Strategy 4

4. How can native language literacy skills be assessed? It can be very challenging to assess students' academic skills in their primary language. There are commercially produced standardized tests available to assess academic skills for major language groups such as Spanish. However, for low incidence languages such as Estonian or Fijian there are no such tests available.

There are many informal methods of assessing literacy skills. Reading specialists know that both story retelling and reading running records, which allow the observer to document and analyze a child's reading behavior, are methods of assessing reading skills in the student's native language. Unfortunately, there are not always bilingual educators readily available to assess the student's native language skills. A team approach including both reading specialists and educators with training in second language acquisition is essential.