Early Reading Diagnostic Assessment: An Effective Guide

Early reading diagnostic assessment helps monitor students’ progress and needs.…

Early reading diagnostic assessment helps monitor students’ progress and needs. It is designed to measure what students know, can do, and need to do to become proficient readers at their level.

The reading assessment measures students’ skills in the five components of reading. These are phonemic awareness, vocabulary, phonics, reading comprehension, and fluency.

Let’s delve a little deeper.

Early Reading Diagnostic Assessment: An Overview

The Early Reading Diagnostic Assessment (ERDA) assesses the early reading skills of kindergarten, first, second and third-grade students. The ERDA aim to provide additional information to help teachers aid students in their learning journey.

ERDA includes items on all five of the components of reading (phonemic awareness, vocabulary, phonics, comprehension, and fluency). Additionally, the ERDA helps students and teachers understand the role and relative importance of phonemic and whole-word decoding skills in reading. ERDA also helps teachers monitor students’ growth in their reading skills throughout the year.

The reading diagnostic instrument identifies students’ strengths and weaknesses for specific interventions. Knowing which students are doing well or not so well at any time allows teachers to intervene with additional instructional strategies.

The ERDA also give parents important information about their child’s reading skills. It encourages students’ growth in reading and the prompt revision of their home-school learning environment to better support their learning.

Early Reading Diagnostic Assessments

1. Phonemic and phonological awareness.

Phonemes, rhymes (kindergarten only), rimes, and syllables are subtests that assess a child’s ability to hear sound units in spoken language. They are used to determine the child’s phonemic and phonological awareness comprehension. While phonemes, rimes and syllables apply to all grades (kindergarten to grade 3), rhymes apply to only kindergarten.

2. Phonics

Subtests that assess phonics are letter recognition and pseudoword decoding. A letter is shown to kindergarten and first-grade children to assess letter recognition. Afterwards, they are asked to point to the letter and say its name. Grades one to three children are administered with pseudoword decoding. They are offered a list of pseudo-words and must pronounce them as quickly and accurately as possible.

3. Fluency

From kindergarten to grade three, fluency is assessed by word reading and passage fluency subtests. A child is presented with a list of words to read aloud in order to assess word reading. Passage fluency is measured by listening to the student read a series of brief, and informational passages aloud. Each passage is in ascending order of difficulty and scored based on time and accuracy.

4. Vocabulary

To assess a student’s receptive vocabulary, set of pictures is shown and a word is said to the student. The student is then asked to point to the picture representing the word. Assessment of synonyms, word opposites, definitions, and multiple meanings provide other indicators of student’s vocabulary.

5. Comprehension

Word items, sentence items with target words in context, and passage items are used by ERDA to accurately assess student comprehension. For word items, kindergarten and first-graders are asked to read one or two words and point to a picture that accurately represent the word.

Assessment by sentence items requires the student to read a sentence of high-frequency words aloud and respond to a comprehension question in some instances.

girl's left hand wrap around toddler while reading book during golden hour
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash


The Early Reading Diagnostic Assessment measures a child’s skills in different areas essential for reading. These tests are designed for children beginning to read (kindergarten, first, second and third-grade students).

Early Reading Diagnostic Assessment measures a child’s phonemic awareness, vocabulary, phonics, comprehension, and fluency. Results of these reading tests identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and help teachers and parents develop intervention strategies.

Frequently asked questions

How do you assess a child’s reading level?

Teach your child’s Lexile reading level and select books that have a matching score. Lexile scores, or measures, describe the ability of your child to read, as well as matching them with books and other reading materials. The range of this measure can range from 0L to 2000L.

What are some ways teachers can assess students in the classroom to include reading and writing?

  • Presenting or performing in an oral setting.
  • Non-verbal Assessments
  • Portfolios
  • Criteria for performance. Students can evaluate a wide variety of work using rubrics and performance criteria.
  • Written Assessments

What are the benefits of assessments?

The system of well-constructed formative and summative assessments allows students to demonstrate their abilities and knowledge and then observe how close they are to meeting educational goals and standards. Assessment evidence can lead students to beneficial outcomes.

What does Erda measure?

To identify and prevent reading problems early, it tests all five essential components of reading-phonic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension-to produce a sense of well-being and comprehension. The ERDA Second Edition includes enhanced fluency and vocabulary measures.

Is phonological awareness a cognitive skill?

Phonological awareness is a meta-cognitive skill (i.e., the ability to think about one’s own thinking) related to the formation of sound structures in language. Phonological awareness allows us to recognize, discriminate, remember, and manipulate sounds at the sentence, word, syllable, and phoneme level.

What elements are involved in implementing effective reading assessments?

  • Spelling and handwriting
  • Text comprehension
  • Vocabulary
  • Alphabetical codes: Phonics and decoding.
  • Text reading that is automatic and fluent.
  • Written expression
  • Phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and print concepts.

How is Erda administered?

The child is assessed by reading aloud a list of words. Passage fluency is assessed by listening to the student read aloud a series of short, grade-appropriate narrative and informational passages. Passes are scored according to their difficulty and accuracy.

What is early reading diagnostic assessment?

Early Reading Diagnostic Assessments (ERDA) evaluate kindergarten, first, second, and third grade reading skills. It measures a broad range of reading readiness and early reading skills in the ERDA.

How do you assess students reading skills?

Reading comprehension: how to assess it. A second method is informal assessments. Tell your students about what you have read or re-tell the story or event.

Why are reading assessments important?

Teachers can make use of these resources to determine what to teach and how to teach it, and to answer the critical question: “Are my students learning?” It is possible to maximize their time and focus on aligning lessons and content with goals.

What grade-level are diagnostic assessments?

Grades K-12 Diagnostic demonstrates our belief that all students can grow and achieve grade-level expectations. If you want to help educators determine where they are, set high-but achievable-expectations for growth, and connect the right instructional tools to help them achieve those goals, use it.

Why is it important to collect and use data from various reading assessments?

Recording comprehension skills in a reader response journal. It gives us a different window into a student’s ability to comprehend text.

What is the purpose of the assessment?

An assessment is intended to gather information about student performance or progress, or determine student interests to make judgments about student learning.

What teaching strategies and forms of assessment could you use to help develop functional literacy?

Among these are making connections, visualizing, inferring, questioning, determining importance, and synthesizing.

What are the 4 types of reading assessment?

  • Diagnostic Assessments
  • Progress Monitoring Assessments
  • Screening Assessments
Early Reading Diagnostic Assessment: An Effective Guide

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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