Everything that I do as a Reading Specialist, when I tutor with any student, is assessment driven. Before I begin work with anyone, I give him or her the appropriate assessments, I then evaluate the results, and I set reading, writing, and word study goals. And then all of my work sessions with that student focus on meeting those goals.
But I (gulp!) never really formally assessed Maddy, Owen, or Cora. Just like the cobbler’s kids running around in bare feet, my own children have been running around un-assessed up to this point. Shame!
The other night, Maddy said for the first time, Mommy, I want you to tutor me so I can learn to read.
Instead of yelling, What are you talking about?!? I’ve been secretly tutoring you for the last five years!! And you can read!! I said, Oh my gosh–I would love to. Let’s set aside some time each day so that we can work. I’ll tutor you the best way I know how.
So that’s what we’ve been doing. I’ve finally (shhhh!) sat down to assess my kiddos. I’ll share in the next few days the details, but today I got through about half of the test I use for my little students in kindergarten, grade one, or (sometimes) younger.
- Snider Test of Phonological Awareness: This assessment is actually an adaptation of the Roswell-Chall Test of Auditory Blending (in Yopp, 1988), but it is my favorite for younger children because it includes a number of different components, it’s quick, and it’s easy to administer.
fyi: Phonological Awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sound units in words. It is actually so important, it’s the precursor to solid literacy development.
Hundreds of assessments exist to test phonological awareness, but this one contains six parts, organized from easiest to most difficult for little learners. It also contains the language you need right in the beginning of each section; you literally read from the page as you administer, and basically, student’s results determine where instruction should begin.
The test begins with Initial Consonant the Same, and here students choose two pictures that begin with the same sound. This shows us that he can understand and isolate the beginning sounds.
The second part is Rhyme Supply, and here students demonstrate that they understand the concept of rhyme and can supply a rhyming word for a given word. Any word counts as long as it rhymes–even if it is a nonsense word.
The third part deals with Substituting Initial Consonants, and this is where things get difficult for the emerging readers. Owen tried this section and ran off to play with his cars. And I was fine. I learned a little from the two sections he completed for me, and I’ll go with that.
Blending, or putting together two distinct sounds (ex: i-n for in) is next, followed by Deleting Initial Consonants (ball, take away b and you get all). These are higher on the difficulty continuum, as is the last part, Segmentation. Students need to actually break the word apart for Segmentation, demonstrating that he or she can isolate each phoneme in a word.
When administering, make notations as you go; write the words your child supplies and circle the word for the first part. If he says something funny, smart, or confusing along the way, write it down! That way, you can file it away and smile at how little and super-cute he was someday down the road when he’s a cranky teenager.
So, what does this mean for us? It just means that if you can administer this to your little ones–even if you just do the first two sections, that you might consider working on the concepts that were a challenge with your child. Or, if this is way too much, ignore this post and carry on as usual. Any little thing we can do to sneak in a bit of learning for our kiddos each day helps. Ha! Look how longs it’s taken me!
If you want more information or activities to use after administering this, check out teachmama’s posts on rhyming, early literacy, letter recognition, and/ or alphabet.