Case Report on Dallas


Dallas, age 9, is a rising 3rd grader at Ikard Elementary School. Dallas is

also a repeater and is behind in reading comprehension and fluency. As

a student in Appalachian State University’s Master’s degree program in

the summer 2010 Reading Education Practicum, I have completed a

battery of reading assessments on Dallas.

Initial Literacy Assessments

The following assessments were administered to Dallas: Reading

Interest Survey, Garfield Elementary Reading Survey, Schlagal

Spelling Test, WRI (Word Recognition in Isolation), WRC (Word

Recognition in Context), Listening Comprehension, Sense of

Story and Writing. The results of these assessments were analyzed to

determine for Dallas his independent level (the highest level that he can

work independently with success), instructional level (the level he can

benefit from with support), and frustrational level (too difficult even

with instructional support).

Dallas was very eager to talk to me about his interest on the interest

inventory. He also seemed excited to complete the Garfield survey and

was positive on all questions. Dallas is very attentive and interested in

his assignments. Dallas enjoys reading books on his level and

listening to stories read to him on higher levels. I have noticed that

Dallas begins to become weary after approximately 30 minutes of

activity. Dallas still works until the end of the session.


The spelling assessment (Schlagal), is a series of grade leveled list

consisting of 12 words each. Developed by Robert Schlagal, these words

represent frequent words at a given grade level with common spelling

patterns at a specific grade level. Reading and spelling are highly

correlated in grades K-2. We gain insight on the word knowledge of the

student and how much he knows about how letters work in words with

this assessment.

A score of 90% to 100% denotes independent level of the student.

Instructional spelling ability is denoted by a score of 50% to 89%.

(One’s instructional level in spelling is considered to be the highest level

the student can spell with at least 50% accuracy rate.) If the

student’s score is 40% t0 49%, it is considered a gray area. Frustration

level in spelling is a score below 40%.

Dallas shows an instructional level of 1-2 or early first grade with 75%.

However Dallas scored very low on the grade 2 spelling list with a

sharp drop to 8% which is frustrational. Dallas knows beginning and

ending consonants (trap, bed, bump, drop). He also spelled correctly an

“r” controlled word (girl), diagraphs and blend words (wish, ship, trap,

drop, drive), as well as long vowels (drive, bike).

Although Dallas performed well on 75% of these words, he had trouble

with sister (seitr), plane (plan) and when (wenet). (I wonder if he was

hearing or thinking “went for when”). Dallas also tried to

reverse d and b several times. He did self correct after studying the

letters. Dallas is in the “within word pattern” spelling stage for first

grade and will need instruction in more short vowel words with blends

and digraphs, blends and digraphs, and eventually short vs. long vowels.

Word Recognition in Isolation

The (WRI) Word Recognition in Isolation assessment is a set of 10

words in each of 20 lists. These lists were developed by taking word

samples from grade level lists (Early first to eighth grade). In using

these lists for WRI assessment, we are able to determine automaticity

on behalf of the child being evaluated.

The reading process is driven by automatic and accurate recognition of

the printed word. Flashing the word for the student to read in ¼ to ½

second reveals the rate of automaticity for the student and is a good

indicator of a student’s reading ability. If the student

misreads the word on the flash, they have another chance on the

untimed test. This untimed technique represents accuracy.

Independent level on WRI is 90%-100%. A score of 79% –89% is

instructional on the flash. Below 50% is frustration level.

Dallas performed well on PP2 and P level with 100% accuracy on the

flash. His rate dropped considerably for grade 1-2. He did score a 90%

on the untimed portion of this assessment. Dallas is independent on the

Primer level but is frustrational on the first grade level. The words

Dallas missed on the flash included long vowel, “r” controlled,

contractions, and two syllable words. Words missed included dark,

shout, couldn’t, until, winter, and table.

Contextual Reading

Using the ASU Informal Reading Inventory, Contextual Reading (WRC)

was assessed for Dallas. Recording a student’s reading along with a

written record of the reading is the best way to determine how they are

developing in the reading process. These informal reading inventories

(IRI) reflects specific grade level difficulty and should also be interesting

for the child to read. A valid assessment of the student’s level can be

determined if the student is reading actively and

understanding the passage. This assessment includes the student’s rate,

accuracy, comprehension, prosody and WRC.

