How to Use a Kindergarten Reading Assessment

March 10, 2023

Kindergarten Reading Assessment

Children in kindergarten are new to the reading adventure. However, children can start kindergarten at different reading readiness levels. In fact, one study showed that children whose parents regularly read to them five books per day came to kindergarten knowing more than one million more words than students who didn’t hear any books read aloud.

Some children could even start kindergarten as a fluent reader. How can parents understand their kindergartener’s reading ability? Data from kindergarten reading assessments can help parents pave the way for a smooth reading journey during this early grade level, and there are multiple assessments that can help parents uncover their kindergartener’s reading abilities. Children can take assessments in class, at home or even via a clinician. The most common assessments include:

  • Star Reading
  • State reading assessments
  • Online evaluations

Kindergarten Reading Assessment

What is a Star Reading Assessment?

A kindergarten reading assessment is a simple test that allows parents to gauge their child’s reading level in kindergarten. While parents might learn their child’s reading level from teachers, children should progress in their reading levels throughout the year. In fact, they might steadily advance each month.

However, every child learns at their own speed. In addition, reading can be more difficult for some children than for others. For this reason, using an assessment can help parents identify a potential reading struggle so they can better help their child.

If parents Google reading assessment options, they might be inundated with different tests. Some of these assessments can be used in the classrooms and require district access. One popular assessment tool is Star Reading (from Renaissance Learning). School districts use Star Reading to monitor each student’s reading progress and growth throughout the year.

While some children might have a bad test day, teachers might look for recurring patterns of low scores to determine reading struggles. If a child scores low on one test, and later scores at a benchmark level during the next assessment, teachers might not be too concerned.

Children who consistently score low compared to peers might be noted as being ‘on watch’ or in need of intervention. Reports that explain a child’s reading data are often sent home to parents; these reports can provide parents with crucial data regarding their child’s reading progress.

Star Reading reports might show the child’s percentile rank; this denotes where the child ranks related to other students in the same grade level. A child who scores in the 75th percentile reads better than 75 percent of children in the same grade level (typically across the state). Reports also could show scores across multiple years or testing periods and how these scores correlate to reading growth or perhaps even reading loss. Reports include a Lexile that shows the appropriate reading level for the student.

Parents can use all this data to help determine the best reading level for their child when choosing books at the library. In addition, Star Reading reports also can help parents understand if their child is struggling and ‘on watch’ or if they are in need of more immediate intervention. If parents are concerned about scores, they should contact their child’s teacher for clarification. The data from Star Reading reports could warrant further dialogue between parents and educators.

Not all schools use Star Reading, though. In addition, these tests also might not be implemented during kindergarten.

Kindergarten Reading Assessment

State Reading Assessments

Starting around third grade, students will take statewide reading and math assessments through an end-of year achievement test or standardized test. In later grades, assessments could include other subjects, too. These statewide tests capture data related to proficiency in these core subjects.

Unfortunately, reading data and proficiency isn’t captured via these state achievement tests until third grade. While kindergarteners might not participate in more grueling test schedules like older students, states still monitor reading progress in lower grades.

In fact, 46 states mandate reading assessments in kindergarten through third grade. The states that don’t require reading assessments in these early grades include Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Data related to reading assessment mandates was not available for Alabama and Hawaii.

Test Reading Levels at Home

Some parents might feel clueless about their child’s reading level. Kindergarten could be a child’s first introduction to reading, and, for this reason, parents might not be too concerned about zeroing in on their child’s reading abilities.

However, if a reading struggle is identified early, parents could request early intervention or provide outside tutoring or enrichment to help their child gain proficiency. To gauge a child’s reading level, parents can use a free online reading assessment via Readability.

This assessment includes just three simple steps, and children can complete the assessment in one minute. To begin the assessment, parents should select their child’s grade level. Readability’s assessment is designed for children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Once the grade level is selected, parents should make sure their child is working on a computer or tablet (or phone) that is equipped with a microphone. The assessment requires children to read a section of text aloud.

When the child is ready to begin, they simply need to start reading the text. The program will measure proficiency and comprehension as the child reads aloud. Again, this assessment is simple and quick; children won’t be forced to sit through a lengthy reading exam.

After the child has completed the reading assessment, Readability will create a personalized reading report that shows the child’s reading level and provides tips on how parents can help them gain proficiency (if they are reading below grade level). Kindergarten parents could discover that their child is right or track or even reading above grade-level expectations.

However, if parents realize that their child is struggling to meet grade-level benchmarks, they can use the report’s tips and guidance to help their child at home. Parents also could sign up for a free trial period of Readability’s reading tutoring program.

Readability is designed for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. Early readers can use the program in kindergarten and could continue to use it throughout elementary school.

The program features a built-in AI tutor that guides the lessons. The tutor is programmed with voice recognition software. When using Readability, children read books in their online leveled library aloud. The tutor can identify if a child is struggling and understands when they made a mistake; the tutor can provide guidance and help during lessons. In addition, the tutor provides an end-of-book quiz to gauge reading comprehension.

Kindergarteners also will enjoy the Storytime feature of the program. This feature lets them listen to their favorite Readability books while following along. Listening to stories can help children identify emotions of characters and even bolster their interest in books and stories.

Not all parents can afford a private tutor to ensure children can catch up when they fall behind in reading. In addition, parents of younger children might not feel that their child needs intensive tutoring; they might want a tool to help provide additional reading instruction for their child. Readability is an economically-priced resource for providing reading help and for encouraging children to read at home regularly.

Parents can sign up for a free seven-day trial of Readability and explore all the features of the program with their child. The free trial also includes access to the AI reading tutor. If parents and children like the program, a subscription is priced at only $19.99 per month; one subscription can be used for up to three children.

Use Readability’s free reading assessment to better understand a child’s reading level and then explore how Readability can help kindergarteners gain confidence and reading proficiency by signing up for a free trial.