Get a quick but accurate estimate of your child's beginning reading level (preschool to Grade 2) by matching his or her writing to one of the five writing samples below. This a simple tool for parents found in my new book, Raising Confident Readers. The sample that best fits your child's writing likely shows how he or she uses the English alphabet code and provides a good prediction of your child's level of reading.
Does her Writing Look Like This? If so she's in Phase 0 (Usually birth to age 3).
If she's in Phase 0, she cannot yet write her name and doesn't write with letters. Continue reading aloud to her, bonding and having fun with books. She's taking in more than you think! If she loves books, likes to draw and pretends to write, she'll soon be writing her name and move into Phase 1.
- Predicted Reading Level for Phase 0: Preschool--pretend reading.
Does his writing look like this? If so he's in Phase 1 (Usually age 3 to 5*).
He's starting to write with letters-mostly ordered at random. Good-by scribbles! In addition to writing his name he learns to write a few words from memory
. He's learning new letters and will soon begin to learn about sounds. Continue reading aloud and encourage art along with pen and paper activity. Compliment often and answer his questions. Soon he will be matching beginning letters with sounds and move into Phase 2.
Does her writing look like this? If so she's in Phase 2 (Usually age 3 to 6*).
She's learning about letters and sounds. She can read little stories with text on each page such as "My little cat is in the box." She surprises you with drawings and writing that you can read such as RUDF for "are you deaf?"
Does his writing look like this? If so he's in Phase 3 (Usually age 4 to 6*).
He's writing with a single letter for each sound. You can easily read this spelling system even though English doesn't work by matching one letter to every sound. He reads fairly elaborate stories and nonfiction gaining fluency after practice. Memory reading begins to give way to more automatic reading. Stories often have repetition and three or more sentence patterns along with varied language. He can read stories with conversation and read content dealing with familiar experiences or fantastic happenings. Illustrations provide moderate support.
Does her writing look like this? If so she's in Phase 4 (Usually age 4 to 7*).
She's writing in chunks of letter combinations such as BILLDINGS for buildings
and EVREWHAIR for everywhere
. Many words are spelled correctly. She's able to read easy chapter books without support from pictures. She recognizes over 100 words on sight and begins to read independently.
- Predicted Reading Level for Phase 4: End of First Grade moving into Second Grade levels.
* Age ranges depend on when you start literacy activity at home.
A Word About Standards
Standards in America vary widely across states and school districts. If your child is in a high achieving school, push the predicted reading scale up by ½ a grade level or more.
(Dr. Gentry is the author of Raising Confident Readers
, How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write-From Baby to Age 7. Find out more about Dr. Gentry's work in literacy at www.jrichardgentry.com
and find him on Facebook
and on Twitter at RaiseReaders