• DIBELS 8th 


          All students in K-3 are screened for reading three times a year using the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills – DIBELS Next.  This is one assessment that helps us identify students who may need extra help in learning the skills necessary to become a strong reader.  Your child’s performance on this assessment was sent home this month.

         DIBELS is a series of short (1 minute) tests that assess early childhood literacy.  These tests are completed with the kindergarten students 3 times a year; the beginning (August), middle (December), and end (May) of the year. Additional skill checks may be used monthly (monitoring) to check progress for those that did not reach the benchmark score. The benchmark score is the numeric goal for each of the tests in the series.  This benchmark increases as the year progresses.  The testing provides information that enables school and families to work together for the best academic success.


    Reviewing Scores:


    An instructional recommendation of ‘core’ means that the odds are in your child’s favor of achieving later reading goals with a continuing effective curriculum and instruction.


    An instructional recommendation of ‘strategic’ means that the odds of achieving later reading goals are approximately 50% without added instructional support in addition to core reading instruction.  If your child’s performance fell within this category, she/he will likely require intervention in addition to core reading instruction.  Small group instruction targeting specific skills MAY be required.  This intervention may be provided by your child’s classroom teacher and/or a reading specialist.


    An instructional recommendation of ‘intensive’ means that your child’s odds of achieving later reading goals are approximately 10-20% without substantial intervention and support in addition to core reading instruction.  Your child will require small group intensive intervention targeting specific skills.  Your child will likely receive small group intervention both in the classroom as well as with a reading specialist, IF he/she does not move out of this range by the second benchmark assessment period. 


    Fluency - When reviewing the subtest titles, note that the word fluency is a part of each heading.  Fluency is a part of the goal that indicates that the skill is demonstrated accurately; the task is completed quickly and effortlessly. Fluency is achieved through countless opportunities to practice and enables the student to gain a high rate of success. 

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    Letter Naming Fluency- (LNF) Evaluates the number of letters that a student names within 1 minute. The page has lines of letters, both upper and lowercase presented in a random order.

    Name the letters:    H    n    e    c    F    k   L   V   z    a    i   p   o   B   d


    Suggestions for practice at home:

    1. Letter Bingo – Match named letters on a bingo board.

    2. Puzzles – Letter puzzles with child naming letters.

    3. Find letters – When reading a book ask child to touch named letters.

    4.  Buy or print a set of upper and lower case letters (magnetic letters are colorful and make great tools for sorting and spelling).  Sort these by type, color, sticks/circles, tall/short, labeling by name.  Match upper with lower case.  Start with letters in your child’s name, then family and friends. 

    5.  Alphabet hunt – Letters are everywhere in the world (environmental print).  Find and label letters by name while you’re out and about.

    6.  Writing – Read the sound card (ie., “A (name), /a/ (sound), apple (key picture) nightly.  Use it to locate sounds for words your child would like to spell for cards, stories, etc.  Don’t spell for him/her. 

    7.  Search on-line to find great ideas! Helpful resources, downloads, games,  websites & apps.   



    Phoneme Segmentation FluencyMeasures the student’s ability to segment a 2 or 5-phoneme word into individual phonemes. In other words, the student hears a spoken word and then shows their understanding of the word sounds by repeating each individual sound, breaking the word apart into 2 or 5 sounds.

    The sounds in ox are /ooo/ - /xxx/.

    The sounds in man are /mmm/ - /aaa/ - /nnn/.

    The sounds in puppy are /ppp/ - /uuu/ - /ppp / - /eee/.


    Suggestions for practice at home:

    1. Build a word – Use building blocks to count sounds; place blocks in a line for each sound in a word. Remember words should have 2, 3 or 4 sounds (in, tan, pen, chop, nest, puppy.) Count the sounds not the letters.

    2.  Finger count – Count each sound in the word on your fingers.

    3.  Search on-line to find great ideas! Helpful resources, downloads, games,  websites & apps.


    Alphabetic Principle – is focused on two skill parts:

           1- The alphabetic understanding that words are composed with letters that represent sounds. 

          2- That letters and sounds have a relationship that is used to decode words (sound out) and to spell. Simply put each letter has a set of sounds that it represents. 


    Nonsense Word FluencyAssesses letter sound correspondence and the student’s ability to blend sounds into words.

    Read the nonsense words (syllables):    mex   lem   san   con   zin   ak

    Three levels that the student may use to respond to this test. The students will progress through these skills levels in this sequence:

    1. Letter-sound correspondence- Pronounces the most common sound of the letter /z/ - /i/ - /n/
    2. Decoding Blends the sound of the letters to say the word (sounding it out)  /zzzziiiiinnn/ zin"
    3. Sight word reading Reads the word as a whole/complete word  /zin/    (End of year goal is to read complete nonsense words, 14+)

    The test is scored to reflect the higher skill level by awarding additional points when the word is read as a whole word and not by sounds.

     Please note the idea of nonsense words may be misleading. When words are broken into syllables, the syllables or word parts are small “nonsense” words that are used for spelling and decoding in the upper reading levels. For example:   mex as part of Mexico; lem as part of lemming; san as part of Santa and con as in consonant.


    Suggestions for practice at home:

    1. Building word game – Use letter tiles or cards build CVC (consonants vowel consonant) words (tan, pen, red, run.)

    2.  Create lists – Write words with a common spelling pattern (tan, ran, pan, man, zan, yan)

    3.  Search on-line to find great ideas! Helpful resources, downloads, games,  websites & apps.


    Composite Score – Is the total of all tests.

    Score levels are reported as: 

         At or Above Benchmark – on target – continue learning with core support

         Below Benchmark – likely needs strategic support

         Well Below Benchmark – likely needs intensive support


      This information has been gathered and condensed from Oregon University’s Center on Teaching & learning. You may find further information here: www.dibels.uoregon.edu/