What Are the Benefits of Universal Reading Screening?

Universal screening evaluates students’ skills and capabilities through regular, short assessments. They often occur two to three times per year. Reading screening investigates children’s reading skills and challenges. Although these screenings are brief, they can quickly identify those with reading difficulties, but school boards have to approve this testing process. Therefore, these are the other benefits of universal reading screening.

Evaluates Students’ Skills in Comparison to Their Peer Groups

These screenings are not diagnostic tests for specific learning disabilities. Therefore, when children do not pass a screening for reading screening, it does not automatically suggest that they have a learning disability. Throughout the U.S., one in five children has difficulty reading, and nearly 40% of fourth-grade students fail to achieve basic grade-level reading skills. In addition, up to 80% of students in schools in high-poverty areas have reading skills that are inadequate or below average.

Not all of these students have learning disabilities. Sometimes the socioeconomic status of the parents, the capability of the teachers, or other factors may lead to reading challenges. Therefore, these screenings aim to proactively identify children who have difficulty reading before they begin to fail. Literacy screening also checks specific reading skills, such as comprehension, fluency, decoding words, sounding out words and letters, naming letters, and segmenting or blending words.

Helps Diagnose Learning Disabilities in Children

Universal screenings for reading are the first step in discovering if children have a learning disability. Of those children with insufficient reading skills, 70-80% may suffer from dyslexia. In many cases, children struggle with reading skills due to neurological disorders. When teachers screen these children, they understand which students have literacy challenges. Then, they can discuss their findings with the school counselor and the children’s parents.

Because learning disabilities like dyslexia involve the brain, further testing is necessary to diagnose individuals. Testing students regularly, starting early in their school careers, allows teachers and parents to identify potential learning disabilities early so these children can get the help they need.

Identifies Children Who Need Additional Help and Support

Due to universal reading assessments’ ability to identify reading challenges early, teachers and institutions can develop interventions that help students succeed. These interventions have proven helpful in the prevention of students falling behind their peers in school. The University of Chicago studied students with poor reading ability and found that when the teachers implemented reading intervention programs before the third grade, 85-90% of the students with low reading scores caught up to their peers. In comparison, delayed interventions left 75% of these students struggling throughout their academic and professional lives.

Reading Ability Impacts Future Socioeconomic Status

In an evaluation of the drop-out rate of children in high school, 63% did not read, and those who did not graduate required social services and made less money than high school graduates. In addition, incarceration rates are much higher for non-readers.

Reading skills directly impact future professional and academic success. When individuals have strong reading skills, they tend to be self-learners, learn quickly, and enjoy reading.

Learn More About Reading Screening

If you suspect your child has difficulty reading or has a classroom of students who could benefit from universal screening, learning more about assessment tools like (TOD™) Tests of Dyslexiacan help you, your child, and a potential clinician

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