RESULTS: Kindergarteners Needing Literacy Intervention

The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Kindergarten (PALS-K) is a measure of children’s knowledge of several important literacy fundamentals: phonological awareness, alphabet recognition, concept of word, knowledge of letter sounds and spelling. In Virginia, PALS-K is administered to kindergarten children in the fall of their kindergarten year. The measure is intended to identify students who are at risk of reading difficulties and delays based on performing below grade-level expectations in several important literacy fundamentals. As a diagnostic tool, PALS-K can be used to assess what students already know about the English literacy fundamentals and what they need to learn to become capable readers by third grade. PALS-K has demonstrated good evidence of reliability and construct, concurrent, and predictive validity.

PALS-K offers one important window into children’s school readiness in the fall of their kindergarten year. By focusing on fundamental literacy skills, the measure can help identify children who need extra support – beyond what is provided in the typical classroom – to be on track for literacy success. Through Virginia’s Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI), the state provides schools with additional funding to ensure that children receive appropriate interventions to facilitate their reading success by third grade. The full PALS toolkit, available to Virginia’s school divisions, helps teachers match children’s skill deficits to appropriate instruction that can help fill the gaps. PALS is available at no cost to Virginia’s schools, as part of the state’s EIRI, and nearly all school divisions use the measure to identify students who need additional support to learn to read.

Number and Percentage of Children in Fall of Kindergarten Not Meeting PALS-K Benchmarks and Requiring Literacy Interventions, Virginia, 2005-2014

SOURCE: Virginia Department of Education.

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