Find Out Exactly What Skills Your Child Needs to Master Reading

reading checklist

Using Our Simple Reading Tests Below, Discover Where Your Child Needs Training to Move Forward

Use this checklist to determine exactly where your children are at on the path to reading. Included in each step are simple tests you can give your child which will reveal any specific gaps in their skills that need filling in. Additionally, we include the materials you'll need to build those missing skills.

STEP 1: Phonemic Awareness

Mastery: Your child can tell you the beginning sound of simple words.

Go here for complete information.

Test for competency:

Ask your child slowly and clearly: "Can you tell me what sound the word, 'dog' starts with? It starts with /d/. Let's say /d/ /d/ 'dog' together, [she should be able to repeat with you] /d/ /d/ 'dog', /d/ /d/ 'dog'."

"Let's try another word. Can you say the first sound of 'cat'? What's the first sound you hear in 'cat'? [wait to see if your she can say the first sound]. Let's say it together, /c/ /c/ 'cat', /c/ /c/ 'cat'."

Success: If your child can easily detect the beginning sounds of simple words, your child has mastered this skill and you can go to Step 2: Alphabetic Principle.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems discerning the beginning sounds of words, use these games and lessons until they master this step, then your child is ready for the next Step.

Partners in Rhyme - Game App

Letter Sound Alphabet Printable Cards - PDF Download

$6.95

STEP 2: Alphabetic Principle

Mastery: Your child can tell you the common sounds that letters make.

Go here for complete information.

Test for Competency:

Gather pictures of an apple, dog, cat, paleā€¦ any pictures that do not have blended beginning sounds. (Frog is not a good choice because the beginning sound of the word has an /fr/ blended sound, which is too advanced a concept for this level.) Make sure the pictures don't have anything else in them and are accurate renderings (not cartoon, distorted versions). They need to be only the object too (not distracting graphics around them). Beside each picture, put a nicely rendered version of the beginning letter. Let's use the apple as an example.

Point to the letter 'a' beside the picture of the apple and ask your child: "Can you tell me what sound this letter makes?" [He should be able to see the apple, detect that it begins with the /a/ sound and say it].

Do this with several pictures.

A more challenging test would be to point to various letters on an alphabet chart or an isolated letter card and ask the child, "What sound does this letter make?"

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems saying the sound of the letters, he is ready for Step 3: Phoneme Blending.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems detecting and saying these letter sounds, use the following app games to learn/strengthen this concept before moving to the next level of reading.

ABC Magic Phonics 1 - Game App

ABC Magic Phonics 2 - Game App

ABC Magic Phonics 3 - Game App

Letter Sound Matching

ABC Magic Phonics 4 - Game App

ABC Magic Phonics 5 - Game App

Connecting Sounds, Letters and Pictures

ABC Magic Phonics 6 - Game App

Memory Match

Sound Beginnings - Game App

Blending, Segmenting and Reading 3-Letter Short Vowel Words

STEP 3: Phoneme Blending

Mastery: Your child can blend 3- and 4-letter sounds into a word.

Go here for complete information.

Test for Competency:

Start by gathering carefully selected 3-phoneme pictures: 'cat,' 'bed,' and 'dog'. Go over these words with your child so that she knows clearly what the word is for each picture.

Tell your child that you are going to say the sounds of one of these words and ask her to tell you which word picture you are saying. Say /b/ + /e/ + /d/. Say it couple of times if necessary. She should be able to point to the picture of the bed. Try this same game with a variety of other pictures.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems deciding which picture matches the sounds you said, then she is ready for Step 4: Phoneme Segmentation.

Needs Work with 3-letter words: If your child is having problems with 3-letter words, use the following app games and printable booklet lessons to strengthen this skill.

ABC Reading Magic 1

Short Vowel Words

3-Letter Phonetic Word Cards - PDF Download

6 Sets, 60 3-Letter Word Cards - $14.95
 

Needs Work with 4-letter words: If your child is doing well with 3-letter words but having trouble with 4-letter words, use the app games below to strengthen this skill. Once she has mastered both 3- and 4-letter words, your child is ready for Step 4: Phoneme Segmenting.

ABC Reading Magic 2 - Game App

Consonant Blends

STEP 4: Phoneme Segmenting & Word Building

Mastery: Your child can dissect a word into its letter sounds without seeing the word.

Go here for complete information.

