• DIBELS

     
     
     
    We employ a universal screening tool K-2 to inform instruction and I am pleased to share with you a bit about this data tool. Dynamic Indicators of Early Literacy Skills, commonly referred to as DIBELS, is a widely used screening and monitoring tool. DIBELS is administered individually and gives a quick look at the elements of reading that scientific research says must be addressed for effective reading instruction. This tool provides indicators to identify children who are in need of supplemental or intervention instruction as well as children that have established skills or beyond. It also provides an opportunity for us to evaluate the success of reading instruction; is what we’re doing working?
     
    Students are assessed three times a year; beginning, middle, and end. Teachers use this information to identify target areas of instruction as well as flexible groupings. Assessments areas are as follows with descriptions below:
     
                                          Beginning of the Year                     Middle of the Year                              End of the Year
     
    Kindergarten                      ISF & LNF                                ISF, LNF, PSF, & NWF                       LNF, PSF, & NWF
    First Grade                       LNF, PSF, & NWF                       PSF, NWF, & ORF                            PSF, NWF, & ORF
    Second Grade:                   NWF, & ORF                                        ORF                                                     ORF
             
     
    Description of the ISF Measure: Initial Sound Fluency
    The DIBELS Initial Sound Fluency (ISF) Measure is a standardized, individually administered measure of phonological awareness that assesses a child's ability to recognize and produce the initial sound in an orally presented word (Kaminski & Good, 1996, 1998; Laimon, 1994). The examiner presents four pictures to the child, names each picture, and then asks the child to identify (i.e., point to or say) the picture that begins with the sound produced orally by the examiner. For example, the examiner says, "This is sink, cat, gloves, and hat. Which picture begins with /s/?" and the student points to the correct picture. The child is also asked to orally produce the beginning sound for an orally presented word that matches one of the given pictures. The examiner calculates the amount of time taken to identify/produce the correct sound and converts the score into the number of initial sounds correct in a minute. The ISF measure takes about 3 minutes to administer and score and has over 20 alternate forms to monitor progress.
     
    How does ISF link to the Big Ideas in Beginning Reading?
    ISF is a measure that assesses phonemic awareness skills. Phonemic Awareness (PA) is:
    1.     the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds (Yopp, 1992).
    2.     essential to learning to read in an alphabetic writing system, because letters represent sounds or phonemes. Without phonemic awareness, phonics makes little sense.
    3.     fundamental to mapping speech to print. If a child cannot hear that "man" and "moon" begin with the same sound or cannot blend the sounds /rrrrrruuuuuunnnnn/ into the word "run", he or she may have great difficulty connecting sounds with their written symbols or blending sounds to make a word.
    4.     a strong predictor of children who experience early reading success.
    Description of the LNF Measure: Letter Naming Fluency
    DIBELS Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) is a standardized, individually administered test that provides a measure of risk. LNF is based on research by Marston and Magnusson (1988). Students are presented with a page of upper- and lower-case letters arranged in a random order and are asked to name as many letters as they can. Students are told if they do not know a letter they will be told the letter. The student is allowed 1 minute to produce as many letter names as he/she can, and the score is the number of letters named correctly in 1 minute.
    How does LNF link to the Big Ideas in Beginning Reading?
    Letter Naming Fluency (LNF) is included for students in grades K and 1 as an indicator of risk. Unlike the other DIBELS measures, LNF does not measure a Basic Early Literacy Skill. Although letter names comprise a set of teachable skills, teaching letter names does not lead directly to improvements in student reading outcomes in the ways characterized by the foundational skills of early literacy (Adams, 1990). However, because the measure is highly predictive of later reading success, it is included as an indicator for students who may require additional instructional support on the Basic Early Literacy Skills.
    Description of the PSF Measure: Phoneme Segmentation Fluency
    The DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (PSF) measure is a standardized, individually administered test of phonological awareness (Kaminski & Good, 1996). The PSF measure assesses a student's ability to segment three- and four-phoneme words into their individual phonemes fluently. The PSF measure has been found to be a good predictor of later reading achievement (Kaminski & Good, 1996). The PSF task is administered by the examiner orally presenting words of three to four phonemes. It requires the student to produce verbally the individual phonemes for each word. For example, the examiner says "sat," and the student says "/s/ /a/ /t/" to receive three possible points for the word. After the student responds, the examiner presents the next word, and the number of correct phonemes produced in one minute determines the final score. The PSF measure takes about 2 minutes to administer.
    How does PSF link to the Big Ideas in Beginning Reading?
    PSF is a measure that assesses phonemic awareness skills. Phonemic Awareness (PA) is:
    1.     the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds (Yopp, 1992).
    2.     essential to learning to read in an alphabetic writing system, because letters represent sounds or phonemes. Without phonemic awareness, phonics makes little sense.
    3.     fundamental to mapping speech to print. If a child cannot hear that "man" and "moon" begin with the same sound or cannot blend the sounds /rrrrrruuuuuunnnnn/ into the word "run", he or she may have great difficulty connecting sounds with their written symbols or blending sounds to make a word.
    4.     essential to learning to read in an alphabetic writing system
    5.     a strong predictor of children who experience early reading success.
    Description of the NWF Measure: Nonsense Word Fluency
    The DIBELS Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF) measure is a standardized, individually administered test of the alphabetic principle - including letter-sound correspondence in which letters represent their most common sounds and of the ability to blend letters into words in which letters represent their most common sounds (Kaminski & Good, 1996). The student is presented an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper with randomly ordered VC and CVC nonsense words (e.g., sig, rav, ov) and asked to produce verbally the individual letter sound of each letter or verbally produce, or read, the whole nonsense word. For example, if the stimulus word is "vaj" the student could say /v/ /a/ /j/ or say the word /vaj/ to obtain a total of three letter-sounds correct. The student is allowed 1 minute to produce as many letter-sounds as he/she can, and the final score is the number of letter-sounds produced correctly in one minute. Because the measure is fluency based, students should receive a higher score if they are phonologically recoding the word, as they will be more efficiently producing the letter sounds, and receive a lower score if they are providing letter sounds in isolation. The intent of this measure is that students are able to read unfamiliar words as whole words, not just name letter sounds as fast as they can.
    The NWF measure takes about 2 minutes to administer.
     
