Banner Literacy considers informal evaluations an important part of achieving your child’s literacy goals. Our evaluations are intended to augment parental observations, teacher observations, and prior testing. Information acquired from your child’s previous history, as well as informal assessments, becomes particularly helpful when designing instruction. Informal assessments are flexible and can be adapted to obtain a more accurate understanding of your child’s performance on a variety of tasks. More importantly, we can focus on how your child engages in the process of completing a particular task.
During the evaluation we investigate various aspects of your child’s performance, including their strategy use, self-monitoring, and organizational planning. Based on these initial evaluations, we may also design follow-up assessments to further explore specific areas of concern. Once evaluations are completed and instructional approaches have been established, the team at Banner Literacy continues with a diagnostic teaching approach, wherein assessment and instruction are integrated in an ongoing process to verify the efficacy of our treatment.
We begin our work with students by administering an informal reading inventory. An informal reading inventory generally comprises a combination of graded word lists and passages. This assessment, while not exhaustive, provides a glimpse of your child’s word recognition skills and comprehension abilities in both expository and narrative materials.
If further evaluation of word recognition is required, your child may be asked to read passages both aloud and silently. They may also be required to read passages with different text structures (e.g., narrative and expository).
To determine a student’s text comprehension, we examine responses to different types of questions (e.g., vocabulary, literal, and inferential) as well as text retellings or summaries.
Written expression is another integral component of literacy development. Growth in this area can facilitate growth in reading and oral language as well.
To determine a child’s strengths and weaknesses in written language, we elicit one or several spontaneous samples as part of our overall evaluation. Depending on our remedial objectives, your child may be asked to write both a narrative and expository composition. These samples are analyzed at various levels including spelling, punctuation, grammar, organization, and ideation. For emergent writers, our focus is primarily on ideation, spelling, and sentence structure. By investigating a broad spectrum of written expression skills, we are able to plan for individually appropriate instruction.
Since instruction in spelling and reading is mutually beneficial, it is essential to discern a child’s level of orthographic or spelling knowledge. Therefore, we typically administer a spelling test that is designed to assess the word knowledge your child brings to spelling and reading. This test is followed by further evaluations designed by the clinician focusing on common spelling patterns, morphology, and other areas of linguistic knowledge. With data obtained from your child’s writings, we are able to plan developmentally appropriate spelling instruction in unison with both reading and writing remediation.
Aspects of language use impact literacy development. Elements of oral expressive language capabilities can be examined through a spontaneous language sample or monitoring of the child’s interactions with the clinician. Receptive language or listening comprehension is informally assessed by reading aloud graded passages and asking the child follow-up factual and inferential questions.
Following informal assessments in each area, the clinician analyzes your child’s responses to infer what strategies the child may be using within a specific domain. With this information, the clinician may design additional evaluations in reading, writing, and spelling to more precisely identify where your child is experiencing difficulties.