Wheldall Assessment of Reading Lists

Reading fluency reflects a student’s automaticity in decoding. To read effectively and with understanding, students need to be able to decode words effortlessly so that they are not wasting cognitive capacity that could otherwise be deployed in making sense of what is being read. Reading fluency is a powerful predictor of overall reading progress. The Wheldall Assessment of Reading Lists (WARL) is a quick and simple measure of reading performance, designed to identify younger low-progress readers and for monitoring reading progress.

Who is it for?

  • Designed to assess the reading of students in Years 1 and 2
  • Suitable for use by classroom teachers, learning support teachers and other school personnel involved in literacy instruction

The WARL is a companion tool to the WARP (the Wheldall Assessment of Reading Passages) , which assesses students with a reading level in the range Year 2 to Year 5.

Key benefits

  • Quick and easy to administer, with no special qualifications required
  • Lists have been specifically designed to be of similar difficulty level
  • Can be used to screen large groups to identify those at risk of falling behind
  • Can be used to monitor the progress of individual low-progress readers on a regular basis (i.e. weekly), allowing for adjustment to instruction
  • Includes easy to use benchmark/cut-off scores

How is it administered

The WARL provides a set of 100-word lists, each of which include a selection of the most frequently occurring words, which students read for just one minute. The number of words read correctly provides a measure of the student’s level of oral reading fluency, and the benchmarks provided allow for the easy identification of the bottom 25% of students. As a fast and simple measure to administer, the lists can then be utilised on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to monitor the performance of individual low-progress readers.

How does the WARL relate to Response to Intervention?

Assessment is an important part of a Response to Intervention (RtI) model, as educators need to determine when students need more intensive instruction (and also, when they no longer require intensive instruction).

This assessment must be conducted frequently (and therefore quickly), and must be a valid measure of an entire academic area (in this case, reading). Curriculum-based measurement satisfies these criteria, and as the WARL is a curriculum-based measure of reading, it can be used for this purpose.

Within an RtI model, the WARL can be used for screening, progress monitoring, and instructional decision-making.

Kit components

The WARL Kit consists of the following components:

  • Manual
  • Presentation Booklet, containing 3 different Initial Assessment Lists and 10 different Progress Monitoring Lists from which students read during the test
  • 30 Initial Assessment Lists Record Forms (sufficient for 30 students)
  • 15 Progress Monitoring Lists Record Forms (sufficient for 15 students). The form includes an area to manually chart a student’s progress.
  • Access to a tool for the management and charting of students test scores (downloadable from the MultiLit Members’ Area).

Please note: Both the Initial Assessment Lists Record Forms and the Progress Monitoring Lists Record Forms can only be used once. Replacements will need to be purchased from MultiLit once the Forms provided in the Kit have been used.

Measuring Reading Progress Professional Development Workshop

It is not enough to simply assess the reading of students – it is important that teachers know what to do with the information.

This Professional Development Workshop will provide teachers with a solid understanding of the importance of using data to monitor students’ reading progress on a very regular basis so that no student gets left behind.

It will also emphasise the need for a consistent school-wide approach to reading assessment, linking the measurement of reading progress to the three tiers of intervention within the Response to Intervention framework.

What the workshop covers

  • How to identify a good test
  • Types of reading assesments
  • What do we need to assess?
  • Problems with Running Records/benchmarking
  • How to create a coherent school-wide reading assessment process
  • Training in the WARP (Wheldall Assessment of Reading Passages), WARL (Wheldall Assessment of Reading Lists), WARN (Wheldall Assessment of Reading Nonwords) and the WSCS (Wheldall Sentence Comprehension Screener). The WARN can be used to predict which students are at risk of not meeting the Year 1 Phonic Screening Check threshold, while WARL and WARP can be used to screen students at risk of reading difficulties and to track their ongoing progress. The WSCS is a screening measure to identify receptive language difficulties in children entering their first year of school.

Who should attend

  • School leaders
  • Classroom and learning support teachers
  • School counsellors
  • Specialist reading teachers/tutors
  • Literacy coaches who are working with students from Foundation to Year 8/9.


1 Day (6 Hours)

Please note: The use of MultiLit publications and attendance at professional development workshops is for personal education use in schools with State/Territory accreditation (‘Accredited Schools’). Other commercial use, hiring or lending, or other use as part of any commercial, not-for-profit, or fee-paying program of instruction or tuition not carried out within an Accredited School is strictly prohibited.


NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA)

Completing Measuring Reading Progress Professional Development Workshop will contribute 5 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Accredited PD in the priority area of Delivery and Assessment of NSW Curriculum/EYLF addressing standard descriptors 5.1.2 and 5.4.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

Teacher Quality Institute (TQI), ACT


This program has been accredited by TQI in 2024. Attendance provides 5 PD hours for ACT teachers.

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