Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)

Degree Granting Department

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Major Professor

Ruth H. Bahr, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carolyn Ford, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Maria Brea-Spahn, Ph.D.


early intervention, literacy


Despite efforts to improve access to early literacy intervention in the United States, there are still children entering kindergarten that are not adequately prepared for school and are unlikely to catch up to their peers (National Education Association, 2014). Preschool programs are actively involved in screening their students for potential literacy difficulties; however, there are children who do not attend preschool and may not have their literacy development assessed. One solution to this problem is to involve other individuals who routinely see preschool age children. Pediatricians are one such group as children come to them for their wellness visits and vaccinations. It may be possible to involve them in the reading screening process. To this end, a screening device (Tridas, 2014) has been developed by a developmental pediatrician.

The purpose of this pilot study was to establish the content and criterion validity of this reading screening test (Tridas, 2014). Eight preschool children (ages 55-62 months) completed the reading screener, which had two components: a brief parental questionnaire assessing language abilities and a quick check of phonological awareness. The scores on these two subtests were compared with performances on two standardized measures of language function: the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool -Second Edition (CELF-P2; Semel, Wiig, & Secord, 2004), a measure of global language skill and the Test of Preschool Early Literacy Skills (TOPEL; Lonigan, Wagner, Toregsen, & Rashotte, 2007), a measure of early literacy skills.

Results indicated that the reading screener showed good content and criterion validity. Parental report of language ability was verified by scores on the CELF-P2. The two students with the lowest scores on the CELF-P2 also received the greatest number of parental concerns on the reading screener. Participants evidenced excellent letter identification skills; however, performance on the rhyming tasks identified those with lower standard scores on the TOPEL. The pass/fail decisions on the reading screener were then compared with the standard scores on the TOPEL and the two individuals who failed both portions of the screener also scored the lowest on the TOPEL. Based on this analysis, cut-off scores for the components of the reading screener were identified. Pilot results indicated that this screening device has potential for the identification of children in need of more complete evaluation of literacy skills. Continued evaluation of this screening device is warranted with a broader sample of preschool children and with pediatricians as the examiners.