Every day the Reading Recovery teacher takes a running record of the book that was introduced the previous day. This is to capture what the student understands about reading. Young children usually think aloud and it is possible to hear what they are trying, rejecting and changing. Marie Clay, the educator who began Reading Recovery, designed a way of recording what the student is doing as he or she reads aloud. A running record is not just the recording of right and wrong words. The teacher uses letters and symbols to record behaviours such as rereading, asking for help, substituting words, saying parts of the word, and self correcting.
Running Records are used to select “just right” books, (e.g. Are there too many errors? Is there too much reading work needed? Does it sound too easy?), and the teaching of appropriate strategies for that child at that time, (e.g. What is the student not doing? Is he noticing an error does not look right? Does it make sense? Is she saying any part of the word?) The teacher records if the child is using meaning (M), the look of the word (V), and the surrounding words in the sentence(S) when an error or a self correction is made. Running records also allow the teacher to document progress over time.