Basic Facts About Reading Assessment
If your child is struggling in school and has not learned to read usually by the end of the third grade, you definitely need to find out why. You want to know the nature of his problems and find solutions to his difficulties.
There are many reasons why your child cannot read and/or is struggling to read. If you think your child has reading difficulties or has a language/reading disability (dyslexia), you need to get an evaluation as soon as possible. Administered by professionals, an appropriate diagnosis includes a physical check-up, an ability test: oral and written, expressive and receptive language development tests, and a history of school performance and family background.
In addition to the test conducted by your child’s physician and/or psychologist, a reading assessment is essential for identifying your child’s reading problem so that solutions can be developed to improve his reading skills. There are two different types of assessment in identifying students at risk for reading problems: a screening test and an individual test.
A screening test is a brief assessment used by school systems with their student population to determine which children seem prepared for reading and which students may be at risk for education or learning problems. Usually administered by classroom teachers, your child’s teacher should be able to tell your son’s reading level and if he is below his grade level in reading, he needs an individual reading assessment. Screening tests such as Fountas & Pinnel, PM Benchmarks Kit 1 & 2, Reading A-Z and DRA level are limited and can NOT identify a student’s problems that need to be evaluated. They should NEVER be used in place of a comprehensive reading evaluation and also, ask your child's psychologist if he can diagnose dyslexia because not all professionals can do it.
An in-depth evaluation of a student is needed because of specific concerns. It should measure your child’s decoding and receptive language skills using standardized and in-house/informal assessments.
The decoding part of the assessment should include tests of the alphabet, word recognition, phonics, rate and fluency, and passage comprehension, The receptive part should include tests that measure listening comprehension and vocabulary such as phonological/phoneme awareness, phonological memory, and rapid naming
After the diagnosis, you should expect a full written report that is clear and understandable which includes a recommendation for an appropriate solution to your child's learning difficulties
Finally once you have the assessment report look for a specific tutor to help your child's learning to read and spell difficulties because not all tutors can help your child specific learning issues
Be your child's ADVOCATE!