DIBELS… Kindergarten Benchmark Assessment
The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is an assessment which allows us to predict literacy skills/achievement for your child.  The assessment is given three times a year and we use the information collected to work with your child to help strengthen the necessary skills.  There are specific goals for each area for your child to achieve; however, if your child does not meet the goal it does not mean they will not be able to read.  It means it is an area where we need extra practice.  DIBELS is an assessment to help predict reading acheivement.  In Kindergarten there are 4 areas in which your child will be assessed throughout the year: First Sound Fluency, Letter Naming Fluency, Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, and Nonsense Word Fluency.  You can visit the DIBELS reading website for more detailed information (http://reading.uoregon.edu/); however, here is a quick overview of these assessments!  First, you will notice these tests have the word fluency in them.  These assessments are timed and fluency is important; however, we look at the child’s accuracy as well.  Once we notice the children are accurate, then we work on speed.  Do not worry about your child’s speed as this is something we will have conversation over.

In Fall (September) your child will be assessed on First Sound Fluency and Letter Naming Fluency.  First Sound Fluency assesses your child on the ability to hear what sound comes first at the beginning of a word.  For example, the test may ask your child to tell us what they hear at the beginning of “cat.”  When testing we want the child to respond with the sound, not the letter name.  You do not need anything to practice this skill at home.  You can do this in the car, grocery store, while cooking dinner, etc.  Just ask your child to say the sound they hear at the beginning of a word. 

Letter Naming Fluency is assessed by showing your child a sheet of letters in random order.  The letters are upper and lowercase. Your child will have one minute to name as many upper and lowercase letters correctly.

In the Winter (January) your child will complete the following assessments for DIBELS: First Sound Fluency, Letter Naming Fluency, Phoneme Segmentation, and Nonsense Word Fluency.  As you can see there are two more assessments, which have been added.  The first is Phoneme Segmentation, which does not require any materials.  This is an advanced skill of First Sound Fluency by moving from the first sound of a word to the middle and ending sounds of a word.  For example, if I would say the word “cat,” and your child would segment it by saying the sounds /c/ /a/ /t/.

The final assessment in Winter is Nonsense Word Fluency.  This sounds complicated, but it is quite simple.  The children are shown a three letter make believe word to read.  For example, the child might see “mav” and the child would have to read it by saying the sounds /m/ /a/ /v/ or reading the whole word “mav.”