How to assess reading (primary)

Find guidance on how to assess reading, and examples of reading assessment grids from schools.

Last reviewed on 28 February 2022
School types: All · School phases: Primary
Ref: 11117
  1. Assess word reading, comprehension and spoken language 
  2. Assessment should be “close and regular” 
  3. How to assess whole-class reading 
  4. See assessment grids from schools

Assess word reading, comprehension and spoken language 

Assess these skills using the National Curriculum statements. These are set out on the following pages of the English programmes of study for Key Stages (KS) 1 and KS2:

  • Spoken language (all year groups): page 7 
  • Word reading and comprehension (year 1): pages 10 and 11
  • Word reading and comprehension (year 2): pages 17 and 18 

Assessment should be “close and regular” 

This is to make sure that:

  • Teaching can match pupils' capacity to learn
  • Any issues can be identified and overcome

Formative assessment 

This involves staff adjusting their teaching based on pupils’ misconceptions, for example by: 

  • Reviewing a grapheme-phoneme correspondence (GPC - see page 106 of the reading framework
  • Repeating a step to support blending 
  • Directing their attention to any pupils who have lost focus 

Whether you decide to do this termly or half-termly, make