Early literacy screening is the key to providing effective
literacy instruction and preventing future reading problems. The
Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) provides a comprehensive
assessment of young children’s knowledge of the important literacy
fundamentals that are predictive of future reading success. PALS
is the state-provided screening tool for Virginia’s Early Intervention
Reading Initiative (EIRI) and is used by 99% of school divisions
in the state on a voluntary basis.
PALS consists of three instruments, PALS-PreK (for preschool
students), PALS-K (for kindergartners), and PALS 1-3 (for students
in Grades 1-3). PALS assessments are designed to identify students
in need of additional reading instruction beyond that provided to
typically developing readers. PALS also informs teachers’ instruction
by providing them with explicit information about their students’ knowledge
of literacy fundamentals. Mid-year assessment and PALS Quick Checks
allow for ongoing student progress monitoring throughout the year.
Virginia’s Early Intervention Reading Initiative
The Early Intervention Reading Initiative was initially established
by the 1997 Virginia Acts of Assembly. Monies were allocated to help
participating school divisions identify children in need of additional
instruction and to provide early intervention services to those students
with diagnosed needs. School divisions that chose to participate
were able to implement the initiative in either kindergarten or first
grade. In the 2000-2001 legislative session, the Governor and General
Assembly provided funding to expand the EIRI through third grade.
Virginia Department of Education
Development of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening
was supported by the Virginia Department of Education through Virginia’s
Early Intervention Reading Initiative. Without the support of the
VDOE, the research and development required for this assessment would
not be possible.