DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) are a set of procedures and measures for assessing the acquisition of early literacy skills from kindergarten through sixth grade.  They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills.  When used as recommended, the results can be used to evaluate individual student development as well as provide grade-level feedback toward validated instructional objectives.  DIBELS can be used to as assessments for

·        determining benchmarks goals,

·        for progress monitoring, and

·        as outcome measure assessments.


Each measure has been thoroughly researched and demonstrated to be reliable and valid indicators of early literacy development and predictive of later reading proficiency to aid in the early identification of students who are not progressing as expected.


The DIBELS measures were specifically designed to assess the Big Ideas of early literacy:  Phonological Awareness, Alphabetic Principle, Fluency with Connected Text, Vocabulary, and Comprehension.  The measures are linked to one another, both psychometrically and theoretically, and have been found to be predictive of later reading proficiency.  Combined, the measures form an assessment system of early literacy development that allows educators to readily and reliably determine student progress.


Measures of Phonological Awareness

·       Initial Sounds Fluency (ISF):  Assess a child’s skill at identifying and producing the initial sound of a given word.

·       Phonemic Segmentation Fluency (PSF):  Assesses a child’s skill at producing the individual sounds within a given word.

Measures of Alphabetic Principle and Phonics

·       Nonsense Word Fluency (NWF):  Assesses a child’s knowledge of letter-sound correspondences as well their ability to blend letters together to form unfamiliar “nonsense” (e.g., ut, fik, lig, etc.) words.

·       Oral Reading Fluency (ORF):  If accuracy is less than 95%.

Measure of Accuracy and Fluency with Connected Text

·       Oral Reading Fluency (ORF):  Assesses a child’s skill at reading connected text in grade-level materials.

Measure of Comprehension

·       Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) and Retell Fluency (RTF):  Assesses a child’s understanding of verbally read connected text.

Measure of Vocabulary and Oral Language

·       Word Use Fluency (WUF):  Assesses a child’s ability to accurately use a provided word in the context of a sentence.