Essay: Early Literacy Assessment

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Meta Analysis -- Literature and Reading

Introduction- Reading is one of the fundamental skills that all students need to ensure success in formal education. Research, in fact, shows that a child who does not learn reading basics in early childhood may never master them. To complicate the scenario, children who do not learn to read early rarely master other skills and do not do well in school, perpetuating the problem. U.S. wide, low reading achievement is the basic cause of low-performing schools, a higher than average dropout rate, and greater behavioral issues. Indeed, about 20% of elementary students have significant issues with reading (Havie, 2004). That being said, one of the fundamental difficulties in teaching literacy to early grades is that of assessment. In fact, learner-centeredness is a major focus of the assessment system, with the overall goal to create an environment that both establishes and rewards a constructivist approach to learning to read (Many, ed., and 2009). Further, individualization of assessment by using formative methods not only buttresses the learning experience; it helps set tiers of development in a constructivist learning environment.

Article Analysis

Lonigan, C., Shanahan, T. (2010). Developing Early Literacy Skills. Educational Researcher. 39 (4): 340-6.

Monitoring progress in literacy using literature may be accomplished in numerous ways. For instance, Children can write or tell (share) about a book they liked (or did not like). Focusing on the child-centered approach to literature allows for a freedom of texts -- almost any story can be used in a variety of ways to teach a variety of concepts. Child-Centered Approaches do not require such a clear definition of exactly what should be taught and "received" from the literature chosen Broad level thematic issues may be presented, but the key is to ask children open ended and critical-thinking-based questions about their learning experience, their emotional experience, and what ideas they took away from the story. In this approach, it is the guide's responsibility to elicit robust and useful questioning that engages every learner.

Smith, Y., et al. (2011). Assessment of Key Competencies, Literacy and Numeracy: Can

These Be Combined? Early Childhood Folio. 15 (2): 15-22.

Within the primary school classroom, and even in preschools, assessing key competencies is becoming increasingly important. The issue in this study focuses on the manner in which a primary teacher can both include and assess the dual concepts of literacy and numeracy in a seamless and meaningful fashion. Essentially, the key is to present materials that include both mathematical and reading problems in combination so that students use their skills to answer both subjects. Solving multiple problems helps improve literacy, spatial memory, chronological memory, and vocabulary. Further, assessing both numeracy and literacy has the dual benefit of allowing the teacher greater insights into student performance as well as combining right and left brain activities. Using this dual approach to assessment allows for a focus on "competencies to live, learn, work, and contribute as active members of the community."

Missall, K., et al. (2007). Examination of the Predictive Validity of Preschool Early

Literacy Skills. School Psychology Review. 36 (3): 433-45.

In pedagogical scholarship, the predictive value of early literacy assessment among preschoolers is relatively unknown. Using a longitudinal-based methodology, preschool children were assessed through kindergarten and, for most, through the end of first grade. The question focused on whether focused instruction in literacy, and then assessment with Early Literacy Individual Growth and Development Indicators, was predictive of later success in reading and literacy development. The study found that for kindergarten and first grade, robust vocabulary and literacy training in the preschool years and then assessments using EL-IGDIs was highly correlated with fluency.

Snow, C., et al. (1995). Oral Language and Early Literacy Skills in Kindergarten and First-Grade Children. Journal of Research in Childhood Education. 10 (1): 37-48.

Learning to read is a complex process, and requires a diverse set of skills and pedagogical approaches. Because of this, it is also necessary to monitor and assess literacy skills for younger students. The SHELL battery contains measures of language development, comprehension, vocabulary and emergent literacy skills that allow performance baselines to be developed and individual learning goals produced. The model is older (1995) but the correlation and predictive nature of it between 4-5 years old and performance at 7-8 years old is strong. Use of the SHELL system, in fact, allows teachers to track performance from preschool through the mid-elementary years.

Roskos, K., et al. (2003). The Essentials of Early Literacy Instruction. The National

Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved from:

Stakeholder expectations regarding early literacy education have grown and evolved in the last few decades. Well considered and robust early literacy instruction is now seen as essential to prepare young minds for elementary school and the new expectations focus more on the idea of not only knowing the basics of letters and word grouping, but actually being able to read and write simple structures so that there is a clear relationship between early literacy and later reading and writing skills. The essential skills for the teacher are: 1) Rich teacher talk that encourages conversations, stretches vocabulary and encourages think and response issues; 2) Storybook reading -- with feedback; important to read to the class 1-2 times a day and then perform formative assessments; 3) Provide activities for phonological awareness, alphabet activities, support for emergent reading and writing, and shared story or book experiences. However, without using both formative and summative assessments, these activities become just that -- activities. Using proper assessment tools helps track progress and results in the teacher being able to continually push the envelope in terms of literacy learning.

Rogers, C. And Helman, L. (2009). One Size Does Not Fit All: How Assessment Guides

Instruction in Word Study with English Learners. New England Reading Association Journal. 44 (2): 17-27.

Most research has now established that the earlier one begins to teach literacy the better the child's performance will be in elementary school. However, studies also show that assessment should guide instruction with both ESL and early-language learners. The idea is that assessments inform more about word study in the classroom, and must be individualized to the level and intent of the lesson. "At the heart of effective word study is the concept of differentiation and meeting children at their level." Using formative assessments on a regular basis, then complimenting with summative assessments and standardized literacy assessment tools, the instructor can individualize the educational experience and create more meaningful learning experiences for all.

Conclusions- the three keys to develop literacy in young children are to, as soon as feasible, develop foundational skills. These include: 1) Understanding that spoken words are made of individual sounds -- phonetic awareness. For example, ball is made up of three sounds b/a/l; 2) Understanding that spoken words are represented by written symbols, the alphabet. This decoding is essential to begin to teach vocabulary; 3) Continuous vocabulary and concept development. Research shows that many children enter kindergarten with underdeveloped vocabulary levels. With the amount of information available today, media print, etc., parents should have no trouble helping to challenge vocabulary on a regular basis. It is important to find new and challenging ways to reinforce these concepts. This may be done through a play center, story time, walks around the yard or city, or simply sharing magazines, stories, and helping the child with a focus on active imagination and engagement (Lonigan).

Further, the developmental period prior to formal schooling and then using kindergarten to bridge the gap to formalized instruction have often been viewed as separate entities. Yet, based on the research reviewed in this document, children do not enter kindergarten as blank slates. Instead, there are large differences in skills sets, opportunities, and experiences. The preschool years are a time of robust cognitive growth, and a new… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Early Literacy Assessment.  (2013, April 29).  Retrieved July 19, 2019, from

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"Early Literacy Assessment."  29 April 2013.  Web.  19 July 2019. <>.

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"Early Literacy Assessment."  April 29, 2013.  Accessed July 19, 2019.