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Assessing Reading Difficulties

How do you find out what the children need for Reading RTI (Response to Intervention) time?
Assessing Reading Difficulties: Here are some ideas to help figure out what instruction struggling readers need for improvement

Our district gives the DIBELS three times a year:  In September, January, and May.  As long as the children are working at grade level and showing growth, there is no need for additional assessments. If the children are working below level, or are not showing adequate growth in reading skills, they are followed more closely by Progress Monitoring, accompanied by additional instruction or alternative instruction.

DIBELS will help figure out which kids need help.  Then what?

Quick Phonics Screener can help you find a deficiency in decoding skills more quickly and more specifically than DIBELS or other assessment tools. It's a one on one assessment, and can be done in a couple of minutes. (Google Quick Phonics Screener! There are several low priced options.)

I would prefer QPS used nonsense words, but I'm unable to find a copy online. This gives a true measurement of how the child does at "sounding out" the words without relying on the visual memory.  (I've known more than one reading deficit that was masked by a strong visual memory!)

I keep my QPS materials in a folder with the child's copy laminated and plenty of record sheets in the pockets.  If I notice a kid is not showing the desired growth, I'll find a couple of minutes to pull the child and guide them through the screening.  There is no "set way" to record what the child does, but generally I try to write something so I'll remember the mistakes the child made. (That's often a key for teaching!)

Looking closer, you'll see the order of subtests is in a logical order:  letter ID, letter sounds, cvc words, cvc words with blends, cvce words, r controlled vowels, cvc with digraphs, vowel pairs, words with prefixes or suffixes, two syllable words, and multisyllabic  words. The QPS suggests if a child misses 5 or more in a section, that's the skill needed.

Quite often, the teacher is already aware that the child has a specific reading issue, since we read with our children daily. But this is a way to record what's going on and drive instruction.

Assessing Reading Difficulties: Here are some ideas to help figure out what instruction struggling readers need for improvement


  1. I feel that DIBELS is great thing to make an improvement in those children which show performance below the normal level. And i supposed that it may be help for dyslexic children as well as normal people.

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  3. when I click the link to your QPS I get the message page not found :-( please help! thanks, Shea


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