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Just like parents track certain milestones to determine if their child is developing and keeping up with his or her peers, teachers us DIBELS to help determine academic benchmarks for students.  DIBELS stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills.  It is given three times each year and focuses on letter naming, letter sounds, blending, phonemic awareness, high frequency words and oral reading.  Benchmarks are set for each testing window.  If children are unable to reach the said benchmarks it informs the teachers of such and they are able to adjust instruction, provide intervention, and even make suggestions for ways parents can help at home.  Although there are several ways students are assessed and graded, the DIBELS test provides educators with a wealth of information regarding a child's reading skills!
iReady is a computerized assessment that does some of the same things that DIBELS does; however, it provides additional information in the areas of vocabulary and comprehension.  iReady also creates a personalized path that students work on each week.  This pathway is tailored to the individual child and instructs and allows practice.  Research has shown that if a student has an opportunity to spend at least 45 minutes working on their path each week they can make great academic gains.