There are four similar tests you need to administer at this level to determine which skills are strong and where there are gaps that need filling in with specific training in that skill. These tests are:

  • CVC Phoneme Segmenting (consonant-vowel-consonant)
  • CVCC and CCVC Phoneme Segmenting (consonant-vowel-consonant-consonant)
  • CVC Word Building
  • CVCC and CCVC Word Building (consonant-consonant-vowel-consonant)

CVC Phoneme Segmenting Test for Competency:

Gather several accurately rendered pictures of a 'cat', 'hat', 'dog', 'sun', 'pot', etc. Make sure these images are not surrounded by distracting graphics but are only the object on a white background. You will also need three placeholders such as bingo chips, coins or some other flat objects. You could even create a card with three circles or squares on it. These placeholders are to be used as indicators of how many sounds are in each word picture.

Start with the picture of the 'cat'. Place three placeholders (one for each letter) in a horizontal line beneath the picture. Tell your child that you are going to show him how to play this game. Say, "Cat, /c/ + /a/ + /t/, cat." and each time you say one of the sounds touch one of the placeholders in a left to right sequence.

Repeat this process with the word 'hat', "Hat, /h/ + /a/ + /t/, hat".

Ask your child to show you the sounds of the next picture.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems saying what each object is and breaking the words into their letter sounds, you can test to see if he can segment words with four phonemes. If he can do that, he is ready for Step 5: Word Decoding.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with the words, he needs to practice using the app below to gain mastery before moving on to Step 5.

ABC Reading Magic 1 - Game App

Short Vowel Words

CVCC, CCVC Phoneme Segmenting Test for Competency:

This test is the same test above but you will be using different picture cards using four phonemes: 'jump', 'skip', 'drum', 'hand', 'pond', 'crab', 'plum', etc.

Start with the picture of the hand. Place the four placeholders in a horizontal line beneath the picture. Tell your child that you are going to show him how to play this game (see above for info on placeholders if needed). Say, "hand, /h/ + /a/ + /n/ + /d/, hand," and each time you say one of the sounds touch one of the placeholders in a left to right sequence.

Repeat this process with the word pond, "Pond, /p/ + /o/ + /n/ + /d/, pond,"

Ask your child to show you the sounds of the next picture.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems saying what each object is and breaking the words into their letter sounds, she is ready for Word Decoding.

Needs Work: If your child is doing well with 3-letter words but having trouble with 4-letter words, he needs to practice using this app to gain mastery before moving on to word building. Once he has mastered both 3-letter and 4-letter words, your child is ready for Word Decoding.

ABC Reading Magic 2 - Game App

Consonant Blends

CVC Word Building Test for Competency:

Use the same picture cards from the previous test: 'cat', 'hat', 'dog', 'sun', 'pot', etc. You will also need to have letters printed or neatly written out on little squares that are about the same size as the placeholders mentioned earlier. You will also be using the placeholders

Start with the picture of the 'cat'. Place the three placeholders in a horizontal line beneath the picture. Have the letters 'c', 'a', and 't' in random order below the picture.

Tell your child that you are going to show her how to play this game. Say, "Cat, /c/ + /a/ + /t/, cat," and each time you say one of the sounds touch one of the placeholders in a left to right sequence. Then find the letter 'c' card and place it on top of the first placeholder on the left. Next, say the three sounds of the word again with emphasis on the /a/ sound. Place the letter 'a' card on top of the middle token. Repeat the sounds again and then place the letter 't' card in the last spot, to the right of the other two letters.

Repeat this process with the word 'hat' to show your child again how to do word building. First say, "Hat, /h/ + /a/ + /t/, hat," and then, one by one, place the letters cards on top of the sound placeholders from left to right.

Place the correct three letters for the 'dog' picture randomly beneath the picture and sound placeholders. Ask your child to show you how to put the letters in the right order for this picture. Test your child on a few more pictures.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems segmenting the words into their letter sounds and then placing the correct letter on top of each placeholder, then you can test to see if he can build words with four phonemes. If he can do that, he is ready for Step 5: Word Decoding.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with the words, he needs to practice word building before progressing to word building with four phonemes and four letters. Use the app below:

ABC Reading Magic 1 - Game App

Short Vowel Words

CVCC, CCVC Word Building Test for Competency:

This would be the same test above but with 4-letter picture cards: 'jump', 'skip', 'drum', 'hand', 'pond', 'crab', 'plum', etc.

Start with the picture of the 'hand'. Place the four placeholders in a horizontal line beneath the picture. Place the four letters cards in a randomly mixed order beneath the picture of the hand. Tell your child that you are going to show him how to play this game. Say, "hand, /h/ + /a/ + /n/ + /d/, hand," and each time you say one of the sounds touch one of the placeholders in a left to right sequence.

