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Title I » Aimsweb-A Parent's Guide

Aimsweb-A Parent's Guide

Letter Naming

Kindergarten and first grade students are given a page with letters and asked to name each one. This test tells us if the child is likely to struggle or be a successful reader in the future. It takes only one minute to give this test.

Initial Sounds

By the middle of kindergarten, children should be able to say or recognize the beginning sound in words automatically. To measure this with Aimsweb, students are given a page with letters and asked to make each sound. It takes only one minute to measure sound fluency.

Phoneme Segmentation

This is a measure of children's awareness of the many sounds that make up words we speak. It is given to kindergarten and first grade students and it is a skill that should be mastered by the end of kindergarten. The child is told a word like "cat" and asked to say all of the sounds in the word. There are three sounds in "cat" It takes only one minute to give this test.

Nonsense Words

The ability to blend together the sounds represented by letters to make words is an important skill in learning to read. This skill helps children in kindergarten, first, and second grade to use their knowledge of the relationship between letters and sounds to read unfamiliar words. Children are shown a page of make-believe words, like "tob" or "miv" and asked to read them by saying the individual sound of each letter in the word or the whole word itself. It takes only one minute to give this test.

Oral Reading

This is a measure of how fluently and accurately the children can read passages written at their grade level. This is given throughout the first, second, and third grades. Children are given three passages and asked to read each one aloud for one minute. Children who read accurately and fluently are better able to understand what they read.

Tips for Parents

If your child is just beginning to learn to read:

At home you can help your child by:
  • Practicing the sounds of language. Read books with rhymes. Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs. lay simple word games: How many words can you make up that sound like the word "bat"?
  • Helping your child take spoken words apart and put them together. Help your child separate the sounds in words, listen for beginning an ending sounds, and put separate sounds together.
  • Practicing the alphabet by pointing out letters wherever you see them and by reading alphabet books.

If your child is just beginning to read:

At home you can help your child by:

  • Pointing out the letter-sound relationships your child is learning on labels, boxes, newspapers, magazines, and signs.
  • Listening to your child read words and books from school. Be patient and listen as your child practices. Let your child know you are proud of his reading.

If your child is reading:

At home you can help your child by:

  • Rereading familiar books. Children need practice in reading comfortably and with expression using books they know.
  • Building reading accuracy. As your child is reading aloud, point out words he missed and help him read words correctly. If you stop to focus on a word, have your child reread the whole sentence to be sure he understands the meaning.
  • Building reading comprehension. Talk with your child about what she is reading. Ask about new words. Talk about what happened in a story. Ask about the characters, places, and events that took place. Ask what new information he has learned from the book. Encourage her to read on her own.

From "Put Reading First" 2000
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
United States Department of Education