Reading Demo


There are no standardized tests that adequately measure the English literacy level of adults who have very limited understanding of English. However, this does not mean that these individuals do not recognize some English. It is important to identify what skills learners have so that teachers can build instruction on what their students already know.

CLESE is fortunate to be the first organization in the country to field test the Reading Demonstration for use in the classroom by teachers.

The Reading Demonstration is a hands-on, one-on-one, performance-based assessment that uses real items from the learners’ environment. It helps identify how much they understand print that is a part of their daily lives. Learners are asked to identify and “read” such things as a Coca Cola label, McDonald’s wrapper, grocery store flyer, and map of the world.

Based on an idea first introduced by Lytle and Wolfe at Penn State University, Heide Wrigley (consultant to CLESE on the Bright Ideas project) and Larry Condelli (American Institutes for Research) developed the Reading Demonstration initially for use in the National Study of What Works in Adult ESL Literacy, where it has been used to identify student knowledge at over forty sites.

Reading Demo

The Reading Demonstration is now being further developed for use across the country as a supplemental assessment for the National Assessment for Adult Literacy (NAALS). The process of standardizing this type of assessment to ensure the validity required for scientific study is challenging. However, such standardization is not required for this kind of assessment to be useful for teachers.

One of the results of our field test will be a description of how teachers can use this kind of assessment productively in their own classes. When we are ready, this will be posted to Products & Papers page. Meanwhile, you may watch a video of Heide Wrigley conducting a Reading Demonstration with Bessima, one of the students enrolled in our Bright Ideas project.

Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly (CLESE)
53 West Jackson, Suite 1340
Chicago, IL 60604
312-461-0812  /  312-461-1466 (fax)