Methods that assess reading abilities are important to parents and teachers in providing appropriate opportunities for children to increase reading skills. Understanding what the Developmental Reading Assessment measures will enable you to identify where you child might be struggling and to ensure reading growth. Consider the specific areas that the DRA assesses and the importance of gaining this vital information.

What is the DRA?

The Developmental Reading Assessment provides information that "bridge[s] the gap between knowledge and implementation" of reading strategies, according to Pearson Education. The DRA is derived from science-based reading instruction strategies and is used to identify individual reading ability and areas in need of attention. By using the DRA assessment, parents and teachers are better equipped to choose books and reading activities that are appropriate for a child's reading level.

Areas of Assessment

The Developmental Reading Assessment tests for key behaviors and characteristics of proficient readers by examining nine categories of reading behavior and six types of reading errors. Specifically, the DRA assesses rhyming, alliteration, segmentation, phonetic awareness, letter naming, word-list reading, spelling, decoding, analogies, structural analysis, syllabication, oral fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and reading engagement.

Scoring

The Developmental Reading Assessment yields an alphanumeric or numeric score ranging from A1 to 80, with a higher score indicating a greater reading proficiency. The information that the DRA yields indicates the individual needs of the child as well as the child's individual instruction level -- commonly referred to as reading level.

Considerations

Knowing the areas in which your child may struggle with reading is important in constructing and implementing a plan in conjunction with your child's teacher to increase reading proficiency. The Developmental Reading Assessment can assist with identifying these areas as well as in identifying methods that you child may currently use if she is a struggling or emerging reader. The DRA is typically given on an annual or semi-annual basis, providing vital information for parents and teachers to measure student progress over time. Using assessments and instructional methods that follow best practices early and measure progress over time will increase the likelihood of your child improving reading skills and enjoying a life of literacy.