What is the Reading Aptitude Continuum?
As I present around the country about reading, I am often asked, “What do you use and is there a more purposeful assessment available?” To answer that question, it is important to understand that reading occurs on a continuum and that at times, our biggest enemy is our belief that assessments that are grade specific, as opposed to skill specific can help us determine what our students need. The assessments that I have created are based upon skills, not grade level. They can be utilized with any student in the process of learning to decode for reading. This can be a child that happens to be at the Pre-K level, a struggling intermediate reader, an ESL student, a student with disabilities or any other student in the process of learning to read.
As teachers, each of us needs to determine what is a student’s skill level, what needs to be taught and what skills comes next. The purpose of the Reading Aptitude Continuum is to provide teachers with a framework that allows you to see skills in a progression that will aide your students in becoming successful readers. Every time we test a skill and find the student unsuccessful, we have to look to the prior skills and then determine what to teach. When the student has successfully mastered the skill, we then move to the next skill assessment. Targeted assessments should drive our instruction. Foundation skills embedded with fluency and comprehension strategies can lead to creating successful readers.
What is ESGI?
ESGI, Educational Software for Guiding Instruction, is a simple, online assessment platform for conducting one-on-one assessments. I partnered with ESGI because it is ideal for testing non-readers, emergent readers and struggling readers. You can choose from hundreds of pre-loaded tests—including my Reading Aptitude Continuum tests—or create your own. After assessing students with the yes/no format, choose from charts, graphs and reports to guide instruction. ESGI eliminates the paper, saving you hours on assessments and providing you hours for instruction.
How does ESGI help to effectively use the Reading Aptitude Continuum?
The Reading Aptitude Continuum provides a series of tests that are thorough, tested and reliable. With ESGI, teachers can give one-on-one assessments, instantly visualize student performance, analyze areas of weakness or growth, and quickly target instruction. With an ESGI subscription, a teacher has access to all 112 of the tests in the Reading Aptitude Continuum. Once the assessments are given, the teachers can target their instruction based on the data in the Pie Charts, Bar Graphs Analysis, Class Totals Report, and Test History. Teachers can also print customized parent report letters as well has flash cards to support the reading instruction.
How do I get started?
Each ladder in the continuum contains rungs that build decoding skills. While it is certainly possible for a student to miss a couple of rungs and continue to climb the ladder, you wouldn’t want a student to have no footings in a ladder. Pick and choose the assessments most valuable to your class or individual students in identifying needs. Your first step will be to determine where to start in your assessments. Based upon your work with the student, look at the ladder and determine where you believe he/she should start. If the assessments are too hard, stop and go back several tests. If they are too easy, jump forward a few. Keep in mind, that for the most part, the assessments were created to be easiest at the start of each assessment and to end with hardest level of the skill. This will allow you to determine if a high level of mastery is evident. It’s important to remember that many skills have a quick assessment and that if there is any sense that the student hasn’t truly mastered the skill, you may want to add to the number of questions.
Each of the 7 ladders in the continuum contains rungs that build decoding skills. Pick and choose the assessments most valuable to your class or individual students in identifying needs. Each concept has directions on the sheet, along with the questions, words, letters or phrases listed. Each list then has a corresponding sheet or sheets of the cards that can be used for the assessments. (The exception is the Phonemic Awareness section as all of the concepts are done orally and require no cards) Assessment Recording Sheets are included. There is an individual student recording sheet and a class recording sheet. Each sheet has skills broken up by ladder or concept. Every sheet is customizable and can be modified for the skills you are assessing.
The Entire Reading Aptitude Continuum is also available on a thumb drive for purchase here. The thumb drive contains the reading ladders, instructions, printable flash cards, and score sheets, as well as customizable versions of the cards and score sheets. Or Try ESGI FREE for 60 days! Sign up with promo code thesmartiezone to save $40 off your new user subscription. After entering your students, go to the Test Explorer to locate all of Donna Whyte’s Reading Aptitude tests. You can see the list of 112 tests here. An introduction, lists of all included skills and the reading ladders are available to ESGI teachers here.