Find the letter 'h' card and place it on top of the first placeholder on the left. Repeat saying, "hand, /h/ + /a/ + /n/ + /d/, hand," with emphasis on the /a/ sound. Place the letter 'a' card on top of the second placeholder. Say, "hand, /h/ + /a/ + /n/ + /d/, hand," with emphasis on the /n/ sound. Place the letter 'n' card on top of the third placeholder. Finally, say, "hand, /h/ + /a/ + /n/ + /d/, hand," and then place the 'd' card on top of the fourth and last placeholder.

Repeat this process with the word 'pond', to give your child another example, "pond, /p/ + /o/ + /n/ + /d/, pond."

Ask your child to show you the sounds and proper letter placements for the remaining pictures.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems segmenting the words into their letter sounds and then placing the correct letter on top of each placeholder, then she is ready for Step 5: Word Decoding.

Needs Work: If your child is doing well with 3-letter words but having trouble with 4-letter words, he needs to practice using this app to gain mastery before moving on to Step 5: Word Decoding. Use the app below:

ABC Reading Magic 2 - Game App

Consonant Blends

STEP 5: Word Decoding

Mastery: Your child can quickly and easily read CVC and CVCC/CCVC words.

Go here for complete information.

There are two similar tests you need to administer at this level to determine which skills are strong and where there are gaps that need filling in with specific training in that skill. These tests are:

  • CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant)
  • CVCC and CCVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant-consonant and consonant, consonant, vowel, consonant)

CVC Test for Competency:

Start by gathering or creating large font 3-letter lowercase words: 'cat', 'bed', 'sit', 'log', 'run', 'dog', 'pig' and 'sun'. Make them large - about an inch tall.

Starting with the word, 'cat', don't tell her what the word is but just show the word and ask her to say what each letter sound in this word says. [She should be able to say, /r/ /a/ /m/]. Next, ask her to say the letters together and tell you what word this is. [She should be able to say, /r/ /a/ /m/, 'ram'].

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems decoding what each word is, note this down and go to the CVCC Test.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any these words, he needs to use the game app and printable lessons below to master CVC words.

ABC Reading Magic 1 - Game App

3-Letter Phonetic Word Cards - PDF Downloads

Short 'a' Words, 12 3-Letter Word Cards
$3.95

Short 'e' Words, 12 3-Letter Word Cards
$3.95

Short 'i' Words, 12 3-Letter Word Cards
$3.95

Short 'o' Words, 12 3-Letter Word Cards
$3.95

Short 'u' Words, 12 3-Letter Word Cards
$3.95

Short 'u' Words with Double Consonant Endings, 12 3-Letter Word Cards
$3.95

***Short Vowel Words, All 6 Sets, 60 3-Letter Word Cards - $14.95***

CVCC, CCVC Test for Competency:

Start by gathering or creating large font 4-letter lowercase words: 'lamp', 'jump', 'nest', 'frog', 'skip', and 'flag'.

Start with the word 'lamp'. Ask your child to say each sound of each letter and then to put all the sounds together into a word. He should be able to say, /l/ /a/ /m/ /p/. Next, ask him to say the letters together and tell you what word this is. [He should be able to say, /l/ /a/ /m/ /p/, 'lamp'].

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems decoding what each word is, then you can go to the next step of reading sentences.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any these words, he needs to use the game app lessons below to master CVCC, CCVC words.

ABC Reading Magic 2 - Game App

4-Letter Phonetic Word Cards with Consonant Blends - PDF Downloads

Action Words
15 4-Letter Word Cards - $3.95

Outdoor Activities
15 4-Letter Word Cards - $3.95

Things at Home
15 4-Letter Word Cards - $3.95

Animals
15 4-Letter Word Cards - $3.95

People and Activities
15 4-Letter Word Cards - $3.95

Objects
15 4-Letter Word Cards - $3.95

Work Related
15 4-Letter Word Cards - $3.95

***All 7 Sets, 108 4-Letter Word Cards - $22.95***

STEP 6: Reading Sentences

Mastery: Your child can read simple complete sentences.

Go here for complete information.

There are 10 sentence-reading tests you need to administer at this level to determine which of your child's skills are strong and where there are gaps that need attention before moving on to reading books.

Your child must be competent in all 10 sentence-reading skills before moving on to reading books. Because each test becomes more difficult, each needs to be administered in sequence from 1 to 10. Start with Test 1, then move to Test 2, etc. as your child shows competence in the last. The appropriate game apps and lessons are provided for your child to master each sentence-reading skill.

