Carefully developed and revised through field trials and several years of use with thousands of students, the Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI) is a two-part tool that helps teachers diagnose the kinds of reading problems students may be having and plan instruction accordingly. A screening test is first administered to all K-2 students by their teachers; this is followed by a more in-depth inventory for those students who do not show complete mastery of the questions on the screening test.
The concepts assessed by the screening test were selected because they were found to be good predictors of successful reading at the end of grades 1, 2, and 3. Screening is done at four keys points in time (i.e., middle and end of kindergarten, beginning of 1st grade, beginning of 2nd grade) with questions that focus on the critical reading skills that should be “developed” at that time. The TPRI screening helps teachers quickly identify those students who are on track to become successful readers one or two years later. The teacher can then administer the more time-consuming inventory only to those students who are potentially not on track—i.e., at risk for developing difficulties in learning to read. The inventory section provides information about the child’s strengths and weaknesses that can then be used by the teacher to plan reading instruction and monitor progress.
For example, midway through the year, a kindergarten teacher using the TPRI would individually administer the screening portion of the TPRI to each student in her class. She begins with a series of questions that assess the child’s letter-sound (or graphophonemic) knowledge—showing the child a letter and asking for its name and sound. Then she asks a set of questions focused on phonemic awareness. For example: “If the puppet says s-it, I know the word is sit. What would the word be if the puppet says cake?” If the child does not answer enough of these questions correctly, the teacher would proceed to administer the whole inventory portion of the TPRI.
The inventory portion of the TPRI consists of the following conceptual domains:
Book and print awareness (K only)—knowledge of the function of print and of the characteristics of books and other print materials (e.g., the child is asked to point out a sentence in text and show where it starts and ends).
Phonemic awareness (K and 1st grade)—the ability to detect and identify individual sounds within spoken words. Tasks include asking for rhyming words (tell me another word that rhymes with stop, shop, hop) or repeating words without the initial consonant sound (say the word “cake” without the “c”).
Graphophonemic knowledge (K, 1st, and 2nd grades)—recognition of letters of the alphabet and understanding of sound-symbol relationships. (e.g., for kindergarteners, questions like “What is the first sound in the word man?” for 2nd graders asking them to spell in writing words spoken by the teacher).
Reading accuracy (1st and 2nd grades)—the ability to read grade-appropriate text accurately (i.e., the child is asked to read a passage aloud and the teacher keeps track of the types of errors made by the child and scores the overall accuracy).