Sentence Reading will often be the first test to be administered. Like the reasoning module, it is also an adaptive test, which makes assessment swift and efficient. Sentence Reading involves both reading accuracy (i.e. word recognition using phonological decoding skills and/or whole-word visual strategies) and reading comprehension (because in order to decide which of the words offered is the correct word to fit into the sentence, the student has to have some understanding of the meaning of the sentence). Hence it gives a good general estimate of the overall reading skills of students in this age range.
In cases where the student scores at least within the average range on the Sentence Reading module, and there is no significant discrepancy between this result and the score on the Reasoning module, there is usually no need to administer the other two reading-related modules (Single Word Reading and Nonwords). This is because the student’s performance in reading will not give undue cause for concern. However, if the score of this module falls below centile 20, or there is a significant discrepancy between this result and the score on the Reasoning module, then there will be cause for concern. In this event it is recommended that both the Single Word Reading and Nonwords tests also be administered.
If the Sentence Reading result is found to be low this may be because the student has dyslexia or specific learning difficulties (e.g. case studies 7.2 and 7.3) or because they have low general ability (e.g. case study 7.6). Or it could be because they lack experience of reading texts at an age-appropriate level and simply need to develop their comprehension skills. They would benefit from a variety of activities designed to stimulate reading comprehension skills but if the student has problems of a dyslexic nature, it may be necessary to tackle word recognition and phonic skills before launching to vigorously into more ambitious work on reading for meaning (see Section 6.2.2).