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.