Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

Office Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Highline Public Schools
15675 Ambaum Blvd. SW Burien, WA 98166

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Early Literacy Screener

We understand that in order to choose their future, our students need to be skilled readers. Our literacy screening tools have been chosen to help us ensure that we give every child the best possible opportunity to develop the skills to read and comprehend text.

Highline screens students in kindergarten through 2nd grade for early identification of reading difficulties associated with dyslexia. Dyslexia means difficulty reading the words on the page despite adequate opportunity and effort.

Some of the key skills we screen for include:

  • Knowledge about letter names and sounds
  • The ability to identify and work with the sounds of language (for example, to blend the sounds /c/, /ă/, /t/ together to get the word “cat”)
  • The ability to name common objects, colors, letters, and numbers quickly (research shows this can predict who is likely to struggle with reading)
  • Word reading and word writing
  • Reading smoothly and at an appropriate pace

We use the information we collect to plan instruction to help each child take the next steps in their reading journey.

Early Literacy Screening

We use the following tools to screen students. These assessments were chosen to provide us with the information we need to support all children and to meet the state of Washington’s requirements.

  • WA Kids TS Gold (K): phonological awareness (this means an ability to identify and work with speech sounds), letter-sound knowledge
  • i-Ready (K-8): phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge, phonics (this means learning about letter patterns that make sounds and using them to read and write) and comprehension
  • RAN (K-1): Rapid Automatized Naming (this means the ability to name common objects, colors, letters, and numbers quickly)
  • IRLA/ENIL (K-5): Independent reading level assessment
  •  PAST (K-2): Phonemic awareness screening test (speech sounds)

What does screening mean for our multilingual learners?

  • Children who are learning English are equally likely to have dyslexia as their native-English-speaking classmates. Screening for multilingual children can include the use of assessments in their home language. It also includes tracking their literacy growth compared to other children who are learning English and learning to read at the same time.
  • Some screening tools may not be appropriate for children who are newcomers to English; even so, the collection of data and screening for literacy needs begins right away for both English-only and multilingual students.
  • Multilingual learners at all levels of English proficiency receive core instruction and assessment in the foundational skills of reading.
  • Students in dual language programs receive foundational reading skills instruction in both program languages.


Talking about Early Literacy Difficulties and Dyslexia

When students have early literacy challenges, it is important to talk about these challenges and work with school staff on how to best support development of literacy skills with early interventions. Family guidance from OSPI for families and teachers are available in the following resource: 

The Family and Caregiver Discussion Guide

Family and Caregiver Discussion Guide in Multiple Languages

Background - Why are we focusing on  Dyslexia? 

Washington passed a law in 2018 that requires schools to screen children in kindergarten through second grade for characteristics of dyslexia in their early literacy skills and to provide reading support for those who need it. The law takes effect in the 2021-22 school year. 

Schools are developing screening processes to monitor student progress and respond to students’ areas of need providing strong Multi-tiered systems of support.

Learn More-About Dyslexia and dyslexia screening on the OPSI Website