Sunday, November 6, 2011

Kindergarten and First DIBEL's Tips (And Freebie!)

No matter what your beliefs are on DIBEL’s and testing, the fact is that testing is here and it’s most likely not going away! So here are some practical tips to hel p make your students more independent in the testing arena!

1. Make the kids point to what they are reading, don’t do this for them. If you don’t, when they go to do the test without you they may lose their place, go slower, and have a lower score.

2. Put a different mnemonic for each test. For example, when we break down words we always count sounds on our fingers. So if I say cat, the kids go /c/ (put up one finger), /a/ (put up another finger), and etc. For first sound fluency I pull my ear and say the first sound (and the kids do it too!)

3. Progress monitor all your kids! Every year we always have one or two we thought could do it who could not on the test. The truth is that all kids need practice not just your intensives or strategics.

4. Use common language throughout the day. For example, when we are writing in our journals, we break down the word orally and with our fingers. We will also write down the first sound (pull on your ear) when labeling things in our journals.

5. “If you don’t know it… skip it!” I tell this to my kids all the time. Testing these days is about automaticity. If they spend their time thinking about every single question or word, they may lose all their time. This is especially true with auditory tests. (When it comes to paper and pencil type assignments, I will teach them to go back and check their work and finish any problems they may have skipped.)

6. Practice all day, every day! In the hallway, break down words or before you go to lunch, practice letter name flashcards. There are so many small times during the day you put it in so use your time wisely and increase your students’ scores!

One of the things I do with my kinders for Letter Naming Fluency is to have them practice saying the letter names fast when we come back from lunch. I copy these pages and keep them by the sink so kids can get them and practice, practice, practice. Sometimes we will even put them in sheet protectors and have the kids circle the upper case letters or cross out the lower case. Any activities you can do with these forms will help with letter naming fluency!
Letter Naming Fluency Practice Pages PDF

Hope everyone has a great week this week! 



  1. Thank you for the fluency pages. I am always looking for new things to put in their morning work binders!

  2. DIBELS may be the death of
    But you are right on all these only issue is making time to do it all! =)
    First Grade Blue SKies