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Cody Is In First Grade. He Almost Never Raises His Hand To Participate In Class Discussions

Cody is in first grade. He almost never raises his hand to participate in class discussions. When called on, he replies very briefly. He tends to use vague words like stuff and rarely uses full sentences. During decoding exercises, he reads words accurately and easily recognizes common patterns; he is a good speller.

When he reads stories aloud, he reads fairly accurately but in an expressionless monotone. Which assessment would be most likely to yield valuable information about Cody?

This question is a part of the LETRS Unit 1 Session 1-8 Check For Understanding answers.


Reading a story to him and having him orally retell it.

Let’s understand why having Cody orally retell a story read to him would be a beneficial assessment:

Rationale for Choosing the Assessment:

  1. Assessing Comprehension Skills: By reading a story to Cody and asking him to orally retell it, you can evaluate his comprehension skills. His ability to recall key details, characters, the sequence of events, and other story elements can provide valuable insight into his understanding.
  2. Evaluating Expressive Language Skills: Since Cody tends to reply briefly, uses vague words, and rarely uses full sentences, asking him to retell a story will shed light on his expressive language abilities. This can help determine if his reluctance to speak in class is due to a lack of understanding, language processing issues, or perhaps a lack of confidence or anxiety.
  3. Understanding Depth of Vocabulary: By retelling the story, Cody’s usage (or lack) of specific vocabulary words from the story will show whether he’s grasping the vocabulary or if he tends to generalize terms, as indicated by his use of words like “stuff.”
  4. Checking for Prosody: Though this wasn’t the primary reason for the assessment, listening to Cody retell a story can provide more insights into his prosody (intonation, rhythm, and pacing when speaking). Reading in an “expressionless monotone” suggests he might struggle with prosody, which is important for understanding and conveying meaning.
  5. Reducing the Cognitive Load of Decoding: Since Cody demonstrates good decoding and spelling skills, the act of reading might not be where his challenge lies. By having someone else read to him, you remove the decoding aspect, allowing Cody to focus entirely on comprehension and expression.

Given the described characteristics of Cody, the assessment of having him orally retell a story that’s read to him offers a holistic approach. It captures data about his comprehension, expressive language skills, vocabulary usage, and potentially even his prosody.

This information can then be used to tailor interventions or supports to help him improve in the areas where he might be struggling.

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