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Tests & Assessments
Assessing Reading Difficulties and Disabilities

Question 3.

I'm concerned about my child's reading. What reading skills should he have?

Answer

Reading skills include:

Letters (LTRS): Your child should identify letter names and sounds, or point to letters in response to letter names or sounds.

Phonological Awareness (PA): Phonemic awareness is an umbrella term that refers to the awareness of individual sounds in words. It includes skills at the word, syllable, and individual sound level. This skill serves as the foundation for learning to read.

In tests of phonological awareness your child rhymes words, segments sounds in words, blends sounds, and identifies sounds. The ability to perceive and manipulate individual sounds is most important.

Rapid Automatic Naming (RAN): Your child names colors, objects, letters, or numbers in series. Letter naming is the most important skill for reading.

Letter & Word Identification (L/W/ID): Your child recognizes regular and irregular words in a list. Younger children and poor readers recognize letters.

Work Attack (WA): Your child recognizes nonsense words. Nonsense words are made-up words that assess skill with phonics.

Reading Vocabulary (RV): Your child provides antonyms, synonyms, or complete analogies in response to written words.

Reading Comprehension (RC): Your child answers open-ended or multiple-choice questions, points to pictures, or fills in missing words. Different methods for assessing comprehension may result in different scores, depending on your child's profile.

Fluency and Automaticity (FL/AU): Your child reads passages aloud while being timed. Tests of automaticity and accuracy require your child to read real words and/o nonsense words while being timed.

Listening Comprehension (LC): Your child answers questions based on passages that are read to him. LC can provide important information about comprehension difficulties.

No test measures all reading skills. Different tests measure different skills.

Legal Resource

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments, 2nd Edition Chapter 6 - Reading Assessments

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition

IDEA

20 U.S.C.§ 1401(30)

20 U.S.C.§ 1414

20 U.S.C.§ 1414(b)(6)

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, page 55, footnote 47. Page 301.

IDEA Regulations

34 C.F.R. §300.301

34 C.F.R. §300.307

34 C.F.R. §300.309(a)(1)

Additional Resources

CHART: Tests that Measure Reading Skills in Nonverbal Children

CHART: Reading Tests and the Skills They Measure

Reading Tests: What They Measure...and Don't Measure

The Root of the Problem? Rock-Bottom Reading Skills?

New! A Guide to Helping Your Child at Home: Developing Foundational Skills in Reading and Writing

4 Great Reading Definitions in NCLB

Reading at Wrightslaw

State Special Education Regulations and Guidelines. You will find your specific state regulations at your State Department of Education website. Use the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities to locate your state site.

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