Activity: Observation of Reading Lessons


This activity provides you with opportunities to observe reading instruction in at least two different classrooms and compare similarities and differences.


  1. Find two or more teachers who will allow you to observe reading instruction in their classrooms. Share with them the recording form you plan to use (see below).
  2. Observe one complete reading lesson in each of the classrooms. Sit in the back of the room and try to be as quiet and unobtrusive as possible.
  3. During the observation jot down notes that will help you fill out the observation form. Do not try to complete the form during the observation session because filling out the form will keep you from being fully engaged in conducting the observation.
  4. Immediately following each observation, complete an observation form.
  5. Once you have two or more observation forms, compare what they show about the lessons you observed. Were the lessons on similar or different reading skills? Were the reading levels of the students similar or different? Was the grouping arrangement similar or different? Were the types of student involvement (e.g., participating in a discussion, completing a practice worksheet) similar or different?

Reading Lesson Observation Form

Grade level(s): Classroom arrangement (e.g., furniture, equipment):
Approximate number of students:
Reading skills taught: [check all that apply]

  • Sight words
  • Word meanings
  • Letter sounds (phonics)
  • Meaningful parts of words
  • Meaningful parts of phrases
  • Oral reading
  • Reading comprehension
  • Using reading to get information
  • Types of written material
  • Other [describe]
Grouping arrangements (e.g., small groups, whole class, individual) [describe all that you observe]:
Types of student involvement (e.g., participating in a discussion, completing a worksheet) [describe all that you observe]: