Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills


Approximately 20% of U.S. children have difficulty learning to read. It is widely recognized that early reading difficulties tend to persist over time. First grade students who struggle with word recognition and phonological processing are highly likely to have reading difficulties in the later elementary grades. The DIBELS are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of pre-reading and early reading skills. This simple set of tests help identify students who need extra help in learning to read, and can confirm that your student is well on the way to being an outstanding reader!

The Teacher Sends Home Graphs... What Do They Mean?

DIBLES Graph Example

OK... So What Do These Tests Mean for MY STUDENT?
Parents can know how well a student is developing reading skills on a monthly basis!

Sub-Test Descriptions

LNF-- Letter Naming Fluency:
(Beginning Kindergarten)
Tests how many letters a student can name in one minute.

Goal: 8 letters in September -- to ALL upper and lower case letters in January.
How Can I Help? Have your child name upper and lower case letters -- practice 5-10 letters everyday.

NWF--Nonsense Word Fluency:
(Kindergarten to Beginning Second Grade)
Tests how well a student can blend letter-sounds together.
Goal: 25 words in Kindergarten to 50 words at the end of First Grade.
How Can I Help? Use letter magnets to make silly three-letter words like /jop/, /fum/, and /wik/
(pronounce the letter sounds and then blend them together)
Explanation: Non-words are used to make sure that the students don't know the words by "sight".
This test determines how well students use phonics to pronounce unknown words.

PSF--Phoneme Segmentation Fluency:
(Kindergarten & First Grade)
Tests how well a student can break letter-sounds apart.

Goal: 35 words by the end of First Grade.
How Can I Help? Look at a three-letter word, then have your student say each letter-sound separately.
Use real words from books and say each letter-sound.

ORF--Oral Reading Fluency:
(End of First Grade to Third Grade)
Tests how many words a student can read accurately in one minute.

Goal: 40 words per minute at the end of First Grade
Goal: 90 words per minute at the end of Second Grade
Goal: 110 words per minute at the end of Third Grade
How Can I Help? Have your student read aloud to you everyday...20 minutes per day
do not try to correct mistakes, let the student read and self-correct.

The Different Sub-Tests are Important Steps in Learning to Read

The DIBELS measures were designed to assess phonological awareness (recognizing sounds in spoken words), knowledge of the alphabet and fluency with text, which are important early literacy skills and predictive of later reading proficiency. There are two types of skills that are required for successful reading comprehension. These include: (a) general language comprehension and (b) word recognition fluency. A prerequisite for recognizing and comprehending words is the acquisition of phonemic awareness skills. Increasingly, educators are recognizing the importance of phonological awareness as a building block to literacy. Therefore, it is important to include strategies that promote phonological awareness, in addition to strategies that promote letter and word recognition fluency and oral language skills, in programs aimed at helping young children at risk for reading difficulties. Our school uses a curriculum designed to give students all of these skills on a daily basis.

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