Screening for comprehension

Language comprehension is foundational to the understanding of written text. Without comprehension of the written and spoken word, students will struggle in all areas of the curriculum and in social participation. Fluent reading with good comprehension speeds cognitive development, helps children develop empathy, improves vocabulary and concentration, and allows children to develop mental concepts.

Launched in January 2022, our new test, the Wheldall Sentence Comprehension Screener (WSCS), can identify young children who have difficulty with comprehension who may benefit from receiving targeted language comprehension and/or support.

The Screener will also identify children who may benefit from LanguageLift, an oral language intervention program for children in Kindergarten to Year 2.

We believe this easy-to-use Screener will be of great help to classroom teachers, learning support teachers and any other school personnel involved in literacy instruction. Using the WSCS, teachers and others can easily assess how well children in the first half of their Foundation year of school comprehend written and spoken language.

Easy to use and more effective

Brief and straightforward, the Screener is geared to the needs of children, being child-friendly, engaging, with clear stimulus pictures. For teachers and other educators, the test is easy to score and administer, taking just five to ten minutes to complete. We ask the child to listen to a sentence, then to select (from four options) the picture that best represents that sentence. In total, there are 40 sentences of varying length and complexity. The WSCS provides valid and reliable Australian cut-off scores so educators can identify students who require further support.

In using the Screener, educators can assess a child’s understanding of a wide range of sentence structures. This in turn can help teachers to create an individualised approach to spoken language remediation.

Kit components

The WSCS Kit consists of the following components:

  • Manual
  • Presentation Booklet, containing a set of practice Items and 10 sets of stimulus pictures for different sentence structures, which students use during the test
  • 30 WSCS single-use record forms, with additional forms available through MultiLit.

We believe that, in using this simple screener, teachers will be able to quickly identify children who are at risk of poor reading outcomes and intervene earlier.