Reading Assessment to Promote Equitable Learning

An Empowering Approach for Grades K-5

Laurie Elish-Piper, Mona W. Matthews, and Victoria J. Risko
Foreword by H. Richard Milner

HardcoverPaperbacke-bookprint + e-book
August 22, 2022
ISBN 9781462549986
Price: $85.00
340 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
August 22, 2022
ISBN 9781462549979
Price: $35.00
340 Pages
Size: 7" x 10"
August 22, 2022
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $35.00
340 Pages
print + e-book
Paperback + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $70.00 $38.50
340 Pages

Many standard reading assessment approaches fail to capture the strengths and needs of students from diverse sociocultural, linguistic, and academic backgrounds. From expert authors, this book guides educators in planning and conducting meaningful, equitable assessments that empower K–5 teachers and students, inform responsive instruction, and help to guard against bias. The book's holistic view of reading encompasses areas from text comprehension and constrained skills to building trusting relationships and promoting students’ agency. Twenty-eight assessment strategies are explained in step-by-step detail, including helpful implementation examples and 32 reproducible forms that teachers can download and print in a convenient 8½“ x 11” size.

“This book issues a resounding call to remove the cloak of invisibility in literacy assessment and foster more informed and equitable instructional practices. Building on their extensive experience and research with children and families, the authors make teachers and students visible, and show what standard assessments fail to tell us. The book features authentic vignettes with roadmaps to guide literacy professionals in implementing assessments in a diversity of school settings across different geographic locations. This is a much-needed resource for empowering students and teachers in today’s schools.”

—Doris Walker-Dalhouse, PhD, Department of Educational Policy and Leadership, Marquette University

“A child's understanding of reading is about more than decoding—it involves prior experience, linguistic knowledge, agency, interests, and emotions. This book embraces cultural responsiveness in assessment, and is a needed professional development resource and text for all who provide reading instruction. The chapters present research, theory, and procedures for conducting assessments that capture children’s capabilities as well as their needs.”

—Lesley Mandel Morrow, PhD, Distinguished Professor and Director, Center for Literacy Development, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

“Elish-Piper, Matthews, and Risko definitively place assessment back in the hands of teachers and their students. The authors’ strengths-based, humanizing approach to reading assessment puts students’ sense of self and agency first, and respects teachers as professionals and decision makers about what is right for their students. The book is packed with how-to suggestions, theoretical knowledge, and classroom vignettes. Teachers, administrators, and teacher educators will find clear guidance on a full suite of assessments that move beyond standardized measures toward ways to promote deeper engagement and learning. The authors demonstrate their deep understanding of the complex undertaking of assessing each student’s reading identities and abilities.”

—Dana A. Robertson, EdD, School of Education, Virginia Tech

Table of Contents

Foreword, H. Richard Milner

1. The Urgency of Now: Addressing Assessment Inequities

2. Understanding Students’ Funds of Identity

3. Building Trusting Relationships: The Linchpin of Productive and Effective Reading Assessment

4. Using Student Talk to Assess Students’ Reading Comprehension

5. Assessing Readers’ Text Comprehension

6. Assessing Constrained Skills within the Big Picture of Reading

7. Using Assessment to Support Students’ Development of Agency

8. Starting with Student Strengths

9. Literacy Assessment as Oeuvre: Teachers and Students Building a Visible Body of Work



About the Authors

Laurie Elish-Piper, PhD, is Dean of the College of Education at Northern Illinois University, where she also holds the titles of Distinguished Engagement Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor. Dr. Elish-Piper is a past director of the Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic. Her scholarship addresses literacy assessment, literacy coaching, family engagement, and supporting struggling readers. She has coauthored 13 books and more than 80 articles and chapters. Dr. Elish-Piper has served in leadership roles in the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers, the International Literacy Association, and the Illinois Reading Council. Previously she worked as an elementary teacher, a middle school language arts and reading teacher, and an educational therapist.

Mona W. Matthews, PhD, is Professor Emerita in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education at Georgia State University. Dr. Matthews's scholarship, which merges research and theories related to young children’s social, literacy, and individual development, addresses how young children’s social resources (e.g., classmates, teachers, family) influence their literacy development. She has coauthored one previous book and 47 articles and chapters. Dr. Matthews is a past president of the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers. She previously worked as a preschool teacher, a first-grade teacher, and an educational consultant working with teachers to support their literacy teaching.

Victoria J. Risko, EdD, is Professor Emerita at Vanderbilt University, where she taught in the language, literacy, and culture program within the Department of Teaching and Learning. Her research focuses on teacher education and professional development, teacher reflection, and equity-based multimedia environments that support English learners and readers who are experiencing difficulties. Dr. Risko is a past president of the International Literacy Association and the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers. She is coauthor of several books and numerous articles and chapters. A recipient of several national and international awards for contributions to research and literacy education, Dr. Risko is a member of the Reading Hall of Fame. She began her career as a first- and fourth-grade teacher.


Classroom teachers, literacy specialists and coaches, and staff developers in grades K–5; teacher educators and students.

Course Use

Will serve as a supplemental text in advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses.