Posts Tagged ‘rimes assessment’

FREE Diagnostic Reading and ELA Assessments


Teachers at all grade levels want to determine what students know and what they do not know.  Following are comprehensive reading and English-language arts assessments with corresponding recording matrices to provide the data teachers need to target instruction. Designed to be both comprehensive (no random samples) and teacher-friendly with audio files, self-correcting Google forms and sheets (or print versions), teachers have found the data to reliably inform their instructional decision-making. Visit the Pennington Publishing store to check out corresponding program resources.

ARE THESE ASSESSMENTS RESEARCH-BASED? These are teacher/reading specialist-created comprehensive diagnostics. None are normed. You won’t find them on What Works… As you probably know, comprehensive diagnostics need not meet research-based criteria for external validity since there is no sampling. However, each assessment is evidence-based and has internal validity/reliability. Read on!

HOW AND WHY WERE THESE ASSESSMENTS DEVELOPED? The phonics and spelling assessments were developed, field-tested, and implemented by a cadre of 23 reading specialists in the largest and most diverse school district in Northern California. As educators faced declining reading scores (below 50th percentiles on nationally normed tests), a radical shift took place to data-based science of reading instruction. Most teachers welcomed this shift, but the assessment burden was significant and threatened to undermine initial enthusiasm. In particular, the individual phonics, spelling, and fluency assessments used to drive instruction took hours of class time to administer on a quarterly basis.

To address this issue,  the reading specialists (in consultation with local university professors) developed teacher-friendly phonics, spelling, and fluency diagnostic assessments and field-tested them in hundreds of classrooms across the grade levels. The assessments were designed for whole-class, rather than individual, administration (except for the fluency assessment) to save valuable instructional time and reduce teacher workload. With this time-savings, the reading specialists were able to change the assessments from random-sample screeners to comprehensive diagnostics. Teachers and admin loved the specifics and the actionable data.

The data were analyzed and test items revised accordingly with significant teacher input from teachers and compared to data from normed assessments. Results were remarkably comparable. Teachers and reading specialists found the assessments to be internally valid (the test items accurately represent what they purport to assess) and reliable for placement.

Over the years, these original assessments have been revised and additional assessments were developed and field-tested by one of these reading specialists, Mark Pennington, to take advantage of new technology to further streamline administration, correction, and recording of the data teachers need to inform and differentiate reading and ELA instruction. Assessment components are now provided as audio files and in self-correcting Google forms and sheets.

WHY ARE THESE ASSESSMENTS FREE TO USE? As noted above, the assessments were developed and revised for and by teachers and their students. Mark Pennington has followed this precedent with his additional assessments and kept them free to use as he developed his own company, Pennington Publishing, over the years. As a publisher, Mark has reasoned that if teachers find the assessment data valuable, they may wish to purchase corresponding instructional resources which help teach to those data. Especially instructional components with quick formative assessments to monitor progress. Give one of them a try and see if the assessment data rings true and informs your instruction.

Phonemic Awareness Assessments

Use these five phonemic awareness to determine reading readiness. Each of the 5 assessments is administered whole class and includes audio files.

Syllable Awareness Assessment

Print and 5:48 Audio File

Syllable Rhyming Assessment

Print and 5:38 Audio File

Phonemic Isolation Assessment

Print and 5:54 Audio File

Phonemic Blending Assessment

Print and 5:53 Audio File

Phonemic Segmenting Assessment

Print and 5:21 Audio File

Alphabetic Awareness Assessments

Print and Alphabet Cards

Phonics Assessments

The phonics assessments feature nonsense words and test all common sound-spellings.

Vowel Sounds Phonics Assessment

Print, Google Forms, Google Sheets and 10:42 Audio File

Consonant Sounds Phonics Assessment

Print, Google Forms, Google Sheets and 12:07 Audio File

Fluency Assessment

The fluency assessment is designed in a tiered reading level format, beginning at the first grade level and proceeding to the seventh grade level. This assessment is individually administered and is timed for two minutes.

Pets Fluency Assessment


Heart Words Assessments

This 108-word assessment tests student knowledge of high frequency words with an irregular sound-spelling (the part to learn by heart). As an option, teachers may require students to identify the irregular sound spellings by drawing hearts.

