In order to match readers to books and plan instruction, teachers need to be able to assess the reading strengths and needs of their students. The very best tool for this assessment is an oral reading inventory.  This one-on-one assessment tool provides valuable information about reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension, as well as the level of text that a student can read independently and with support.  There are many oral reading inventories available, including the HIP Reading Assessment.

The HIP 3-Minute Reading Checkup is a quick and easy oral reading record designed to provide a rough guide to students’ reading levels and a starting point for those who need a more comprehensive assessment.  It was developed by Paul Kropp using a range of readability measures and tested with hundreds of students. Best of all, it takes less than five minutes to administer. Click on the links below to find the student reading pages and the teacher instructions.

HIP 3-Minute Assessment Teacher Directions
HIP-Student Reading Passages

Some technical notes on the assessment:

  • At HIP, we have reservations about  “words in isolation” assessments. Reading is about making meaning, so decoding should have the same purpose. The first section of this instrument is a warm-up for students and a rough placement indicator for teachers. By listening to student read these six sentences aloud, a teacher can hear how students attack difficult words and get a sense of a student’s frustration level. By placing the words in context – both in the sentences and as part of a themed group – we feel students have a more realistic assessment activity.
  • The second section involves passage reading. The passages begin at a grade-2 level and rise in difficulty by half grade increments to a grade-7 level. These levels are marked on the teacher version. For good readers, there is no sense in beginning with the first passage. Use the information from section one to determine an appropriate starting point.
  • Fewer than five miscues or hesitations in a particular passage indicate that a book at that level can be read “independently,” that is, without much teacher support. However, the nature of the miscue must be considered in evaluating a student’s level. Better to err by offering a book that is too easy than one that is too difficult.
  • We find that students can often judge their own level if asked, “What passage did you feel most comfortable reading?”
  • What about comprehension?  We all know students who can read the words but don’t understand the passage. Remember that the HIP 3-Minute is just a starting point to guide further assessment and instruction.
  • For very weak readers, who struggle with the first reading passage, we suggest a running record done with levelled little books.
  • Remember that this is not a norm-referenced reading test. No three-minute assessment can give results that match the detailed information from a set of running records or a lengthy standardized test.
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