Talking the Talk to Prepare for the Midyear Celebration Walk

For many, January is a time of reflection and goal setting. I began this planning this month to make the most of the new year. As a READ 180 teacher, I reflect on student progress and ways I can support student goals. In READ 180 we set, evaluate, and reevaluate goals throughout the school year. As a class, we set goals each month for number of words read. The week before taking the Reading Inventory, students set individual Lexile goals. I use goal setting and the Reading Inventory results to increase student participation, success, and motivation. 

 Number of Words Read 

Throughout the year and as a class, we set a goal for number of words read. We set four different goals as each student is at their own achievement level. We discuss what goal students think is attainable. We write out our thinking on the whiteboard and make sure everyone is in agreement of the goals. To help you visualize this graduated goal system our current words read goals are: 80,000, 110,000, 125,000, and 150,000 words. Each student is expected to reach one goal in order for the class to earn a reward. Tracking progress through number of words read encourages students to read more frequently. Students talk about reading more at home in order to reach their goal. I’ve often heard students say, “If I wasn’t in Read 180 I never would’ve read this many words” or “I loved that book so much it didn't seem like I read 10,000 words!”.   

About every four weeks, I print the Reading Progress Report for Reading Counts!. This report tells the number of words read. I tell students their number of words and they record it on our goal chart. I’m not sure what’s more satisfying; students reaching a goal or listening to them praise and encourage each other. If everyone reaches a goal we brainstorm reward ideas. Some of the favorite rewards students have chosen: coupon to by-pass one rotation, board game day, pizza party, and outside game time. If a couple students are short of reaching their goal, I encourage my students to motivate their classmates to reach their goal. Students take my advice to heart and actively begin inspiring others to reach their goal. I love hearing them praising and encouraging each other.  Once a goal is met the process starts over by selecting a new number of Words Read goal. 

 Student Teacher Conferences

In September, January, and May, I hold Student Teacher conferences in READ 180. This conference is when students set Lexile goals and we discuss their progress. I look forward to this 1:1 conference. Taking the time to meet individually allows students to talk openly about successes and their personal reading goals. Asking what I can do to support them conveys my genuine interest in their success. 

The January conference begins with asking the student to tell me about the successes they’ve had thus far in READ 180. Often students talk about their success on the software, passing Reading Counts! quizzes, and finding books they truly enjoy reading. 

I want to remind readers that I am teaching with READ 180 Next Generation. Therefore, you may be seeing a name of report not in READ 180 Universal. However, the dialogue from this report, can be recreated using the student’s Lexile and the end of workshop career connections in Universal. During our January conference, we review the Progress to College and Career Report, talk about their September score and how growth is attainable in January. Students choose their goal and write it on a goal sheet. This goal sheet includes documenting their September score, their January goal, and their actual January score. The day of the Reading Inventory, I show students their goal sheet as a way of reminding them of the expectations they’ve set. Post Reading Inventory, we meet again to discuss their growth.  

 Using Data from the Reading Inventory

How many ways do you use the results from the Reading Inventory? When I began to think about goal setting I immediately thought of the Reading Inventory. This assessment plays an essential role in everything students do in READ 180. Listed below are ways I use the results in my classroom.   

•           Software Placement-when students increase their Lexile they will be promoted to a new level of software

•           Independent Reading Selections- a new Lexile score guides independent reading book choices

•           Small-Groups- the Groupinator rBook groups informs optional changes 

•           Parent Communication- share results with parents via the Parent Report and Progress to College and Career Report 

•           Student Growth- monitor growth and everyone. Any and all growth is celebrated! The End of Year Proficiency Ranges help guide our discussion about growth. 

•           Test-Taking Strategies- analyze the Student Test Printout report and work through some of the correct and incorrect answers with them. I encourage them to talk with me about what they did correctly and incorrectly.  

 Setting Students up to be Successful

In conclusion, taking time to set goals and reflect on accomplishments increases student motivation to succeed. When they see their growth in a graph it encourages them to actively participate in READ 180 and read books in and out of class. Students feel empowered when they are able to achieve their personal goals. Over the years, I’ve watched student’s confidence grow as they reach and set new goals. This transformation is a magical part of the READ 180 classroom. 

How do you use the Reading Inventory results to support students? What goals do your students set in your READ 180 classroom? How do you reward students for meeting goals? 


Mrs. Melanie Eskildsen works as a reading intervention teacher with grades k-8 for a small school district in rural Wisconsin. Mrs. Eskildsen also teaches 8th grade English. She earned a degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Wisconsin- Stout in 1998. Later on she returned to UW-Stout to earn a reading teacher license. Teaching READ 180 is the most rewarding part of her school day. She has taught READ 180 Next Generation to grades 6-8 for the past eight years. There are many opportunities for outdoor adventures in Wisconsin. With her family Mrs. Eskildsen enjoys hiking, camping, biking, and snowmobiling.