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Friday, November 23, 2012

Late Letter-Name Assessment

Here is an example of a letter-name test (I wanted lots of ending blends) I made up to figure out which letter/letter patterns Mary was using and which ones she was confusing.  I know that there are forms to fill out in various word study books, but my personal preference is not to use another piece of paper.  I simply write the features that are missing and being confused and then look for patterns.

As you can see, Mary writes the letter A each time she hears short O and short U.  She has not mastered ch or th, beginning blends-dr and tr, and ending blends.

Now, many word study teachers might say that this is too much detail to go into, and that may be true.  You do not have to find out each feature to be a great word study teacher.  This is because teaching letter-name features each week in the approximate zone they are in will solidify the student's existing knowledge and enable him/her to naturally add to his/her knowledge of words with exposure during reading.  I would put this student in a group that focused on ending blends and short vowels.  However, this particular student was retained last year and I want extensive detail about her knowledge so that I can track progress that seems to be slow. If myself or someone has time to work with this student, I quickly pull out my picture sorts comparing short A and short U. In addition, when I taught any grade beyond first grade, I would do this with below level students.  There is not the luxury of time in that case, to mess around with stuff they already know.

*The most interesting thought about this assessment that I have been thinking about a lot lately:  It seems when a word contains a pattern a student is nervous about (--mp for example), he/she can make a mistake on the short vowel that is known in most other circumstances. This is interesting to me because that would be an additional way to read a child's mind to find out which vowels they seem to have, but could use reinforcement on.  This late-letter name assessment may be useful for that reason as well.

If you are interested in the assessment, you can download it here:

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