Free Reading Assessment

Mar 22, 2017

Activity for ages 4 to 6.

An important first step in teaching kids how to read is figuring out what they already know. This simple reading assessment makes it easy to see the letter names, sounds and sight words students have mastered so that you can determine what to teach next.  It’s the perfect compliment to our Editable Guided Reading Binder!

Getting Started

To prep, I made one set of the record sheets for each student. I printed the four black and white pages front-to-back on regular copy paper and stapled them together.

Then I made one copy of the colorful letter and sight word pages and laminated them for extra durability.

Assessing Letters

Starting with the red sheet of uppercase letters, I pointed to each square and asked Middle Brother (age 5) to name the letter. If he made a mistake, I simply added an X in the matching spot on the reading assessment sheet.

NOTE: Middle Brother isn’t the type to worry about what I was marking on the sheets but, for those students who are, it would be a good idea to mark the correct answers with an O so that you’re always writing something. It’s a simple trick to prevent them from worrying that they’re making lots of mistakes.

I swapped out the red sheet for the yellow one showing lowercase letters and repeated the same steps, marking any errors as we went along.

Since I also wanted to determine if Middle Brother knew letter sounds, I pulled out the red sheet of uppercase letters again and asked him to name the sound – not the name – this time. For instance, for A he said /a/ like the first sound in the word “apple”.

I tallied the number he named correctly for all three categories and put the alphabet sheets to the side.

Assessing Sight Words

Next up were sight words! I pulled out the blue sheet first and had Middle Brother read the words as I pointed to each one.

When he made a mistake or didn’t know the word at all, I simply marked it with an X.

And when it became clear that he didn’t recognize any other words on the page, I stopped the test entirely to prevent him from feeling overwhelmed.

We talked about all of the awesome things he’s already learned before wrapping up.


It’s helpful to track student progress throughout the year so I will pull out the same record sheets again and repeat the assessment two more times. It is always exciting to see how much children learn and accomplish as time passes!

Grab Your Set

Ready to download your free copy of the assessment? Click the blue download button below and then hop over and check out our Ultimate Guide to Teaching Kids How to Read packed with tons of helpful tips!

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  1. Donna Berghahn

    This looks like a great tool for my RTI box! I plan on testing it out this upcoming week. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Sarah

    Thank you for sharing! When do you expect students would be able to know all of the letters, sounds and words in the assessment?

  3. Essi

    This a great idea that I can use to teach letter recognition and assessment.

    • Ashley

      So glad you like it!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  4. Valerie

    Is the Free Reading Assessment still available?

    • Ashley

      Hi Valerie,
      Yes, the free reading assessment is still available.
      Simply click on the blue Download Here button at the bottom of the page.
      You will want to make sure that you are allowing pop-ups from our site.
      You can also check out our troubleshooting video HERE for help.
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador

  5. Sylvia

    I keep trying to sign up so I can download the assessment, but nothing happens

    • Ashley

      Hi Sylvia,
      Thanks for reaching out. I’m sorry you’re having trouble downloading. We never want that. Please check out our troubleshooting video HERE for help. You’ll also want to make sure you have the most recent version of Adobe Reader Other and that you’re allowing pop ups from our site. I hope that helps!
      Ashley // Happiness Ambassador


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Hi, I’m Malia.

I love giving Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade teachers easy-to-follow systems for getting EVERY student bigger results.

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