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Here’s a tool to ensure preschoolers are on the road to literacy success

Date: Monday, November 30, 2020

"state assessment"A literacy screening tool for preschoolers is now available to districts and their community partners at no cost.

Called myIGDIs, which stands for Individual Growth and Development Indicators, the screening tool is designed to identify preschoolers who may be at risk in the area of early literacy, so that future difficulties may be prevented.

Though preschoolers are not expected to read based on the Iowa Early Learning Standards, there are certain foundational elements that educators look for, such as vocabulary, which can be strong indicators for how students will perform when they are being taught to read in the upcoming years.

Teachers can use myIGDIs data to improve instruction for all preschoolers, and to provide additional supports for small groups or individual students. myIGDIs also has a progress monitoring component, which enables the teacher to see if additional supports are effective, or whether an adjustment is needed.

Screening for literacy in preschool isn’t required in Iowa. However, schools are required to screen students in kindergarten through third grade.

“There is a law for kindergarten-through-third grade that requires identification and supports for children at-risk,” said Jennifer Adkins, a consultant for the Iowa Department of Education. “By starting in preschool, we will get a head start on narrowing the early literacy gap for children.”

Currently, 128 districts are using myIGDIs. About 68 percent of Iowa’s 4-year-olds are served by the Statewide Voluntary Preschool Program.

In order for a district to sign up – the winter window began on Nov. 15 – it must fill out a survey. From there, the myIGDIs vendor, Renaissance, will work with the district to get it up and running.