To: Educators Everywhere
From: Department of Authentic Reading Evaluation
Date: Spring of Any School Year
We wish to begin by thanking you for all of your efforts on behalf of young readers during the past school year.
As you know, a critical literacy assessment, the TSR (Test of Summer Reading), is just around the corner. The TSR is required of all students in every grade, school, and state each summer. For specific information about the date and time that your TSR window will open, please consult your school district calendar. Window lengths vary by state and district.
The purpose of the TSR is to determine whether the instruction provided during the school year has equipped students to maintain authentic reading lives during the summer break. It is our hope that this year’s gradual and intentional release of responsibility has left your students inspired and equipped to keep reading throughout the summer. Preparing students to carry on as independent and agentive readers outside of the school setting is, of course, the ultimate goal of reading instruction.
The TSR is comprised of the four strands and 8 sub-strands shown in Table 1.
The following section of this memo highlights some categories of students who are particularly vulnerable as summer readers. Even though time may be very limited time before the summer assessment window begins, it is urgent that you to do whatever you are able to prepare these students for success on the TSR:
- Dependent readers – Dependent readers are at high risk of not meeting proficiency on the TSR, since they have not developed high levels of agency and independence as readers. Although these readers generally comply with the reading requests of their teachers during the school year, their struggles on the TSR are attributable to a lack of initiative, intention, and/or desire as readers. They tend to be dependent on school structures, leveled book baskets, teacher prompting, reminders, points, prizes, comprehension quizzes, and other teacher controlled measures in order to carry on as readers. They read because we ask them to, but rarely because it is something they choose.
- Emergent readers – It is important to note that proficiency on TSR does not require students in early stages of reading development process every word in the texts they encounter during the summer months. These readers can also accumulate points toward the TSR in a variety of ways, including, but not limited to:
- rereading predictable texts multiple times
- using their developing oral story language to “read the pictures”
- retelling familiar stories using books as a scaffold
- studying visual features in informational texts
- listening to texts read aloud by more proficient readers (parents, care providers, siblings, friends, relatives, and audio recordings are all on the list of approved read aloud facilitators for supporting TSR success.)
- Isolated readers – Although readers at all ranges of reading proficiency can encounter difficulty in the Book Finding strand, some may be more isolated from sources of high-quality texts during the summer months, due to economic and/or geographic factors.
- Important Note: Your school team may consider special accommodations for these students in order to facilitate access during the summer testing window. These accommodations may include, but are not limited to, book giveaways, extended hours for school libraries, transportation to public libraries, access to books at parks and recreation sites, internet, Little Free libraries, garage sales, exchanges with friends and neighbors, book stores, etc.)
Although we understand that your students have already participated in many assessments this year, your vigilance in preparing for this final assessment is imperative. Because the skills assessed on the TSR are so vital, students who fail to achieve a passing score will be required to forfeit 2-3 months of progress in the coming school year. This penalty is often referred to as the Summer Slide. The resources below will help you to better understand the Summer Slide and how to prevent your students from experiencing this detrimental learning loss.
We wish to thank you in advance for your commitment and creativity in preparing students for success with the TSR. Results will be available as students return to school in the fall.
3 Keys to Safeguard Students from the Summer Slide – Kari Yates
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