In this blog, I will be referencing both my experiences and research with the PM Benchmark assessment tool and the literacy company Fountas and Pinnell.
Along with a reading record or reading continuum assessment, some districts choose to also use a screener on their primary students. The screener is a compilation of different activities that help to assess phonemic awareness, letter recognition, and concepts of print.
In the PM Benchmark program, there are 30 levels from kindergarten to grade three, each level is accompanied by one book and a sample of about 100 words to determine the reader’s fluency and reading level (1-30). Does one sample on one book provide us with a fair understanding of where a child is in their reading? Would the child perform better if they are interested in the book, have personal experiences with the topic, or if the book felt more like a book they might read at home?
Screeners and running records tell us what level the reader is at, where they are with their reading, and where to go with future instruction. But what do these tools not tell us?
This question along with other questions such as:
How do these levels affect children?
How are reading levels used in schools around North America?
How accurate/ fair are these levels?
Will be addressed in future blog posts.