Literacy Assessments and Guides for Children

Literacy assessments are used to collect information and make decisions about how to help children become successful readers and writers. Keep reading to find out how assessing your child's reading ability during the early stages will help him or her become a strong reader.

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Overview of Reading Assessments

Assessment is a key part of effective reading programs. Timely, reliable assessments indicate which students are falling behind in crucial reading skills. These assessments help increase the quality, consistency and impact of instruction by focusing directly on those areas in which students need specific assistance.

Types of Assessments

Four types of assessments are implemented throughout the school year: screening, progress monitoring, diagnostic and outcome. Each type of assessment serves a specific purpose.

Screening assessments help educators identify students who have not attained benchmark skills. All students are usually screened at the beginning of each semester or upon enrollment. Since all students are screened, it is important that these assessments are concise and easy to administer.

Progress monitoring assessments determine if students are making adequate progress or need intervention to read at the appropriate grade level. Progress monitoring can be done frequently for students who are not making adequate progress. This process provides the teacher with valuable information for developing alternative instruction or interventions. Progress monitoring also allows teachers to determine the success of strategies and materials being used and to make changes if student growth is not evident.

Diagnostic assessments help teachers plan instruction by providing in-depth information about students' skills and instructional needs. Some diagnostic instruments also help determine the presence of a developmental disorder that may require specialized treatment and intervention. Diagnostic assessments provide more detailed information about a student's unique strengths and weaknesses than screening or progress monitoring measures can provide.

Outcome assessments are given at the end of the school year to evaluate the overall effectiveness of the reading program. Outcome-based assessments inform instructors and administrators if students have achieved grade level standards. They also document growth from year to year. These assessments allow administrators and teachers to evaluate the effectiveness of core, supplemental and intervention programs.

Reading Guides

Parent involvement is often crucial for children's reading progress. There are many guides for parents on how to use information from assessments to help their child read. Your school district may have a booklet that explains assessments, gives tips and provides reading suggestions.

Websites, such as Reading Rockets and Scholastic, also offer parent guides and a wealth of information about what you can do to ensure that your child becomes a strong reader. Examples include reading aloud with your child and making sure there are a variety of books for them to read at home.

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