Just like in math, we have benchmark assessments for reading at every grade level. In first grade, we use two tools to check in on the students’ development in early literacy – AIMS Web Fountas and Pinnell.
The AIMS Web portion of the benchmarking process consists of three one-minute probes:
- Letter Naming Fluency – In this probe, the student simply reads a give list of the letters (both capital and lowercase) and the assessor keeps track of how many are correctly identified in a minute.
- Letter Sound Fluency – This probe is much like the Letter Naming Fluency probe, except the students are saying the sound the different letters make.
- Nonsense Word Fluency – This probe checks in on how well the students are chunking sounds together. They have a list of nonsense words like lut they are to read. The assessor keeps track of how many of these nonsense words they read as a whole. They also record what sounds the students say correctly while reading the nonsense words.
The Fountas and Pinnell benchmark assessment has two main parts:
- Where to Start Word lists – The students read through some lists of sight words given by the assessor. The assessor continues to give them lists until they get two or more words wrong. This lets the assessor know where to start the student in the leveled books.
- Leveled book assessment – The students read a book to the assessor who keeps track of any mistakes that are made during the reading. Questions are asked at the end of the reading to assess how well the students comprehend a book at that level.
The combination of these assessments help us create reading groups, intervention groups, and the like.