What the Red Flag Reading Screening IS…

Many parents have concerns about their child’s reading performance, but are getting mixed messages from schools and inflated report cards. They think there’s a problem, but don’t have any set of guidelines by which they can judge for themselves exactly how severe the problem might be.

Our screening is designed to provide parents with a tool that can help confirm or negate their suspicions, through the use of objective & widely accepted standards as applied to state approved grade level material. The results of the screening can then be used as one more piece of the puzzle in determining whether to seek further help or testing.

SpecialEdAvocate.org provides parents with this Red Flag Reading Screening as an informal means by which they can evaluate their child’s level of reading accuracy from grade level materials.

Following the guidelines as described will furnish the parents with an initial indicator of their child’s decoding proficiency. The reading passages provided are from published sources, and are for the sole purpose of providing you with convenient access to material that the state of Texas expects a child to be able to successfully read at the designated grade level.

The passages posted are taken directly from one of the following sources, which is indicated at the beginning of each.

1.) A Texas state-approved textbook

2.) The publicly released  TAKS tests for grade levels 3-8 (Texas Assessment of Knowledge
and Skills)

What the Red Flag Reading Screening is NOT…

This screening is not designed to be a comprehensive evaluation or placement tool. It is merely a “snapshot” indicator, and poor performance indicates the need for further investigation of a student’s academic skills and deficiencies. LDAdvocates.com does not assert any formal conclusions on the sole basis of your child’s performance in reading these passages. Such conclusions would require more rigorous assessment.

What you should know before proceeding…

There are many factors that go into whether or not students will be able to comprehend, apply, or answer questions based on the stories/ subject matter presented in their textbooks. Background knowledge, vocabulary development, and basic analytical skills are all key components for effective
comprehension. At the most basic level, however, is fluency. Although fluency alone does not guarantee good comprehension, it is virtually impossible for a non-fluent reader to be able to gain significant meaning from written material. Therefore, the lack of fluency can be a “red flag” to parents who want to know if their child’s foundational decoding skills are adequate for the difficulty level of the reading material he/she is expected to use in the classroom, for homework, or in testing situations.

Fluency is the product of two factors: speed and accuracy. Although difficulty with either skill will be disruptive to effective reading, the Red Flag Reading Screening will focus primarily on the accuracy component of fluency. This is not to discount in any way the importance of reading speed, an equally critical element of fluency. However, as stated above, this screening is not designed to be a comprehensive evaluation or placement tool.

What are the standards for accuracy?

It goes without saying that the more decoding errors a child makes when they read, the more problems he/she will have understanding the intended meaning of the text. But how do you, as a parent, know how many errors are TOO many? Without a benchmark for comparison, it may be hard for you to gauge your child’s performance. One of the most common standards used is to describe a student’s accuracy level on any given passage as being at one of 3 levels: Independent, Instructional, and Frustration.

INDEPENDENT LEVEL: It is generally agreed that a student must read a given passage with AT LEAST 95%* or greater accuracy for it to be considered appropriate for independent reading. This means that the student will require virtually no teacher support or additional instruction in order to decode the material. Material that a student should be able to read at the Independent Level includes: books selected for pleasure reading, or any reading required to be done independently for the completion of assignments (such as homework or standardized testing passages)

INSTRUCTIONAL LEVEL: AT LEAST 90-95%* accuracy must be attained by the student for the given reading passage to be considered at the instructional level. This means that some degree of additional practice, teacher support, or instruction is required for the student to obtain maximum understanding of the material. Materials that are appropriate for a child to be reading at the Instructional Level may include: Stories from basal readers or text that will be directly accompanied by teacher monitoring, support, and instruction.

FRUSTRATION LEVEL: Most researchers agree that if a student reads a given passage with less than 90%* accuracy, that text is at the frustration level. A child whose decoding skills are not high enough to enable him/her to read grade level textbooks, written materials, or testing materials at greater than 90% accuracy are at a severe disadvantage in achieving academic success.

*The exact percentages used to define each level vary slightly according to researchers. The percentages used on SpecialEdAdvocate.org represent the minimum standards.

Click here to review to administer the test

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

Posted in Advocating for Your Child, Resources

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