In order to determine the level of IRI to start with, look at the flash score

on the WRI assessment. Look for the score of 80% or better and the

grade level the score indicates. We begin the reading assessment at this


During the oral reading assessment errors are noted and marked. These

errors include substitutions, repetitions, inserts, unknown words, and

change in meaning. The passage is also timed. This information is

written into the ASU Reading Clinic Summary sheet for the student

being assessed. We are able to determine from this initial assessment if

a lower or higher level reading passage is necessary to determine the

independent, instructional and frustrational level of the student.

Independent level of reading is reflected in a score of 98%-100% (WRC)

with good prosody and comprehension. Instructional level is based on a

score of 95%-97% (WRC) , gray area is 90%-94% (WRC), and

frustrational is below 90% (WRC) and 50% or below in reading

comprehension. The score chart for Dallas thus far is as follows:

Accuracy Comprehension Rate(WPM) Prosody

PP2 98% 100% 41 3

P 95.2% 100% 22 2

1-2 79% 100% 13 1

Dallas was willing to try to read all the passages assigned. Although his

WPM were low, on PP2 and on Primer level, he paused between

sentences as if in a resting mode. However, my observation and scores

support results of independent on PP2, Instructional on Primer and

frustrational on level 1-2.

Silent Reading scores were not assessed per instructions. Silent reading

is assessed at grade 2 and above.

Listening Comprehension

Listening comprehension is an assessment of the ability of the student

to understand and comprehend passages that are read to him. This

assessment determines comprehension weaknesses of the student

without word recognition problems as well.

Dallas was very interested in the stories I read to him. He listened

attentively and often attempted to fill in words as in a cloze activity. I

read stories to him on his grade level (2nd—rising 3rd). Dallas was able

to comprehend and answer accurately the questions on 1st-3rd grade

level. These scores indicate that his reading comprehension difficulties

are due to word recognition and fluency when he reads and not


The listening comprehension scores of 100% are not congruent with his

1st-3rd WRI scores or his WRC.

Sense of Story

Sense of story is assessed by reading a story to the student and asking

for a retell. In this assessment we determine if the student is able to

retell a story using book language, has an understanding of syntax and

story concept and/or his degree of sophistication in his underlying,

cognitive sense of story.

To assess Dallas, I read “Goldilocks and The Three Bears”. Upon

conclusion of my reading I asked Dallas to retell the story. Dallas did

not begin the story with an opening phrase as in “Once upon a time”.

He mentioned the home as a setting as well as the upstairs but did not

include the woods. Dallas did mention all the characters in the story

and addressed the three bears as mama, papa and baby. Dallas also

described the feeling of fear and of being tired in Goldilocks. Dallas

used one descriptive word but no examples of conversation. He was

able to tell at least three events in sequence but left out several. His

ending was indicative of the actual story. He said “Goldilocks got

scared. She ran away and Mama Bear and Baby Bear and Papa

Bearnever saw Goldilocks again!”

Although Dallas scored a 5 out of 8 on this retell, I sensed that he was

trying to recall facts of the story as he told it. However, I think he had

the perfect ending to the story.

On sense of story organization, Dallas was able to sequence some

events. He left out some important events but the story made sense as

far as order. Dallas used an appropriate ending with closing words and

phrases. In sense of story syntax, Dallas did use short but complete


Dallas loves reading and being read to. Dallas is behind in

reading levels and does not have the ability to retell in book language.

With appropriate instruction on his instructional level and time on task

reading and being read to, he will improve.


The writing assessment reveals information on the student’s spelling

and sense of story. After telling Dallas a story of my own, I asked him to

tell a story. He was particularly excited about swimming this summer

and decided to tell a story about that. The oral story was similar to the

written story, however, Dallas included more detail in the written story.

He wanted to write! He used the opportunity of taking his time in

writing in order to think of details. Dallas struggled with connecting

words such as “and” which resulted in run on sentences. His spelling

was congruent with his spelling problems indicated on the spelling

assessment. Examples are as follows:




After two sentences, Dallas started asking me to spell words. I

encouraged him to write with corrections later but he did not want to

do this. I spelled words for Dallas.