It’s no secret that play is essential for young children. Not only is it a great way for them to learn about the world around them, but it’s also crucial for their social, emotional, and physical development.
But did you know that play can also be used as an assessment tool?
At EarlyBird Education, we use the latest science-based technology to assess our preschool students through game play. This allows us to pinpoint key literacy milestones that are most predictive of later reading success before the child learns how to read.
So how can 30 minutes of play predict reading difficulties in prekindergarten?
EarlyBird’s co-founders and scientific advisors, Dr. Nadine Gaab, Associate Professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Dr. Yaacov Petscher, Associate Director of the Florida Center for Reading Research, brought together years of research, data, and expertise to determine which skills are most predictive of targeted grade-level performance by the end of the year. Based on their findings, they created subtests that accurately measure these specific skills and embedded them into a developmentally appropriate game for our youngest learners.
Here’s a closer look at how a subtest works:
The Letter Sound subtest is a computer adaptive task that prompts a child to identify the letter that matches the sound they hear. The subtest is designed to measure a child’s ability to match the sound of a letter, a phoneme, to the printed form of the letter, the grapheme. (Graphemes are letters and letter combinations that represent phonemes). The mapping of the sounds of our language to the written symbols is called the alphabetic principle. Mastering alphabetic principle is dependent on phoneme awareness and familiarity with letters and is critical to learning how to read. In other words, alphabetic principle is a critical skill that is measured through EarlyBird’s game to build a predictive reading profile.
By using play to assess our students, we’re able to get a head start on identifying those who may need additional support. This way, we can provide the resources and interventions needed to help them succeed. And, to make it easier for teachers, we have directly linked instructional lessons and activities to our data – all in our EarlyBird “Next Step” Resources. (Hint: A Sneak Preview is coming!)
If you’re interested in assessing through game play to identify reading difficulties, don’t hesitate to reach out to EarlyBird Education. To learn more about your child’s reading development, please visit the National Center for Improving Literacy. We’re here to help!