Assessing Your Beginning Reader

Not sure how to assess your struggling reader? Younger children are a bit simpler.   The purpose of the assessment for the beginning reader is to determine exactly which letter sound correspondences your child does and doesn't know. This is especially important before you start tutoring to determine your beginning reader's baseline.
Start with the Multiple Spellings basic sheet and use this in conjunction with the flashcards. Show a flashcard and keep track of your child's responses on the sheet.  It's best if you can mix up the cards so you're not showing all the same sounds together. For example, when you're doing the long vowel sounds, don't do all the long a's at once, or all the long e's.
As you go through each category, explain what the category is first.  For example, if you're assessing long vowel sounds, say something like, "These are the yellow cards (or whatever color you used) and yellow means they're only long vowel sounds."  If your child accidentally says a short vowel sound, don't count it wrong yet, say something like, "That's the short vowel sound, do you know the long vowel sound?"

When you get to the long vowel flashcards that have a vowel, a dash, and an e, the dash stands for a consonant. These are silent e spellings. Tell your student that the dash stands for a consonant and to try the letter t for the consonant. If your child ends up saying the name of the whole silent e syllable, such as ate, instead of just saying ā, don't count it wrong. It may help to keep your records in pencil because you're going to want to keep track of your child's improvement on this sheet also.
Finally, go through the Red Words. For the younger children, write the words individually on note cards. Once your child has missed 5 words, stop.  There is no point in creating a lesson in frustration. You should have a good idea of where your child is with the Red Words at that point.

This assessment can be quite long for a young child, so break it up into as many sessions as you need.