What is DIBELS?

Indicators of

It was developed by Dr. Roland Good, University of Oregon. It is a standardized, individually administered measure of early literacy development.


5 Big Ideas of Literacy

Identification and manipulation of parts of spoken language
Correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters


Relation to Big Ideas of Literacy

Big Idea of Literacy - DIBELS assessment
Phonological / Phonemic Awareness - Initial Sound Fluency & Phoneme Segmentation Fluency
Phonics - Nonsense Word Fluency
Vocabulary - Word Use Fluency
Fluency - Oral Reading Fluency
Comprehension - Oral Reading Fluency & Retell Fluency


Fluency Leads to Comprehension

Word recognition fluency, while not the goal of reading instruction, is necessary for good comprehension.
Only once words are known automatically does reading become easy and then enjoyable.



1 out of 8 children not reading at grade level by the end of first grade will ever read on grade level (Juel, 1994, p.24).
Knowing at what level a student reads is good; knowing WHY is better.
DIBELS assessments offer a look at the WHY.

Letter Naming Fluency

Provides a measure of risk
No benchmark goal - no corresponding “big idea”
But, it’s one of three major predictors of reading success.
Letter Recognition
Print Awareness
Phonemic Awareness
Intended for most children from fall of kindergarten to fall of first grade
Practice LNF…

Initial Sound Fluency

Intended for children from last year of preschool to middle of kindergarten
May be appropriate for monitoring progress of older children with low skills in phonological awareness
Benchmark goal: 25-35 sounds by mid kindergarten
Takes about 3 minutes
Only DIBELS assessment taking longer than 1 minute to administer

Practice ISF Assessment

Show example pictures.
Follow directions for examples.
Begin assessment.
Start timer after you finish asking each question.
Stop timer as soon as child responds.
Repeat until assessment is complete.
Record number of correct initial sounds and number of seconds to administer assessment.

ISF Scoring Tips

Child says / Does: Score:
Names correct picture Correct
Renames picture with correct sound Correct
Renames correct picture with incorrect sound Incorrect
Gives initial sounds Correct


Phoneme Segmentation Fluency

Intended for children from end of kindergarten through spring of first grade
May be appropriate for monitoring progress of older children with low skills in phonemic awareness
Benchmark goal: 35-45 correct phonemes per minute by end of kindergarten and beginning of first grade
Score each DIFFERENT, CORRECT sound segment produced
Practice PSF…


Nonsense Word Fluency

Intended for children from mid to end of kindergarten to beginning of second grade
May be appropriate for monitoring progress of older children with low skills in phonics (letter-sound correspondence)
Benchmark goal: 50 correct letter sounds per minute by mid first grade
Practice NWF…


Oral Reading Fluency (Reading Connected Text)

Intended for most children from mid first grade through…
End of Year Benchmark goals for LOW RISK:
1st grade: > 40
2nd grade: > 90
3rd grade: > 110
4th grade: > 118
5th grade: > 124
Practice ORF…

Retell Fluency

Prevents emphasis on speed-reading without attention to meaning
Identifies children whose comprehension is not consistent with their fluency
Corresponds directly to “big idea” of comprehension
Increases face validity of ORF

Word Use Fluency

Ties to “big idea” of vocabulary
Additional research necessary to establish linkage to phonological awareness, phonics, and fluency
May be helpful for teacher’s own knowledge about a student’s vocabulary

So now what?

DIBELS assessments will be used routinely next year by all teachers for all students.
EVERY STUDENT will be assessed during Benchmark periods (three times per year).
Data used during grade level discussions to plan interventions.
Progress Monitoring
Depending on intensity of intervention need, most students will be progress monitored every two OR four weeks using appropriate measures.
Data collection expectations

Further Instructional Support

Questions for Analyzing Student Errors
Use each assessment to determine student error patterns
Use knowledge of error patterns to further differentiate instruction
DIBELS offers more data to support instructional decisions.
Questions, Comments, Suggestions?