about my students. First of all, let’s talk about how I grab the data

What I do:

I like using a post it note or index card divided into sections. As students are reading the targeted words in my small group, I just make a quick tally on my sheet. (Update: I’ve upgraded and also love a tally counter app on my phone – it’s even easier!)

Index card tracking phonics tools

Where do I get the words and materials for my phonics data collection?

Easy – a couple of places:

  • The Ultimate Phonics List by Spencer Learning
    • This FREE list is over 600 pages long. It starts with CVC words and builds through all the different phonics patterns. I like to print the pages and make them into phonics notebooks for my students, but other times I just write the words on my dry erase board. (Oh, and there’s 100% decodable sentences included also so you can add that to your list of phonics tools!)
  • These ready to go phonics units include 30 days of materials for each skill, which means 30 days of opportunity to assess students!
  • Board Games: These are considered to be just phonics tools, you can really use them for any area. Write a word on a dry erase board and have the student read it before they take their turn! This works really well for basic games like Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, Connect 4, and checkers. Even better, you can easily differentiate. You can have 4 students reading from 4 different word lists before they take their turn!

Phonics Tools for for Collecting Data at the end of the Time Period

An important step of data collection is determining the frequency, and the end point. You need to know at one point do you want a ‘final’ score. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t continue working on this skill, but you really need a deadline. As a special education teacher, I think of this deadline when I’m writing IEP goals. But, even if you don’t write goals, you should still have an endpoint.

Ask yourself: At what point do you want students to be able to do *insert phonics skill here*? Maybe it’s by the end of the quarter, or the end of the year, or maybe you want to have your students at 80% mastery at the end of your Fundations unit.

Whatever your timeline is, you need to have something to use to measure your students success at that point.

What I use:

If I’m looking at data at the end of the year, I always use the end of year assessment included in this resource. However, another time frame, like the end of an instructional unit, I will consider things like the assessments the program provided. At times, I may even use the word list from the teacher manual to collect my data!

Phonics Data to Measure Proficiency

In my opinion, having the right phonics tools is the key to making it easier for you to collect and use your data. By asking yourself some hard questions found in this article, you will be lead towards the right phonics tools for you and your students. And, keep in mind, after you find what works for you, you can reuse those assessments year after year!

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