Sentence reading will often be the first subtest to be administered. Like the reasoning subtests, it is also an adaptive test, which makes assessment swift and efficient. Sentence reading involves both reading accuracy (i.e. word recognition using phonological decoding skills and/ or whole-word visual strategies) and reading comprehension (because in order to decide which of the words offered is the correct word to fit into the sentence, the student has to have some understanding of the meaning of the sentence). Hence it gives a good general estimate of the overall reading skills of students in this age range.
In cases where the student scores at least within the average range on Sentence reading, and there is no significant discrepancy between this result and the scores on the reasoning subtests, there is usually no need to administer the other two reading-related subtests (Single word reading and Funny words / Non-words). This is because the student’s performance in reading will not give undue cause for concern. However, if the score of this subtest falls below an SAS of 85, or there is a significant discrepancy between this result and the scores on the reasoning subtests, then there will be cause for concern. In this event it is recommended that both Single word reading and Funny words / Non-words also be administered.
If the Sentence reading score is found to be low, this may be because the student has dyslexia or because they have low general ability. It could alternatively be because they lack experience of reading texts at an age-appropriate level and simply need to develop their comprehension skills. Such students would benefit from a variety of activities designed to stimulate reading comprehension skills. However, if the student has problems of a dyslexic nature, it may be necessary to tackle word recognition and phonic skills before launching too vigorously into more ambitious work on reading for meaning.