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Reading assessments provide valuable insight into the skills and needs of students. The use of assessments at an early age can identify potential reading problems to increase the chances of reading success down the road. Reading assessments also allow teachers to chart growth in students' reading skills and tailor reading instruction to the weaknesses of the students. Both informal and formal reading assessments give a wellrounded look at the reading abilities of the students.

Reading assessments are used to determine what skills are being learned and what skills need to be strengthened. A teacher or school may decide to give a formal or informal reading assessment in a group or individual setting. In the classroom, a group or formal reading assessment may be given to a class after completion of a unit. The teacher will use the test to ascertain how well the students have understood the material and whether there is need for review.

Informal reading assessments can take place any time. They may involve the whole class, as when the teacher asks each child to read aloud. They are also performed one-on-one. The teacher may take the student to a separate, quiet area and give a test or task to assess a skill. An informal reading assessment can also take the form of observing a student, listening to the student read aloud, or asking the student questions about reading.

Many teachers and parents agree that while formal testing and group testing is necessary, individual assessment provides the most accurate account of how a student is doing. An informal, individual reading assessment helps teachers to remain attuned to a each student's needs.

This informal assessment information can help you decide:

How to plan future instruction so that student needs are met How students should be grouped for instruction so that each student receives instruction at the right level of difficulty If instruction is being delivered at the right pace Which students need individual support There are different informal assessment tools for assessing various components of reading. It is important to note that no single assessment will provide insight into all reading related components that teachers need to know about. It is important to ask yourself: "What do I want to know about my students? What do I want to assess?"

Running Records
A running record offers an informal reading assessment for kids of any age. The child reads a passage of a book or story. The teacher also has a copy of the text. As the child reads, the teacher follows along on her copy and marks any errors the student makes. There is a set of commonly used markings to indicate different errors a child might make, or you can create your own markings. Mark anything that departs from the text including a skipped word, a substitution of an incorrect word, inserting an extra word or a word given to the child by the teacher. There are other things you should mark but not count as an error. These include the child reading a word incorrectly and then fixing it, repeating a word, repeating a phrase or pausing for a long time on a particular word. Calculate the child's reading accuracy by dividing the number of words read correctly by the total number of words read.

Cloze Passages
A cloze passage is another informal reading tool that assesses children's reading comprehension. Words are omitted from a passage. Students must fill in the correct words in each blank. You can either provide a list of words or let the students come up with the words on their own. To relate it to the curriculum, choose a passage from a book you have read to the class. Because the kids are somewhat familiar with the passage, you can determine how well the students listened to and comprehended the story.

Informal Reading Assessments Table of Contents

1. Phonological Awareness 2. Phonics 3. Fluency 4. Vocabulary 5. Comprehension

1.Phonological Awareness

Directions: This test should be administered individually to students. The teacher could introduce the test by saying, Two words rhyme when they sound alike at the end. I am going to read two words; I want you to tell me if they rhyme or do not rhyme. Practice Items: Help the student identify when two words rhyme by using the following practice items. Create additional practice items as needed. Eg: bed fed top hop hand sand funny bunny
run soap girl giant mess yell

( yes, no) (yes, no) (yes, no) (yes no) (yes, no) (yes, no) (yes, no)


Capital Letter Names

B A I C D F E P L R Z J U H G W X V Y N O K M T Q /26
Lowercase Letter Names

r o n l m y t v k p z c d p t j g k b x q /21

3. Vocabulary

Directions: This test could be administered to a large group, small group or individually. The teacher could introduce the test by saying, For each sentence, you are going to select a suffix to add to the end of the word in bold type. You will choose from the list of suffixes in the box. Your suffix, when added to the word in bold, should make sense when you reread the sentence. Test Items: Mark each item that the student answers correctly. Create additional sentences as needed.






1. Judy took her time as she wrote her name neat_____ on the inside of the book cover. 2. Her mother was very care_____ as she moved the cake from the kitchen to the dining room. 3. The cat was fear_____ as she walked near the dog s food bowl. 4. There was a great feeling of sad_____ when she read the paper about her friend getting hurt in a car accident 5. When she told the story about her grandfather coming from Spain it was very believe_____.