I want to share with you an amazing tool I discovered as a teacher that was a lifesaver! When I discovered this tool, I had a group of students that were all over the place when it came to reading/phonics knowledge. Hardly any two students were on the same level, and it was hard to pinpoint exactly where my students were lacking in phonics knowledge. It made teaching very challenging when it came to reading, spelling, and writing. Then, I discovered the answer to my problems! Let me introduce you to the Spelling Inventory!
The Spelling Inventory was designed to assess word knowledge in students. Word knowledge and phonics goes hand in hand with reading ability. If a child doesn’t know word knowledge, reading is going to be very difficult. The Spelling Inventory is divided into three parts: Primary Spelling Inventory, Elementary Spelling Inventory, and Upper-Level Spelling Inventory. Each inventory is designed for a specific age/grade level. Although with any assessment, it all depends on the child.
Each list contains a set of words, along with specific sentences, that the teacher/parent calls out to the child like any normal spelling test. The trick is the children are not to see or study the words beforehand. This way it truly is an assessment of what the child knows. The teacher/parent doesn’t have to call out the entire list (usually around 20 words), but they need to call out at least enough words to get a true assessment. Personally, I loved giving the entire assessment. I wanted to see exactly where my students fell in the range of spelling knowledge and what words they knew and didn’t. It is also recommended the assessment is given three times per year: September, January, and May.
As I said, the Spelling Inventory is broken into three parts. The first, Primary Spelling Inventory, is recommended for children up through third grade. The Elementary Spelling Inventory is recommended for children in fourth and fifth grade, and the Upper-Level Spelling Inventory is for higher grades. I always started with the Primary Spelling Inventory and if children spelled enough words correctly to pass, I continued to test them on the other inventories until I found their “level”.
Assessing the Assessment: You must copy a score sheet for each child. Just check off the features in each section according to their rule and add an additional point if the entire word is spelled correctly.
Add up the features in each section and use the scoring guide to see what features each child needs additional work. It also includes a composite scoring sheet which allows you to easily compare and group students.
I absolutely loved seeing where each student levelled and what areas they needed work in. The assessment shows exactly which phonics rules they have mastered and which they have not. The information is beyond useful when planning reading lessons, literacy centers, etc. I think any teacher will find it valuable!
Primary Spelling Inventory Guide can be found here.
Elementary Spelling Inventory Guide can be found here.
Upper-Level Spelling Inventory Guide can be found here.
Let me know if you have used the Spelling Inventory before or if you decide to use it. I’d love to hear what you think, and how you have used the results in your instruction!