Using a Free Reading Test Can Help You Help Your Child!
Do you need to know how to test your child’s reading level, assess his decoding skills, reading fluency and reading comprehension?
Using a good, free online reading test for kids can help you assess your child’s current reading level. Below, I’ll break down the types of reading test types you may want to use.
You can use these reading tests for kids as a screening for the possible presence of dyslexia in your child, a reading grade-level placement test, or to assess your child’s current level of reading fluency. Just pick the free reading test(s) that will provide with the information you are seeking.
Assessing your child’s reading level may provide you with information to determine the type of reading help your child may need and determine how far behind your child may be.
If you find your child is far behind, you will want to seek a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation to determine the root cause of your child’s reading difficulties. Having an evaluation will help you provide the best reading program to meet your child’s needs.
Reading skill involves reading decoding, fluency, and comprehension. You’ll need to decide which aspect of reading concerns you. Select an appropriate reading test based upon your child’s individual needs.
Reading decoding is the ability to understand or decipher the sounds represented by each letter or combination of letters in a word. This is the first, and most basic, skill required for a child to be able to read. It is the core problem area for children with dyslexia.
For an overall snapshot of your child’s reading abilities, there is a Free Reading Test at K5 Learning (includes a math assessment too). This test will provide you with your child’s current grade level in the following areas:
- Phonemic Awareness – individual sounds within the spoken language
- Phonics – understanding letters and sounds in the written word
- Sight Words – high frequency words
- Vocabulary – the meanings of words in context
- Reading Comprehension – understanding what is read
- Math Numbers and Operations – adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, fractions
- Measurement Concepts – time, money, measuring
- Geometry – characteristics and properties of geometric shapes.
I like the K5 Reading and Math Assessment because it gives you a visual bar with your child’s performance level. It also gives the “Mastery Range,” so you can easily see what level of performance your child has within his or her current performance level.
Additionally, this assessment also gives you your child’s “Placement Level,” which is ideal for knowing exactly where to START working with your child.
The K5 Reading assessment is free, but you do have to sign up for an account to use the assessment. At the time I’m writing this, NO credit card info is required and there are no obligations for the free trial. Your first 14 days are free, so you can even try out their lessons to see if your child likes them.
The first area of reading test you may need to use is a reading decoding test
If you suspect your child has dyslexia, you may want to begin with a free online reading test for dyslexia available through the **Reading Success Lab. “The Reading Success Lab’s tool is a quick assessment that indicates whether a basic reading decoding problem might be present.” Since an inability to decode words is at the heart of true dyslexia, it is very important to understand issues which may be involved in poor reading abilities if your child shows signs of dyslexia.
The Sound Reading program is backed by research showing it to be an effective instructional program for reading. They offer a free reading test that your child can take to determine his current reading skill level. Given this free test is related to the Sound Reading program, of course they’d love it if you’d buy their program, but you’ll want to check out a variety of program options prior to choosing a program.
If you would like an informal, free, online reading test without having to register (like is required for the Reading Success Lab), you may find the **”Red Flag Reading Screening” to be helpful. This test is only a screening test. It is best used to gauge how well, or if, your child is progressing in reading. You can also use it to determine if your child is indeed reading at or near grade-level. The Red Flag Reading Screening is “not designed to be a comprehensive evaluation or placement tool. It is merely a ‘snapshot’ indicator, and poor performance indicates the need for further investigation of a student’s academic skills and deficiencies.”
Another free online reading test for kids is called “Abecedarian” and it’s available through Balanced Reading’s Assessments page. Written by two reading researchers, Sebastian Wren and Jennifer Watts, the Abecedarian is available for you to download and use for free. This is a comprehensive and thorough evaluation of several different important skills for reading which will give you a solid indication of your child’s short-comings when it comes to reading. By using this reading test, you’ll know which skills require direct instruction and which ones your child has already mastered. This is an excellent reading test to use at any time to get a solid snapshot of your child’s reading abilities.
If your child can decode words fairly well, you may want to determine what grade-level your child currently reads at, whether he reads fluently, or whether his comprehension is good. You can check these higher-level reading skills of your child’s by picking a free reading test from the list below. These Free Reading Test options are primarily used for grade-level placement or screening for reading disabilities, so they may or may not provide you the specific information you are seeking.
- Sonlight Curriculum’s Reading Assessments
- K12’s Reading Placement Tests
- National Right to Read Reading Competency Test
The second component of reading skill is called “Reading Fluency”
Reading fluency is a demonstrated ability to read smoothly in a rhythmic, and expressive manner. If your child is reading fluently, he will be able to read through a passage without stopping for more than a second or two to figure out words. Your child will generally read the passage as if he were a smooth talker. A child may falter briefly every few paragraphs and still read fluently. It is the degree and frequency of hesitations that determine if a child reads fluently.
For children with reading decoding difficulties, reading smoothly with understanding can be a significant issue. When you have your child practice Reading Fluently, it will be helpful to measure your child’s fluency level.
A great free Reading Test to use is DIBELS. The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) is a set of standardized, individually administered measures of early literacy development. They Reading Test is designed to provide short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of pre-reading and early reading skills. You can use the DIBELS Reading Test when you begin working on fluency and at regular intervals to measure progress. DIBELS is offered by the University of Oregon Center on Teaching and Learning.
The third component of successful reading is “Reading Comprehension”.
There is a comprehension Reading Test available for free at:**Pearson Longman, which is a textbook publisher. There are Reading Tests for grades 1-8, and each grade level has multiple reading tests to choose from.
If you used a Reading Test to determine your child’s reading level and found your child has significant issues with reading decoding, reading fluency, or reading comprehension, I HIGHLY recommend seeking a comprehensive evaluation for learning disabilities, like dyslexia. If your child has dyslexia, he will need special help to learn how to read well.
You may also wish to check out our information on Reading Fluency, Reading Comprehension, and Vocabulary since these aspects of reading skill can have a significant influence on Reading ability as well. Our information on Speed Reading may be of interest once your child reads fluently beyond a third grade level.
Best Wishes in helping your child learn to read well!