Heart Words Assessment


Diagnostic Spelling Assessments

Most common spelling patterns are included in this assessment. Administer part or all of the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment (American English Version) test items, according to grade-level criteria.

  • Grade 3: K-2 spelling patterns (#s 1‒41)
  • Grade 4: K-3 spelling patterns (#s 1‒55)
  • Grade 5: K-4 spelling patterns (#s 1‒64)
  • Grade 6: K-5 spelling patterns (#s 1‒82)
  • Grade 7: K-6 spelling patterns (#s 1‒100)
  • Grade 8: K-7 spelling patterns(#s 1‒102)

Most common spelling patterns are included in this assessment. Administer part or all of the Diagnostic Spelling Assessment (Canadian English Version) test items, according to grade-level criteria

  • Grade 3: K-2 spelling patterns (#s 1‒41)
  • Grade 4: K-3 spelling patterns (#s 1‒55)
  • Grade 5: K-4 spelling patterns (#s 1‒64)
  • Grade 6: K-5 spelling patterns (#s 1‒82)
  • Grade 7: K-6 spelling patterns (#s 1‒100)
  • Grade 8: K-7 spelling patterns(#s 1‒106)

Diagnostic American English Spelling Assessment: Print Assessment with “Normal speed” 22:38 and “Quick version 17:26 audio file links. Recording Matrix for Progress Monitoring

Diagnostic Canadian English Spelling Assessment: Print Assessment with “Normal speed” 18:53 and “Quick version 21:12 audio file links. Recording Matrix for Progress Monitoring

Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessments

Use this 45 grammar and usage item assessment to determine student’s knowledge of parts of speech, subjects and predicates, types of sentences, fragments and run-ons, pronoun usage, modifiers, verb tenses and verb forms.

Grammar and Usage Assessment

Print and Google Forms

Use this 32 item mechanics assessment to test students’ ability to apply correct usage of commas, capitalization, and all other essential punctuation.

Mechanics Assessment

As an option, the grammar, usage, and mechanics assessments are combined as a Google form.

Print and Google Forms

Diagnostic Grammar, Usage, and Mechanics Assessment (self-correcting Google forms)

Vocabulary Assessments

The Tier 2 academic language vocabulary has been derived from the research-based Academic Word List (AWL).  The Academic Word List (Coxhead) has been ordered into grade level lists by frequency. Each grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 Academic Language Assessment includes 56 Tier 2 words. The Tier 2 words are the academic language words that are most-often generalizable across the academic domains. For example, the word analyze is used in English-language arts, social science, history, science, math, and the arts.

Diagnostic Academic Language Assessments Grades 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8  (self-correcting Google forms) 

Data Recording Matrices

Diagnostic Assessment Matrices


Grammar/Mechanics, Literacy Centers, Reading, Spelling/Vocabulary, Writing , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Word Families (Rimes) Activities

Should We Teach High Frequency Words?

High Frequency Words?

Although systematic explicit phonemic awareness and  phonics instruction should be the core of beginning reading instruction, as a reading specialist I support an eclectic approach to ensure success for all students. One such approach that I have used with success is teaching the basic word families, also known as rimes.

Now to be certain that I don’t lead you astray, let’s be clear that I do mean rimes, and not rhymes. Although the two are certainly related, especially in terms of instructional practice. Simply defined, the rime consists of a vowel and final consonants, such as “ack.” The rime usually follows an initial consonant, e.g. “b,” or consonant blend, e.g. “bl,” to form words, e.g., “back” or “black.”

Learning the common rimes can help beginning readers recognize common chunks of letters within words. Margaret Moustafa’s research has demonstrated that beginning readers tend to figure out new words through analogy (1997). In other words, they connect “what they already know” to “what they need to know” through word similarities. Goswami found that both beginning and dyslexic readers benefit from learning and practicing rimes (2000). To summarize, if beginning readers learn to recognize the “ack” rime, they will be able to use that chunk to learn words with different single consonant onsets to form words such as “back,” “hack,” “jack,” “lack,” “rack,” “sack,” “tack,” as well as words with different consonant blend onsets, such as “black,” “crack,” and “stack.”

