Free reading tests are available in numerous places online to help you assess your child’s current reading skills. The reading tests below, used as a screening for possible dyslexia, a reading grade-level placement test, or one of the reading fluency tests, may provide you with the reading assessment information you need in order to determine your child’s reading skill levels.
Reading skill involves reading decoding, fluency, and comprehension. You’ll need to decide which aspect of reading concerns you and select an appropriate test based upon your individual child’s 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, and is the core problem area for children with dyslexia.
The first area of reading skill you may need to assess is reading decoding
If you suspect your child has dyslexia, you may want to begin with a free online screening 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 screening 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, best used to gauge how well, or if, your child is progressing in reading or 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 reading assessment called “Abecedarian” 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 assessment tool, you’ll know which skills require direct instruction and which ones your child has already mastered. This is an excellent assessment 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 current reads at, whether he reads fluently, or whether his comprehension is good. You can higher-level assessments of your child’s reading level by using the free reading tests offered below. These assessments 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, and 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 tool to use is DIBELS. The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) are a set of standardized, individually administered measures of early literacy development. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of pre-reading and early reading skills. You can use the DIBELS assessment 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 set of reading comprehension assessments available for free at **Pearson Longman, which is a textbook publisher. There are assessments for grades 1-8, and each grade level has multiple reading tests to choose from.
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!