Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I've leveled my students. What next?

Have you ever leveled your students, progress monitored or looked at your DIBELS scores and thought, "Okay, what now?"

A few years ago, I really began to think about how I teach reading and what assessments I could use to better inform my instruction. I used Running Records to level my students but I didn't have a strong gasp on where to go next instructionally. I needed something that would measure what skills my students were applying when reading decodable texts. I wanted to know what skills I needed to explicitly reinforce. It's hard to tell that from a leveled text. I soon developed these Phonics Reading Assessments. ( I'm not sure if that's a good name for them or not. I don't think it gives a good idea of what they are. Any suggestions?)

These tests have transformed the way I teach reading. Now I can make sure my instruction matches needs and I can pull texts that reinforce the skills the students need. I see great growth in a short time. Out of 28 students this year, I had over 10 who couldn't even read short vowel words in August. Now I have 25 who are at grade level or above. I really think the growth is from providing the right instruction at the right time. These assessments not only help you plan for your strugglers but challenge your high reader as well.

There are 4 assessments and the best part is that each assessment breaks down the phonetic components so you can see the areas to work on next.  The students just read the sentences on a student copy while you follow along just like a Running Record. After the student is finished, you can tally errors and begin to really analyze the student's mistakes. Here are the assessments:

The short vowel assessment is more basic because it tests the 5 short vowels and 3-4 phoneme words. This assessment will show you if a student is missing a particular vowel sound, not blending properly or unable to blend more than 3 phonemes.

Once students can read short vowels fluently, you can give the short vowel blends assessment. This test includes every beginning and ending blend, beginning digraphs and 4- 5 phoneme words. This assessment gives so much information! You will also be able to analyze short vowel errors because many times I've seen students who begin making short vowel errors once they start decoding 5 phoneme words.

The third assessment focuses on long vowels,  r- controlled vowels and common dipthongs.  Due to an increase in text complexity at this level, students are also assessed on their ability to decode words with inflectional endings, compound words and multisyllabic words.

The last assessment looks at a student's ability to apply more advanced phonetic skills. Less commonly used dipthongs, digraphs, long vowel patterns, soft "c" and "g" and inflectional endings are among the skills tested.

If you're interested in these assessments, click here. I think they could really help;especially if you find yourself asking, "what next?"


  1. I am very intrigued by these assessments! I'm on a TpT spending break, but am adding them to my cart for the next round of purchases. :) Thanks for sharing, Erin!
    Smiles - Lisa
    Growing Firsties is getting close to an amazing 400 follower GIVEAWAY, including Erin Condren!

  2. Hi Erin,
    I just found your blog through Tpt, an I'm your newest follower. I also signed up to help you out when you have your giveaway. Your reading assessments look great. I admire people that have the patience to teach reading! (unfortunately I am not one of them? Math and Science seems to be my niche!!

    Keep up the great work,

  3. These look great! I am your 100th follower! Yay!