Early screeners are beginning to appear more often in the early grades of elementary school because dyslexia advocates are winning legislative battles across the country.
WHAT DO LITERACY SCREENERS DO?
The benefit of early universal screening is that the earlier we can identify difficulties in phonological awareness and other basic skills required for reading, the easier it will be to help children become fluent readers. The challenges of screening for difficulties in the early grades has been studied and discussed by many educational specialists. Although challenges remain, much is to be gained if students are discovered to need help in specific areas, and then get it!
The proliferation of screeners has begun to result in more available tools posted to the web. It’s important to realize what these screeners (and similar tests) are able to do and what they can’t do. They are a simple screening tool and NOT comprehensive. They cannot be used to ‘diagnose’ dyslexia. Nevertheless, they can provide helpful information about young students who might benefit by more individualized or focused remediation in specific areas.
One Canadian school district posted the Quick Phonological Awareness Screening (QPAS) test HERE. The test was designed to screen Kindergarten and first grade students. Questions cover rhyming recognition and production, word awareness, syllable awareness, initial sound identification, final sound identification, sound segmentation, sound blending, medial sound identification, and a deletion task. Looking at the test, it’s clear that screeners are far from comprehensive. They are helpful in the sense that they may pick up challenges that otherwise might be missed; however, many students who pass screening, might still have weak areas that would benefit by targeted work. There will be a wide variation in students at that age, as well as factors such as attention or lack of engagement that can affect results. Premium subscribers can learn more detailed information about early screeners HERE.
More about kindergarten and preschool screeners can be found HERE.
First page of the Phonological Awareness Quick Screening Test. The entire test is available HERE.