Artifact #7

Diagnostic Tools for Assessing Literacy Development

EE 915: Detection and Remediation of Early Reading Difficulties

Taken: Summer I 2013


It is important for educators to know and understand the stages of literacy development within students. This will allow them to identify when a child is exhibiting a reading difficulty and having trouble within the literary world. Being able to identify stages of development helps teachers monitor the students progress that should be displayed within the stage of the student. By implementing a case study for EE 915, I was able to experience examining the different literacy development stages and see what skills a student would be able to display or use. Many teachers can identify that a child has a reading or writing difficulty, but they need to be able to identify what area of reading or writing they are struggling with.

Competency 2: Phonemic awareness and phonics: principles, knowledge, and instructional practices.

The first step of learning to read is phonemic awareness. Readers who are first learning to read, also known as early emergent readers, learn that the smallest unit of sound, or phonemes, correlate to graphemes, or a written representation of sound. These connections have meaning. Readers need to understand that certain letters and combinations make certain sounds. The assessment of literacy development requires that the educator have knowledge as to the reader stages and where the selected student is at within those stages. From that knowledge, the educator can proceed with appropriate instruction. The educator needs to understand that the stages are based upon what experience the student has and not necessarily the student's age or grade.

An emergent reader requires experiences with books to be enriched and enjoyable, mostly with picture books. This will allows students to have a comfort with books even before they can "read" by themselves, understanding that letters and words make up language. The gain an understanding of the concepts of print.

Early readers use a number of strategies to guess a word. They have the ability to talk about the background of what a story is about to help with the plot of the story and what underlying message the text may be portraying. Students who are developing their reading skills within this stage look to the visual cues within the text and the patterns within language to read for the meaning of the text. Students are encouraged to take reading risks and predict words within the text.

Transitional readers tend to read series of books, gaining comprehension strategies, looking at the characters within the books, the settings that the story takes place within, and events that help with reading development. The reader's pacing is good, indicating a positive reading rate and supports comprehension. Students use strategies that they have previously learned to help identify unknown words.

Fluent readers gain a confidence about the texts that they read and their understandings of it. They understand how a text works and can read independently. Teachers can support this stage by encouraging independent reading and connecting reading to writing. This will allow students to gain meaning and comprehension ("Stages of Reading Development").

Competency 7: Screening and diagnostic instruments, their administration, and use for determining student strengths and weaknesses.

There were six instruments utilized during the case study for EE 915, which helped identify the strengths and weaknesses of the selected case student in terms of their reading abilities. Within the Concepts About Print by Marie Clay, the student was able to demonstrate how to handle a book, the starting point of reading, and sweeping from line to line. When encountering an image that was not in the correct upright position, the students was able to rearrange the book to correctly view the image. The words that were misspelt the student was able to pause and recognize the misspelling but it did not affect their reading. These pieces of information informed me that this student was a strategic and fluent reader.

The Letter Identification instrument indicated that the student was able to notice details, similar as within the Concepts About Print. The student looked at the order of the letters and what groupings were there. There were also a number of other subtests such as the Hearing and Sounds Observation, the Ohio Word Test, and the Writing Vocabulary Observation.

Competency 8: Knowledge and use of a variety of informal and formal reading assessments.

Assessment is a key piece of any classroom. It allows the teachers and students to monitor for meaning- what do they already know? what do they need to know? what information is missing? So teachers must find out specifically what is necessary to assess and collect relevant evidence in regards to the assessment. Then from that evidence, an analysis must be made to assess whether or not progress has happen in terms of the student's learning. That assessment will determine a decision in regards to interventions and strategies that need to be taught to help the student make sufficient progress. Part of the assessment process not only are formal assessments, but also informal assessments. These informal assessments are a part of everyday instruction within the classroom and ongoing. Using a formal test, educators can specifically examine key skills within reading and literacy. They help create an in-depth picture of the student and an understanding of what the child's strengths and weaknesses are.

Competency 10: Child and adolescent development and the timing of formal reading instruction.

There were a number of opportunities to complete case studies within my selected graduate program. Each case gave me the chance to work with a different learner and examine their strengths and weaknesses. Choosing different students made me look at the different stages in which they were progressing, giving me a picture as to what each stage a learner may "look" like. The different testings that I was able to engage in and work with gave me more tools for my literacy teacher toolbox. They gave me the experience to try something different in a safe environment, just as we encourage our students to do. Looking at my EE 915 case study student, I was able to assess what reading stages the child had already mastered and what stages the child was still progressing through. The case study student was at an instructional level of beginning reading instruction. She was able to decode letters and form words, create meaning and comprehend, activate prior knowledge of language structure and reading vocabulary. She was beginning to reread for information. She was working towards gaining fluency and prosody within her reading, as at the time of her testing her reading contained little expression and only occasional phrasing. The child knew a significant number of high frequency words, as demonstrated with clear and concise writing. Finally the child was able to make appropriate sound analysis of words recording the dominant consonant and vowels. Overall the child was a great reader who possessed a significant number of literacy skills at the time of testing.
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"Stages of Reading Development." Reading Rockets. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.