Reading specialists will note that this approach features analytic phonics, not synthetic phonics. The science of reading movement has featured the latter approach and, like Dr. Tim Shanahan, I favor synthetic phonics for beginning reading instruction; however, like Dr. Tim Shanahan, I also see a role for analytic phonics to help students who have challenges orthographically mapping the phoneme-grapheme relationships.

“When children know their phonics skills but struggle to read or spell words, then working with word analogies and getting kids to thinking about alternative pronunciations of spelling patterns (bread, break, bead) is the way to go.
The idea of combining synthetic and analytic phonics instruction violates no research, and if done well, may help more kids to succeed…/which-is-best-analytic…

Now, good reading teachers will note that teaching rimes could be used to side-step blending the individual vowel and final consonant sounds, just as teaching the consonant blends could side-step blending the individual consonant sounds. Thus, with the consonant blend onset “bl” and its rime “ack,” the word black becomes two pronunciation units, rather than four. I certainly would not advocate these short-cuts; however, once beginning readers have mastered, or are in the process of mastering how to blend, I see no reason to avoid practicing blending automaticity with rimes. I do suggest leaving the consonant blends to the traditional blending strategies rather than practicing these as chunks because mispronunciations, such as “bluh” for bl, will create more harm than good. Again, students should be taught to decode each sound-spelling; however, to map the word orthographically, analogous onsets and rimes help students form and apply sight syllables with automaticity.

Parents can be helpful partners in practicing rimes with their children. Although oftentimes well-intentioned parents can do more harm than good when they teach their children to blend improperly, practicing rimes is almost foolproof. A good list of rimes, such as in the following Word Family (Rimes Activities), will give parents the tools they need. Also, reading rhyming books, such as Dr. Seuss, are wonderful practice.

For older students, say second-graders or reading intervention students (think Response to Intervention Tiers Ii and III), this Rimes Assessment with recording matrix can provide the data teachers need to effectively differentiate instruction.

So for those of you who have read this far, here are some terrific Word Families (Rimes) Activities to practice rimes in the classroom. You may also wish to use the phonics materials and activities found in these articles: Phonics Games and in How to Teach Phonics. Also, check out these related Phonemic Awareness Activities.


Intervention Program Science of Reading

The Science of Reading Intervention Program

Pennington Publishing provides two reading intervention program options for ages eight–adult. The Teaching Reading Strategies (Intervention Program) is a full-year, 55 minutes per day program which includes both word recognition and language comprehension instructional resources (Google slides and print). The word recognition components feature the easy-to-teach, interactive 5 Daily Google Slide Activities: 1. Phonemic Awareness and Morphology 2. Blending, Segmenting, and Spelling 3. Sounds and Spelling Independent Practice 4. Heart Words Independent Practice 5. The Sam and Friends Phonics Books–decodables 1ith comprehension and word fluency practice for older readers. The program also includes sound boxes and personal sound walls for weekly review.  The language comprehension components feature comprehensive vocabulary, reading fluency, reading comprehension, spelling, writing and syntax, syllabication, reading strategies, and game card lessons, worksheets, and activities. Word Recognition × Language Comprehension = Skillful Reading: The Simple View of Reading and the National Reading Panel Big 5.

If you only have time for a half-year (or 30 minutes per day) program, the The Science of Reading Intervention Program features the 5 Daily Google Slide Activities, plus the sound boxes and personal word walls for an effective word recognition program.

FREE DOWNLOADS TO ASSESS THE QUALITY OF PENNINGTON PUBLISHING RESOURCES: The SCRIP (Summarize, Connect, Re-think, Interpret, and Predict) Comprehension Strategies includes class posters, five lessons to introduce the strategies, and the SCRIP Comprehension Bookmarks.

Get the SCRIP Comprehension Strategies FREE Resource:

Get the Diagnostic ELA and Reading Assessments FREE Resource:

Get the Syllable Awareness Assessment FREE Resource:

Get the Syllable Rules FREE Resource:

Get the Accent Rules FREE Resource:

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