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Reading Test for Children

Determining Your Child's Reading Age With The Burt Reading Test (part 1)

So, you want to know what your child's reading level is at... As parents, we're all concerned about the education and development of our children, and one of the key areas of focus is literacy skills involving reading and writing. As our children grow, we as parents often wonder how well our children are developing, and how well is their learning progressing. One of the key metrics that many parents worry about is "what is my child's reading level"? This should not be surprising as reading is the key to academic success and leads to success later on in life. As such, parents often seek various ways and methods for testing the reading level of their child to see if their child's reading level is on par with other similar aged children, or if their child's reading ability is above or below the average reading levels for a certain age.

In our three part article on word reading test for children, we'll discuss three quite commonly used word reading tests, and discuss our experiences with them. These reading tests are designed for children who are in school, and have at least some basic reading abilities. These tests comprise of various words starting with very simple words and gradually increasing in difficulty, and all 3 tests have different and accurate methods for determining the reading age / grade of children. The three reading level tests we'll discuss are: 1) The Burt Word Reading Test, 2) The WRT (Word Reading Test) which is a sub-test of the "Quick Adult Reading Inventory", an individual assessment of reading from lincs.ed.gov, and 3) the Wide Range Reading Test for Kindergarten to College, made available from donpotter.net.

In part 1 here, we'll discuss The Burt Word Reading Test.

The Burt Reading Test Assessment

The Burt Test is a 1974 revised and standardized word reading test for testing the reading age, grade, and percentile ranking of children. Within the Burt test, there are a total of 110 words that are graded in approximate order of difficulty. A child is asked to read as many words as he or she can, and stop when he or she has failed to read 10 consecutive words. At the completion of the test, the total number of correct words the child has read is counted, and this number is then matched with an estimated reading age, grade, and percentile. For interested parents:

The results of the Burt Reading Test are quite accurate, and when the word reading test is properly administered, the accuracy can be expected to be within 6 months of error in either direction.

Burt Test Results - Our 3 Year 9 Months Old Child Reads at an Age of 7 Years and 6 Months (Grade 2 level at 80th percentile).

I'm sure some reading this will be thinking how can a 3 year old read at a grade two level? Don't take my word for it, see some of the reading videos we posted here on our home page. We gave a strict Burt Word test to our daughter when she was 3 years and 9 months old, and she was able to read a total of 42 of the 110 words from the test, which translates to an estimated reading age of 7 years and 6 months, and is at the 80th percentile of grade two readers according to the Burt Test. Pretty impressive for a 3 year old child, but this came as no surprise for us, as we began to teach her to read before she turned three.

As already mentioned, this test is quite accurate, to within 6 months of a child's estimated reading age. These tests give parents and educators a good indication of a particular child's reading abilities, and should they find the child lacking reading skills for his or her age, they can then take appropriate remedial action to correct the reading deficiencies.

Our children are able to read at a level far beyond their years because we take a proactive approach to their learning and development. Some might feel it's too young and perhaps not even possible to teach 2 or 3 or even 4 and 5 year olds to read, but they could not be more wrong. The process of reading and learning to read has a fantastic benefit and influence on our cognitive process where research has found that the more you read, the smarter you become. As young children develop, what's a better way to stimulate intellectual development than teaching them to read and opening their minds up to a whole new world of discoveries and possibilities. This topic of how reading makes us smarter is a separate topic, and you can read more about "Why Should Kids Read" here.

We used a simple, step-by-step reading program to teach our children to read. Our reading program is extremely simple and straight forward, and it teaches children to read through a process of helping them develop phonemic awareness.

>> Click here to learn more about the Children Learning Reading program that will teach your child to read in just 12 weeks


About 5 months later (4 years 2 months), we performed the Burt Word Reading test once more. This time, Raine cruised through the first 50 words with ease, and managed to read 58 of 110 words, which indicates a reading age of about 9 years at 70th percentile of grade 3 level. With continued reading and practice, her reading and decoding abilities had improved significantly.