October 19, 2012

Ready to read

I recently found out about a local program that provides free literacy readiness screenings. Designed to identify children at danger for learning difficulties and provide intervention, children three to five are eligible.

I have read children with Apraxia often have difficulty learning to read. And with learning in general. We have had no reason to be concerned about SB, but I decided it would be a good idea to have her screened. I know firsthand the importance and benefit of early intervention.

So I told SB we would be going to the children's hospital to play some games. That a woman would be showing her some pictures and asking her questions. I said nothing about a "test." I don't even think SB knows what that is.

The screening instrument used was the Get Ready to Read (GRTR), a 25-item "emergent literacy screening instrument." It was fascinating to watch SB as she was assessed. At first she treated it like it was really a game, but about halfway through, she realized something was up.

She took note of the fact that the woman was writing things down every time she answered. Her posture and demeanor changed. Immediately after giving an answer, she would look at the woman's face for affirmation, and watch her write her notes.

She became visibly less confident. Less focused. Timid in her responses, even. But the woman administering the screening did an excellent job. Once it was over (after only about 10 minutes), she and I both praised SB.

The results confirmed what hubby and I have believed for some time; SB is well on her way to reading. She scored significantly above average for her age. The woman commented that she has assessed hundreds of children, and SB performed exceptionally.

I was given a booklet about the screening itself and my daughter's results. It also offered tips and tools for parents to encourage and contribute to literacy for their children. It included a Home Literacy Environment Checklist, which hubby and I found encouraging.

This was a great tool, and I would encourage parents to research similar resources in your area.
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