Assessing Kindergarten Readiness Skills

Hey y'all! It's getting to be that time again when fresh faces enter our classroom and we start to build new relationships and new memories. The beauty of kindergarten is that everyone starts fresh--no history of behavior from last year, no preconceived notions, just fresh. (I love that part!)


The bad news is, you likely have no idea what strengths and weaknesses your students have coming in. Of course you're going to teach all the things, but if you know where everyone is starting from, you have a much better idea of how far you can go. That's why, at the beginning of each year in kinder, we use a beginning of the year assessment to find out exactly where they're all at.


It's super simple. I sit one on one with each student while the others are working on a handwriting page or a math or fine motor center and assess each student. I ask them to identify as many capital and lower case letters as they can, and the sounds the letters make. I ask them to identify numbers 0-20 (12 and 20 always trip them up!) and to count as high as they can, orally and with objects (this assesses one-to-one correspondence). I ask them to identify basic colors and shapes, and to write their name. When they write their name, I'm looking at whether they can write it and how their pencil grip looks. If it looks labored, I might give them some tools to help or talk to our OT person.


The next part is print awareness. This can be done during the one on one time or while walking around the room while students are working. During this part of the assessment, I look to see if the student holds the book correctly, turns the page the right direction, and knows that words go left to right and top to bottom. I'll ask them to point to a word and a letter to see if they know the difference. The vast majority of my kinders know the difference, but I really need to know who doesn't so we can address that pretty quickly.


You can even use this set digitally now. The deck for Boom Learning has 85 cards that assess students on identifying capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers to 20, shapes, and colors. The only things in the print version that aren't in the Boom version are print awareness (can they hold the book correctly and follow print) and name writing. But you can get both sets bundled here and have EVERYTHING you need for in-person or distance learning. 



Easy enough, right? But then what? When I'm finished, I take a look at all the data and start grouping students on skills they need. Five kids don't know the difference between letters and words? We'll talk about it during our shared reading and then reassess in a small group. Four kids know all their capitals and very few lower case letters? There's a small group. Three can't write their name? There's a small group, too. Six know all their letters and the sounds they make? We've got a guided reading group there.

Throughout the year, I reassess students to check their progress and make adjustments as needed. Groups are fluid and can change as fast the littles grow. Just don't forget to reevaluate their needs and move on as they master new skills.

You can get a copy of the assessment I use here. It's pretty straightforward and easy to setup--just print and go. You can even put cards on a book ring to make it easy to take with you around the room.

I hope this helped. Stay tuned for more great resources coming soon.

Stay sweet,

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