Test 1: Reading 2-Word Sentences with CVC Phonetic Words

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. Dot hops.
2. Jan fans.
3. Pam gabs.
4. Liz mops.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each sentence.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentences, move on to Test 2.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the game app and printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 2.

Sentence Reading Magic 1 - Game App

2-Word CVC Phonetic Word Sentence Booklets - PDF Download

40 booklets - $5.95

Test 2: Reading 3-Word Sentences with CVC Phonetic Words

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. Al can add.
2. Dad hugs Sal.
3. Mom fed Liz.
4. Tess cuts it.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each sentence.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentences, move on to Test 3.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 3.

3-Word CVC Phonetic Word Sentence Booklets - PDF Download

40 booklets - $5.95

Test 3: Reading 4-Word Sentences with CVC Phonetic Words

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. Todd cut the logs.
2. The bus is big.
3. A jog is fun.
4. A pop is fun.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each sentence.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentences, move on to Test 4.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 4.

4-Word CVC Phonetic Word Sentence Booklets - PDF Download

40 booklets - $5.95

Test 4: Reading Long Sentences and Two Sentences with CVC Phonetic Words

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. The dog will not let him get it.
2. Bev has fun. Bev sits in the sun.
3. Matt will hop on for fun.
4. Mel has a big rip. Mel is sad.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each of these sentences.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentences, move on to Test 5.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 5.

CVC Phonetic Word Sentence Booklets with 2 Sentences - PDF Download

40 booklets - $5.95

Test 5: Reading Single Sentences Consonant Blends

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. Brad can camp in the tent.
2. Tess was not glad and wept.
3. Stan held the twig in his hand.
4. Brett can grab the stem and sniff.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each of these sentences.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentences, move on to Test 6.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the games app and printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 6.

Sentence Reading Magic 2 - Game App

Consonant Blend Single Sentence Booklets - PDF Download

20 booklets - $3.95

Test 6: Reading Double Sentences Consonant Blends

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. Stan will not miss. Stan will hit the golf flag.
2. Jill can stand in the grass. Jill held on as the rod bent.
3. Tess got a gift. Tess can fill the gift in the slot of the pig bank.
4. Scott ran fast. Scott jumps and lands in the sand.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each of these sentence groups.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentence groups, move on to Test 7.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the games app and printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 7.

Sentence Reading Magic 2 - Game App

Consonant Blend Double Sentence Booklets - PDF Download

20 booklets - $3.95

Test 7: Reading Single Sentences Advanced Consonant Blends

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. Brent can blend a drink.
2. For a stunt, Fran twists and flips.
3. The crust got crisp.
4. The craft did drift in the wind.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each of these sentence groups.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentence groups, move on to Test 8.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the games app and printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 8.

Sentence Reading Magic 2 - Game App

Advanced Consonant Blend Single Sentence Cards - PDF Download

20 booklets - $3.95

Test 8: Reading Double Sentences Advanced Consonant Blends

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. The cramp stops Brad's sprint. Brad will not win.
2. Frank stands on his stilts. Frank will not trip.
3. The stump had a split in it. Ants had a nest in the stump.
4. Gwen will not stand, but sit. Gwen strums the strings.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each of these sentence groups.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentence groups, move on to Test 9.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the games app and printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 9.

Sentence Reading Magic 2 - Game App

Advanced Consonant Blend Double Sentence Booklets - PDF Download

20 booklets - $3.95

Test 9: Reading Single Sentences with Multiple Syllables

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. A trumpet is a brass instrument.
2. A plant did exist to the left of the cabinet.
3. A satin ribbon was on the kitten's neck.
4. The robin trills at sunset.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each of these sentences.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentences, move on to Test 10.

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving on to Test 10.

Multiple Syllable Phonetic Single Sentence Booklets - PDF Download

20 booklets - $3.95

Test 10: Reading Double Sentences with Multiple Syllables

Using clearly-rendered large typing, create the following sentences:
1. Gavin travels fast on his sled. His mittens stiffen in the frost.
2. Dennis prospects in the sand and gravel. Dennis spots a nugget hidden in the gravel.
3. Allison selected cotton napkins for the picnic. Allison set the picnic up on the blanket.
4. The kitten did not relax in the basket. The kitten pretends to hunt.

Showing your child one at a time, ask her to read each of these sentence groups.

Success: If your child doesn't have any problems reading these sentences, he is ready to start reading books with simple sentences-such as our learn to read decodable books!

Needs Work: If your child is having problems with any of these sentences, use the printable booklet pack below so your child can build up his mastery before moving he starts reading decodable readers.

Multiple Syllable Phonetic Double Sentence Booklets - PDF Download

20 booklets - $3.95