The Test of Phoneme Identities (Pretest Version)
The Test of Phoneme Identities is designed to see whether beginners recognize phonemes when they are hidden in spoken words. Research has shown this measure to be a particularly effective predictor of code-breaking potential with children who do not yet have the alphabetic insight that letters signal the vocal gestures of speech.
Materials: None, other than a copy of this page for reading the items and recording responses. The test is administered conversationally. Read with expression. Do not emphasize phonemes. Accept any repetition of the sentence that includes the target words, but repeat the sentence if either is incorrect. Require a correct approximation of the isolated phoneme. Repeat the sound-to-word matching question if the response is unclear. To record the answers, circle the child’s response in the words of the question.
Directions: We’re going to play a repeating game. First, I’ll say a sentence, then you say it back. Then I’ll say a sound, and you say it back. Then I want you to listen for the sound in a word. Let’s begin.
- Say: We’ll see the moon soon. Now say /s/. Do you hear /s/ in moon or soon?
- Say: She caught a fish by the fin. Now say /sh/. Do you hear /sh/ in fish or fin?
- Say: That bug makes a buzz. Now say /z/. Do you hear /z/ in bug or buzz?
- Say: We hid from him. Now say /m/. Do you hear /m/ in hid or him?
- Say: Those girls have the same name. Now say /n/. Do you hear /n/ in same or name?
- Say: I race to wash my face. Now say /f/. Do you hear /f/ in race or face?
- Say: Can you move a moose? Now say /v/. Do you hear /v/ in move or moose?
- Say: He gets a badge for taking a bath. Now say /th/. Do you hear /th/ in badge or bath?
- Say: This card game is hard. Now say /h/. Do you hear /h/ in card or hard?
- Say: His chin is too thin. Now say /ch/. Do you hear /ch/ in chin or thin?
- Say: We found him in the gym. Now say /j/. Do you hear /j/ in him or gym?
- Say: I brought a scoop to school. Now say /l/. Do you hear /l/ in scoop or school?
- Say: There’s a rat under that hat. Now say /r/. Do you hear /r/ in rat or hat?
- Say: We have tar on our car. Now say /k/. Do you hear /k/ in tar or car?
- Say: Would you share a pair of socks? Now say /p/. Do you hear /p/ in share or pair?
- Say: The playground is part of the park. Now say /t/. Do you hear /t/ in part or park?
- Say: The cub will come when you call. Now say /b/. Do you hear /b/ in cub or come?
- Say: She likes to leap into deep water. Now say /d/. Do you hear /d/ in leap or deep?
- Say: In this game, you have a new name. Now say /g/. Do you hear /g/ in game or name?
[Take a stretch break for half a minute before continuing.]
- Say: We hate to wait for the bus. Now say /w/. Do you hear /w/ in hate or wait?
- Say: The yarn is in the barn. Now say /y/. Do you hear /y/ in yarn or barn?
- Say: He popped the bag with a bang. Now say /ng/. Do you hear /ng/ in bag or bang?
- Say: Find a space by the spice. Now say /A/. Do you hear /A/ in space or spice?
- Say: This street is straight. Now say /E/. Do you hear /E/ in street or straight?
- Say: We go from nine till noon. Now say /I/. Do you hear /I/ in nine or noon?
- Say: I have a nose for news. Now say /O/. Do you hear /O/ in nose or news?
- Say: Your shoelace is loose. Now say /OO/. Do you hear /OO/ in lace or loose?
- Say: He’s the last on the list. Now say /a/. Do you hear /a/ in last or list?
- Say: I have a red fishing rod. Now say /e/. Do you hear /e/ in red or rod?
- Say: On Halloween bring a big bag. Now say /i/. Do you hear /i/ in big or bag?
- Say: Move the rock with the rake. Now say /o/. Do you hear /o/ in rock or rake?
- Say: Don’t cut our kite. Now say /u/. Do you hear /u/ in cut or kite?
- Say: I heard a sound in the sand. Now say /ow/. Do you hear /ow/ in sound or sand?
- Say: We saw the old barn burn. Now say /er/. Do you hear /er/ in barn or burn?
- Say: The fair is far from school. Now say /ar/. Do you hear /ar/ in fair or far?
- Say: We’ll draw on our pictures after they dry. Now say /aw/. Do you hear /aw/ in draw or dry?
- Say: That spill might spoil. Now say /oy/. Do you hear /oy/ in spill or spoil?
- Say: Look at the beautiful lake. Now say /oo/. Do you hear /oo/ in look or lake?
Interpretation: Score the test by counting the number of items correct out of 38.
- Since there are two choices per item, we can expect scores in the vicinity of 19 by chance. Students who score below 25 are probably not aware of phonemes.
- The average kindergarten score is 28, with a standard deviation of 6. Scores in the 28-33 range imply some developing phoneme awareness.
- Students who score 34-38 have well-developed phoneme awareness. They are ready to learn to read and spell words. Follow this link to the letterbox lesson, an explicit, hands-on lesson format for teaching phonics.
Murray, B. A., Smith, K. A., & Murray, G. G. (2000). The Test of Phoneme Identities: Predicting alphabetic insight in prealphabetic readers. Journal of Literacy Research, 32, 421-447.
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