Evaluating Early Literacy

The Ministry of Education has directed all Ontario school boards to begin implementing the recommendations outlined in the Right to Read Inquiry. As a result, primary educators are shifting from using leveled texts for reading instruction as they encourage reliance on guessing strategies to solve unknown words. Instead, educators are beginning to use a scope and sequence to systematically teach phonemic awareness (awareness of the sounds in words) and phonics (understanding of the letters that represent sounds). Students may apply the phonics skills they have learned by reading ’decodable’ or ’phonetically controlled’ texts. 

As a result, educators are moving away from using PM Benchmarks and moving towards assessments that measure foundational reading skills. For example, in Grade 1, educators will be observing a child’s ability to identify the sounds they hear in a word, identify the letter(s) that represent the sound, and their ability to blend the sounds together to decode (read) the word and encode (write) the word. In later primary, educators will be observing a child’s understanding of more complex letter/sound relationships such as prefixes and suffixes.

Educators will also consider a child’s achievement in reading fluency, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension when assigning a report card grade for reading.

To support your child at home, the following documents provide activities that may help foster these foundational skills:

  1. Phonological Awareness Activities for Families



  2. Supporting Reading Development at Home