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Maddie's Story: Reading Assessment

Maddie's Bear StoryI met with Maddie today. As I told you in my previous post, Maddie’s parents are worried about her lack of progress in reading. I conducted an assessment of Maddie in order to gauge her level of reading, writing, and phonemic awareness. The following is an outline of my assessment and her performance. I believe you will find it interesting and helpful.

First, I asked Maddie's teacher to send home some recent work Maddie had done in school. I received a terrific story Maddie had written about a bear in her backyard. The story had a beginning, middle, and end. She wrote the story using a mix of standard and invented spelling that was very readable. Click on the image to the right to see a PDF of her story.

When I sat down with Maddie, I used a number of assessment tasks from Marie Clay’s Observation Survey. Maddie quickly identified all of the letters in the alphabet by letter name. 

Next, I asked her to read a list of sight words. Maddie could read only 2 of 20 words on the list, which provided my first cause of concern.

I used Clay’s Concepts About Print to look at Maddie’s understanding of books. Maddie demonstrated that she is competent in how books work. She understands which direction print is supposed to go in, knows how to match her finger to the print, and understands the use of punctuation. You can see her doing some of this assessment here:

Next, I asked Maddie to write as many words as she could in 10 minutes. She was able to write 18 words. It is interesting to note that she can write many more words than she can read. Here is a short clip of her at work on this: 

In my next assessment, I asked her to write a dictated short story. I asked her to say each word slowly and write all the sounds she could hear. Maddie could record 32 of the 37 phonemes in the story. This shows that Maddie has strong phonemic awareness. You can observe a bit of her writing here. Notice how she is saying sounds softly under her breath.

Last, I asked Maddie to read several simple books. I started with a few books Maddie had read at home, and then I used some unfamiliar books. Maddie is reading only at level B. She can read a simple patterned book using pictures and a pattern. If you would like to look at her reading, here are some videos of her reading at levels B and C. 

Fruit Salad (Level B/2)

I Like to Read (Level B/2)

Pets (Level B/2)

Where is Quack? (Level C/3)

After I instructed her on self-correcting, she was able to correct some errors while reading. At level C, with less repetitive text, Maddie started to struggle and guess at words. 

After I meet with Maddie’s parents, I will share with you my recommendations for instruction.

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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