Thursday, July 31

How I Work With Students to Self-Monitor While Reading

Teaching children to read takes a LOT of work. Important work. Powerful work. Work by students, work by us. There are SO many layers in learning to read, that it can very difficult AND very rewarding!

Don't we all have those students who sound beautiful when they read, yet have difficulty comprehending?

Or students who miscue while they read...a miscue that changes the meaning of the text and they just keep reading on?

And students who omit, insert or substitute words that makes their reading way off grammatically, yet they continue on and on?

Me, too.

These are students that have not quite developed strong, integrated Self-Monitoring behaviors.

We all teach students that do this and sometimes we go a little gray in the hair department or have an extra dose of coffee while we try to figure out how to reach them the best.

In the past I’ve tried a variety of techniques and strategies…with varying degrees of success…depending on the reader (of course).

1) Trying to “catch” them self-monitoring and praising their work like crazy saying things like,

“You just caught yourself!!! You worked it out and now you’ll understand!!”

“That sounded goofy/wonky/like gobbledy-gook and you stopped to figure it out! Whoop Whoop!”

“Did you just notice your amaaaaaaaaazing reading work? You didn’t just keep reading to get to the end, you were determined to make it look right, sound right AND make sense!”

2) Sent congratulatory notes home…so that kids are proud of their hard work and race to their parents to share their love note and then the parents know what to congratulate and notice while their sweethearts read to them.

3) Tally marks next to goals on goal-setting pages from Building STAR Readers. That pack is all about building STAR habits while reading. (S=Study T=Think A=Ask R=Respond) 

4) Have them use sticky notes to mark spots in their books to encourage them to slow down and be more aware of their thinking. (This image is found at Julie Ballew's site.) I pinned it to my School Stuff Board so I always have it handy.

Anchor Chart for sticky notes

5) While reading aloud, make intentional mistakes and stop to demonstrate self-monitoring and then identify the cueing system(s) where the mistake was made. 

For example, read, "The elephant's claw is very large," or "She ate the candles." Students can help you identify that it does NOT make sense. You can show them the text and have them help you figure out what it really says or you can have them offer suggestions that DO make sense.

When you miscue for visual/looking right, your miscue impacts syntax and/or meaning to the listeners. 

6) Whole group, small group and partner work to find proof and cite evidence in reading passages such as these from Finding Proof (which has been updated to streamline the look of each page and include additional content). 

This is all well and good….BUT…I’m not in small group or one-on-one settings every minute with every kid. #notpossible

We have to teach them to TAKE CHARGE of their own reading so that they self-monitor without us - every time, all the time.

I struggled to find resources for exactly what I was looking for, so I made one…

There are a variety of options for students to practice....I use the teaching projectables to introduce and practice theself-monitoring concepts and then follow up with having students work on the printables. I also included tracking forms so students can visually see how they are doing in regards to self-monitoring...

This pack is available as part of my Reading Workshop Bundle as well as in a Self-Monitoring Mega Bundle which contains some extra printables for practice looking closely across a whole word from beginning to end.



  1. I like to video tape my students so they can critique themselves. They are usually harder on themselves than I am on them.

  2. I use whisper phones with my students so they can really hear themselves reading :)


    1. Winner Winner! I will send the pack over in a few minutes. :) Thank you for stopping by!

  3. We use easi-speak micro phones to record themselves, then play back with the teacher☺️

  4. I do a lot of modeling in my small and whole groups. Also in small groups we might read a page at a time and then discuss what happened. Or I have one of them reread a part aloud that has a tricky part. I can usually catch who wasn't self monitoring that way. Your pack looks great at giving them some extra practice:)

  5. I teach a class of only 12 kids, because they are the school' slowest rising second graders. One of the best ways I learned to teach self-monitoring is to observe their reading aloud a short passage. I tell the what they did well, what I want them to work on, and a possible strategy. All this goes on a post-it note on the text. The next day, they read again, and rather than tell, I ask what they did well, if the strategy helped, what they improved, what strategy might work next, etc. we up their ideas on a post-it note, too. It's easy for me to remember each child's goal day-to-day, and they love getting the notes with specific feedback and goals!

    Love your ideas and packet!

  6. I am a first year teacher, but have observed others use whisper phones to help students listen to themselves, praise what students did well & teach a mini-lesson on one & focus on that the next day or set goals. This packet looks wonderful and I would LOVE to implement it with my little firsties!

  7. I made my own whisper phones for each student (Lowe's gave me a discount on the PVC pipe). I've noticed that they slow down and actually listen to themselves read. They also improve on catching their own mistakes. I would love to use this packet with my firsties this year!

  8. I think the Daily 5 is great at helping kids self-monitor. It allows you to pull back groups and confer with kiddos one on one to really target skills and I think Read to Someone is a great D5 choice at getting the kids to teach each other to self-monitor.

    Amanda Bryant
    A Traveled Teacher

  9. I have students read aloud to themselves or use whisper phones. I also make sure to stop when I make a mistake while reading aloud and model self monitoring strategies.
    Jeny K.

  10. I've modeled self-monitoring by making a mistake during a readaloud, then demonstrating how I fixed my error.

  11. I also use whisper phones to help students self-monitor. They love being able to hear themselves read. When they're reading to a partner, the partner is encouraged to praise the reader when "good reader strategies" are being used. This helps both students learn to recognize strategies to self-monitor. Your pack looks like a wonderful resource! I'd love to use this with my class!


  12. I use whisper phones when the students read independently. During group reading when a student gets stuck, my other students wait three seconds and ask, "Do you want think time or coaching?" If the child asks for coaching the others offer various reading strategies. I love how the students praise each other when their classmate finally gets it.

  13. I model during read alouds, we partner read alot and I guide them during conferring. I want whisper phones and would love your newest pack!

  14. I have used whisper phones as well as the post-it idea. We write down what doesn't make sense and I teach them to re-read a sentence if it doesn't sound quite right. This packet looks fabulous!!!

    1. Winner Winner! I will send the pack over in a few minutes. :) Thank you for stopping by!

  15. Since I can't listen to every student every day, I have the students read together daily. The "audience" factor makes them want to read their very best.

    tokyoshoes at hotmail dot com

  16. I make mistakes when doing my read alouds, the kids love catching me making an error and helping me correct the error so that it looks right, sounds right and makes sense. We use the Sisters' action for cross-checking from about Day 3 of school so they love using it when they are doing Read to Self using Whisper phones -- it makes it so much easier to hear the mistakes they make.

  17. I always keep a list of current strategies we are learning next to my Guided Reading table. After reading a short selection I ask students to share which strategy they used, where they used it in their reading and their thought process in "fixing" the text. Seeing peers model this process encourages more reluctant students to participate.
    Your monitoring packet is fantastic! Can I buy it on TPT? Thanks!
    Alex B.
    Alexknapp at gmail dot com

  18. I use whisper phones and sticky notes. We place sticky notes next to the fix - up strategies as we use them. They also keep track of strategies they are using and how it helped them in their readers response notebooks. Thanks for the chance to win!

  19. Oh my gosh Lisa! this is fabulous! I used your Finding Proof resources last year and they are so effective girl! We'll start next week using them again!
    Hope you're having a great new school year!


© Growing Firsties. All rights reserved.
Design by Laugh Eat Learn // Theme by Pipdig