    How does NWF link to the Big Ideas in Beginning Reading?
    NWF is a measure that assesses alphabetic principle skills. Alphabetic Principle (AP) is:
    1.     the ability to associate sounds with letters and use these sounds to form words. It is composed of two parts:
    o    Alphabetic Understanding: Letters represent sounds in words.
    o    Phonological Recoding (blending): Letter sounds can be blended together and knowledge of the systematic relationships between letters and phonemes (letter-sound correspondence) can be used to read/decode words.
    2.     a prerequisite to word identification.
     
    Description of the ORF Measures: Oral Reading Fluency
    • DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) is a standardized, individually administered test of accuracy and fluency with connected text. The ORF passages and procedures are based on the program of research and development of Curriculum-Based Measurement of Reading by Stan Deno and colleagues at the University of Minnesota and using the procedures described in Shinn (1989). A version of CBM reading also has been published as The Test of Reading Fluency (TORF) (Children's Educational Services, 1987). ORF is a standardized set of passages and administration procedures designed to (a) identify children who may need additional instructional support, and (b) monitor progress toward instructional goals. The passages are calibrated for the goal level of reading for each grade level. Student performance is measured by having students read a passage aloud for one minute. Words omitted, substituted, and hesitations of more than three seconds are scored as errors. Words self-corrected within three seconds are scored as accurate. The number of correct words per minute from the passage is the oral reading fluency score. DIBELS ORF includes both benchmark passages to be used as screening assessments across the school year.
    How does ORF link to the Big Ideas in Beginning Reading?
    • DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) is a measure that assesses Accuracy and Fluency with Text, the ability to effortlessly translate letters-to-sounds-to-words. The fluent reader is one whose decoding processes are automatic, requiring no conscious attention. Such capacity then enables readers to allocate their attention to the comprehension and meaning of the text.
     
    This is the fourth year we have universally implemented DIBELS K-2. As we move forward in our quest for continuous improvements it is exciting to have added information to again answer the questions; how are we doing? and is what we’re doing working?
     
    The process of developing a standards-based report card continues. Commencing 2013-2014, the English Language Arts portion of our report card will be implemented. This section has been aligned with the common core and is standards based. A SBRC lists the most important skills students should learn in each subject at a particular grade level. Expectations are clearly identified. A SBRC will provide additional information to families on where their child is in terms of mastering specific standards, strengths and weaknesses.
     
    Developing a quality SBRC is a time consuming process well worth the time required. Our SBRC committee works collaboratively with the big picture, the Simonian Center, as well as the smaller picture individual grade levels, in mind. SBRC representatives bring tasks and working documents to the grade levels at faculty meetings and professional development days. The next area of focus for standards based development is mathematics. Change requires commitment and ownership to be successful. The Simonian Center staff has embraced the development process and look forward to a SBRC to best convey student progress.