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First Year Teacher Program



Teacher Toolbox


 1.  Print awareness
 2.  The sounds of speech
 3.  Phonemic awareness
 4.  Phonics
 5.  Informal classroom-based assessment
 6.  Fluency
 7.  Vocabulary
 8.  Spelling
 9.  Writing
 10.  Text comprehension

Diary of a First Year Teacher

Module 5  –  Informal classroom-based assessment

  |   Pre-test  |  Intro  |  In depth  |  In practice  |  Assignments  |  Post-test  |  


Video Clip

Spelling as a Diagnostic Tool

Specific spelling errors can signal a child's slow progress and the need for extra help. Dr. Louisa Moats shows one Washington, DC teacher how to identify these errors and how to help cure them.

Assessment by Specialists

At a Lindamood-Bell Center in Denver, a seven-year-old receives one-on-one assessment and guidance.

Administering informal assessments on a regular basis throughout the school year provides useful information that can help teachers to identify the individual strengths and weakness of each student, and decide:

  • How to plan future instruction so that student needs are met

  • How students should be grouped for instruction so that each student receives instruction at the right level of difficulty

  • If instruction is being delivered at the right pace

  • Which students need individual support

There are different informal assessment tools for assessing various components of reading. In the "In depth" section of this module, you will find detailed information about the types of informal assessment tools that can be used to measure various components of reading.

It is important to note that no single assessment will provide insight into all reading related components that teachers need to know about. It is important to ask yourself: "What do I want to know about my students? What do I want to assess?" The list of assessments in this module is not all-inclusive. There are components of reading that we don't explore here.

Most of the assessments here should be given one-on-one. It is important that you have a non-distracting, comfortable testing environment for students, and that the rest of the class is engaged in a task or assignment and working quietly. It's even better if you can arrange for another teacher to be present while you are performing assessments.

For more information on assessment tools, visit The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (SEDL) site. SEDL provides a database that provides detailed information on many early reading assessment tools. It is intended to provide valuable information about all of the options available to teachers and administrators who are seeking reliable reading assessment tools for children in Pre-Kindergarten through second grade.

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First Year Teacher was a pilot project of Reading Rockets, which is service of WETA, Washington D.C.'s flagship public television station. Funding for First Year Teacher was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs; The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and The Overbrook Foundation.

© 2004 WETA