Word Warm-ups Teacher Responsibilities


Word Warm-ups: Assessing and placing students


The Word Warm-ups Student Assessments evaluate a student's ability to make letter sounds and/or decode words with common phonics and syllable patterns at an automatic level. Results of the assessment help you to:

  • Determine whether a student can benefit from a given Word Warm-ups level
  • Correctly place a student in an appropriate level
  • Build packets of exercises for each student according to his or her individual needs
  • Monitor student progress


There is a separate assessment packet for each Word Warm-ups level:

Each assessment packet includes the materials to administer the assessment for a given level:

  • Detailed instructions for assessing and placing students
  • Student Assessment
  • Assessment Scoring Worksheets
  • Pronunciation Guide


Each assessment is organized so that the letter sounds, phonics patterns, and syllable patterns are presented in the same sequence as they are in the corresponding Word Warm-ups level. You should have a student work through as many sections of the assessment as possible.

If a student shows frustration, stop testing that section and continue on to the next section. Discontinue the assessment if the student exhibits frustration in two or more sections or if you think he or she cannot continue. Do not indicate to the student whether a response is correct or incorrect.

Assessment Procedure

The assessment procedures vary according to the skills being assessed. Refer to the assessment packets for detailed instructions for a specific Word Warm-ups level. This is the general Word Warm-ups assessment procedure:

  1. Sit across from the student, and place the Student Assessment in front of him or her.
  2. Ask the student to look at the letters or words in the section and make the sound of each letter or read each word.
  3. Listen to the student make the sound of each letter or read each word. On your Assessment Scoring Worksheet:
    • If the student makes the correct sound or reads the word correctly, make a check under the corresponding letter or word.
    • If the student self-corrects, write SC (self-corrected) on the line below the letter or word.
    • If the student makes a sound slowly or decodes a word slowly, write SD (slowly decoded) on the line below the letter.
    • If the student makes the sound incorrectly or decodes a word incorrectly, write the student's incorrect response on the line below the letter.

    The assessment packets include guidelines for determining a student's errors, self-corrected words, and slowly decoded words.
  4. Repeat this process for as many sections as possible, but stop if the student becomes frustrated.
Calculating the Total Scores 

After completing the assessment, calculate the student's total score for each section:

  1. Write the number of decoding errors the student made on the line marked Errors.
  2. Write the number of self-corrected words on the line marked Self-Corrected.
  3. Write the number of slowly decoded words on the line marked Slowly Decoded.
  4. Add the number of errors to the number of self-corrected and slowly decoded words to calculate the student's total score for the section, and write this number on the line marked Total Score.


After assessing students and recording their total scores for each section on the Assessment Scoring Worksheets, analyze the data to decide whether and how each student can benefit from the Word Warm-ups program.

To decide whether a student needs a given Word Warm-ups level, look at the total scores you recorded on the Assessment Scoring Worksheets. If a student has a total score of three or higher on any section of the assessment, he or she can benefit from that Word Warm-ups level.

Once you've determined which students can benefit from a Word Warm-ups level, continue to analyze the assessment data to decide which option the student should use:

If a student has a total score of... And the student... Then the student should use this option:
Three or higher on a section of the assessment Scores three or higher on all or most subsequent sections Comprehensive Program
Three or higher on a section of the assessment Scores three or higher on some additional sections scattered throughout the assessment Customized Option

Comprehensive Program
For students who need instruction on most or all of the sounds, phonics patterns, and/or syllable patterns featured in the Word Warm-ups level. Most primary grade students, and occasionally older students who struggle with decoding, will benefit from the Comprehensive Program. Beginning with the first section on the assessment for which the student scored three or higher, the student completes all of the exercises in the level.

Customized Option
For students who may not require the Comprehensive Program but still need structured and sequential instruction in the sounds and phonics patterns they have not yet mastered. Students complete only those sections for which they scored three or higher on the assessment.


Refer to the Word Warm-ups Teacher's Manuals for details about building student packets for each of the curriculum options.


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