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Placement Tests for Reading for Success Novel Studies

Considerable research has been done showing that reading rate and accuracy are key determiners for a student's potential to comprehend written text. Many studies have examined the predictive validity of oral reading fluency measures and have determined that oral reading is a reliable predictor of student success on standardized and state tests in the area of reading comprehension. Each novel study carefully develops a wide range of comprehension and literary analysis skills from simple to complex. Therefore, we have used fluency and accuracy as predictors of appropriate placement. Placement testing only indicates the student has sufficient skills to be successful in a particular novel study. It does not mean the student is at mastery with the skills that are taught in that novel study.The recommendations for placement are based on the student's instructional level and a faithful implementation of the explicitly taught materials and lessons found in the Series Launchers and Reading for Success Teacher Presentation materials. Administration of the End of Unit test for each novel study will determine specific skill mastery in that particular novel study unit.

The placement tests will provide you with baseline date for reading rate and accuracy. This is an un-practiced or "cold" read. Students should not be allowed to practice the passage before the test is administered. It is best if each student is tested outside the hearing range of other students. Many students have been taught to read to get the “general idea” of a story or passage and that accuracy is not important. Because accuracy is a factor being evaluated in these placement tests, it is important to explain to the student being tested that there are many forms of reading where accuracy is not that important. However, for this placement test, the reading must be accurate. We encourage students to track under the words as they read, to help them be more focused on the words and thus, increasing their chances of reading more accurately. Students are to be instructed to read exactly what is on the page.

Detailed administration and scoring instructions are included for each test. The test passages are excerpts from the actual novel the students will read. They generally contain a balance of narrative and dialogue. Narrative is at the highest readability and dialogue at the lowest.

A student's reading rate (wrpm) on these placement tests is defined as the number of words read aloud in one minute. Errors are not used as a factor until the accuracy percentage is calculated. The placement tests evaluate only a student's ability to read fluently and accurately. They do not test comprehension.

If you have any questions about these placement tests, please feel free to contact Terry Dodds at
(250) 652-9704. One of the services offered to users of our novel studies is custom prepared literature
plans for your school. These plans can be developed in consultation with Terry Dodds, by phone or by email.

Downloading the Placement Tests
Click on the name of the novel study for the placement test you wish to administer to your students. Print out the copy from this website. You have permission to make as many copies of the tests as you need for testing your students.

Preparing the Passage
Students should read from the novel for which they are being tested, not from the recording sheet. To prepare the novel, underline the difficult or unusual words and phrases that are underlined on the scoring sheet. Mark with an asterisk the beginning and end of the passage the student will be reading during the test.

Setting the Scene
Each placement test provides a short script that introduces the student to the novel and sets the scene for reading the short passage. This part of the test provides the student with the context to help him or her better attach meaning to what is happening in the passage. This part of the testing can be done individually, with a small group of students, or with a whole class. Students with special needs should do this part of the test individually.

Reviewing the Hard Words
This part of the placement test should be administered individually. Students are given a copy of the prepared novel open to the designated page. A scripted review is provided for familiarizing students with difficult or unusual words, names, phrases, and words divided at the end of a line. Students are told the meanings of important words in the passage that may be unfamiliar to them.

Administering and Scoring the Placement Test
You will record student information on the scoring sheet. Have the student read the passage aloud as you record errors as described in the Instructions for Recording Student Responses and Scoring. The student should read aloud for one minute and should be timed with a timer. If a student reads the entire passage in less than one minute, record on the scoring sheet the time the passage was completed (E.g., completed in 47 seconds). This data may be used to determine higher or lower performing students and for forming groups. Even though a student may have a fast reading rate, he or she may not have the comprehension and literary analysis skills taught in a particular novel study. Some students are avid readers, but have difficulty formulating extended written responses. These factors need to be taken into consideration when scoring and placing students.


Novel Studies Placement Tests – Reading for Success

Click on one of the links below to download a PDF


The Box Car Children: The Copy Cat Mystery
Julian, Secret Agent
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Tippy Lemmey
Who Stole the Wizard of Oz?
The Most Beautiful Place in the World
The Gadget War
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Free Baseball
Charlotte’s Web
Freedom Crossing
Dive: The Discovery
Maniac Magee
Where the Red Fern Grows
The Sign of the Beaver
Journey to Jo'burg
The Enormous Egg
Bud, Not Buddy
Esperanza Rising
Touching Spirit Bear
Philip Hall Likes Me. I Reckon Maybe.
The Wanderer
Little House in the Big Woods

My Brother Sam is Dead
The Clay Marble
The Other Side of Truth
King of the Wind
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Cesar Chavez: A Hero for Everyone
Soldier’s Heart
The Giver
Stuart Little
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
A Single Shard
The Door in the Wall
Ben and Me
Of Beetles and Angels
Secret of the Andes (2017 Edition)
Stone Fox (2017 Edition)
A Wrinkle in Time
Tuck Everlasting
The Hobbit
The Call of the Wild
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Animal Farm
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl


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