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Early Literacy Skills

Blog Post, Including Documentation of Resources

Felicia Jordan-Lee

College of Education, Grand Canyon University

Rea 510 Survey of Reading Assessment

Graduate Studies

Early Literacy Skill Assessments

Dr. Lynne Rider




Positive Impact through Various Assessments

Early literacy skills can inform instruction and intervention decisions through positive intervention strategies to build areas of weakness in learning.  Having a tactful lesson plan for students can develop their course of success being skillful in the key aspects of literacy they are missing.  Assessment is an essential element of education used to inform instruction (Wren, 2004).


Informal Assessment

Informal Diagnostic Testing Assessments helps to design positive strategies for curricula instruction.  Reading Specialists provide Teachers and Parents with solid information that’s needed.  Administrators, Teachers and Parents together as a Team, we all make sure we refer students for further evaluation, if or when needed.


Diagnostic Assessment

Diagnostic Assessments are made up of several passages that help to produce grade level instructional content, for the student. (which may be lower than the actual grade level decided by age or any other biases).  The context of the instructional content level text can be challenging but can be managed. Students are considered successful readers if more than half of the text is read with 0 to 2 mistakes made.  (Partnership for Reading, 2001). The screening will help the teacher understand if the student fluency levels at grade level, if it is decided that students show a lack of performance in class or through results of another performed assessment.


Screening Assessment

Screening is essential in developing students as fluent readers.   There are levels of difficulty of the texts and some students struggle to understand. Each educational system around the world,   issue a range of formal and informal tests to decide student progress, to be able properly plan instruction time for the student, intervention services and to develop differentiated lessons if needed.  Formal tests are usually the state standard with the basic grading scale to compare a student’s results to peers.


Informal tests are not based upon traditional testing methods and are considered flexible and give an updated and more consistent view of a student comprehension.  because the group does not use the basic skill content, educators aren’t should not compare the student’s score from the different groups.


Progress-Monitoring Assessment

If a student’s diagnostic assessment alarms teachers of any area of literacy, immediately differentiated, tools should be available.  There are many inexpensive measures that can be used to monitor student progress, then traditional standardized means. (Good, Simmons, and Kame’enui, 2001; Tindal and Marston, 1990).   The educating team working with the student, will implement a productive educational plan to strengthen the areas the student is not comprehending, with regular monitoring of growth.  (


The importance of assessing and checking early literacy skills & is to see how students will do as they grow older and get into higher grades.   Teachers can make educated changes about content that they feel is right for each student. The purpose of making sure the content is proper will help to prove the effectiveness of instruction when given.  All information obtained from the assessment, allows teachers to know if their students are at mastery level with the content covered.


Types of Assessments

Summative assessments determine if students have “summed up” or met an identifiable path of proficiency in reading. State tests are placed under the summative assessments category because they are given to see how students have met a crucial level of understanding, as said by state standards for which you reside in.  Summative assessments are the assessments to be used for every grade level K- 12th grade.  Summative assessments will help students to be ready for SATs and ACTS and even tests for the workplace. (Meaning, Ami, Pros & Cons of Different Summative Assessments). (2023) ( (


Teachers can use Formative assessments to develop a plan to see growth in each individual students’ educational goals. There are many ways that the formative literacy assessment can be given to students.  Students who know how to sound out their words, can be given texts that include more vowels, consonants with syllables, word families and sounds.   (Tunnel, Lisa. (Dec, 2021).  Formative Assessment: Pros and Cons You Need to Know.  (


The Strengths and Weaknesses of each Assessment

 The Strength of Summative Assessment

  • Identifies areas struggle in students.

  • Shows Students who already comprehend grade level content.

The Weaknesses of this Summative Assessment

  • Retention considerations

  • Can be overwhelming in classroom, causing students to underperform.

The strengths of Formative assessment

·      Builds and strengthens student awareness in their skills.

The Weaknesses of Formative assessment

·      Can decrease time in performance.

·      Develops unnecessary complex challenges with resources.

It is the goal of a reading literacy specialist, to prepare students for success.   Although there are a plethora of test that can be used in the assessment practices, it’s important to just use a select few and integrating those assessments into the lesson plan.  Teachers can use this format to document and monitor students’ growing reading/ literacy skills.  there are so many evidence-based literacy programs that are used throughout the school year.  Here in Illinois our student Grades K – take the Illinois Assessment Readiness Test every Spring.  Educators and early literacy programs often use a variety of assessment techniques, with standardized assessments, performance assessments, curriculum-based assessments, and observation-based assessments (Piker & Jewkes, 2013). (



Felicia Jordan-Lee 2-3 Minute Video



Understanding Emergent Literacy Assessment Practices


Black, P., & William, D. (2010). Inside the black box: Raising standards through classroom assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(1), 81–90. 003172171009200119.



Hasbrouck, J. (2006). For Students Who Are Not Yet Fluent, Silent Reading Is Not the Best Use of Classroom Time. American Educator, Summer 2006, 30(2).


Good, R. H. (2015, May 19). Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of instruction with progress monitoring and formative evaluation in the outcomes driven model.  Invited presentation at the International Conference on Cognitive and Neurocognitive Aspects of Learning: Abilities and Disabilities, Haifa, Israel. Retrieved from ( (




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