Contact Us

Want to learn more about Riverside?      Contact Your Local Assessment Consultant

Clinical and Special Education Early Childhood Battelle Developmental Inventory

Beyond BDI-3® : Using the BEAS to Screen for Dyslexia

Riverside Insights
Written By Riverside Insights
On Apr 27, 2022
10 minute read
Go beyond BDI-3 and discover how the BEAS addition can support dyslexia screening and intervention initiatives.


We’ve explored the general ways the newest addition to the BDI-3 Suite, the Battelle Early Academic Survey (BEAS), can strengthen early childhood education practices in our introductory BEAS blog . We also highlighted the benefits of using the BEAS assessment of foundational math skills for those aged 3.6-7.11 BEAS for Dyscalculia screening here. That’s not where it ends. The BEAS can also be used as a screening tool to obtain data on a student’s early literacy skills that can be used to plan instruction and guide further assessment for dyslexia. 


The LITERACY DOMAIN of the BEAS allows for screening primary reading difficulties associated with Dyslexia, including letter identification, phoneme pronunciation, basic reading skills (print awareness and letter-word identification), and phoneme-grapheme knowledge.   


Letter Identification contains items assessing the examinee’s ability to identify uppercase and lowercase letters based on visual presentation.  


Phoneme pronunciation is assessed by Letter-Sound Correspondence, which requires the examinee to produce sounds corresponding to visually presented letters.  


Basic Reading Skills involve identification of words that appear frequently in text (sight words), in addition to application of phonics (the application of knowledge related to sound-symbol correspondences to pronounce novel words). Two areas of the BEAS tap these skills:   

      • Sight Words- Reading sight words aloud.  
      • Nonsense Words- Applying decoding skills to read nonsense/non-real words.  


Foundational skills related to Phoneme-Grapheme Knowledge can also be assessed using the BEAS. Specifically, examiners can administer the Phonics and Word Recognition subdomain, which contains items focusing on connecting symbols (letters) to the sounds (phonemes) they represent.  An adequate foundation in phonics, word recognition, and word decoding is crucial in developing reading proficiency. It is noted that many individuals with dyslexia struggle to apply knowledge of phonics in the service of reading and spelling. The applicable areas within the Phonics and Word Recognition subdomain include:   

      • Nonsense Words tests the ability to apply decoding skills to read nonsense/non-real words.  
      • Long Vowel Patterns- Applying knowledge of long and short vowel patterns to match pictures with words.  
      • Inflectional Endings- Identifying the correct word in a series based on an understanding of inflectional endings.  
      • Early Decoding- Matching pictures with consonant-vowel-consonant words. 

Phoneme-Grapheme Knowledge also is tapped by the following tasks (that are also noted above):   

      • Letter Identification  
      • Sight Words  
      • Letter-Sound Correspondence  


Phonological Awareness is considered a relevant cognitive ability area in the assessment of Dyslexia. Items in this subdomain focus on a student’s ability to identify, analyze, and manipulate sounds within words. A foundation in phonological awareness leads to phonics mastery, which in turn, helps the student to read text with confidence. In this subdomain, the student is tasked with:  

      • Rhyming- Identifying rhyming and nonrhyming words  
      • Syllables- Breaking words into syllables and blending syllables to create words  
      • Onset Rime- Identifying initial sounds in words and blending initial sounds with word parts to create whole words  
      • Phoneme Identification- Identifying phonemes (speech sounds) in initial, medial, and ending positions within words   
      • Phoneme Blending and Segmenting- Blending individual phonemes to create words, and breaking words into individual phonemes  
      • Phoneme Manipulation- Adding and removing phonemes in the initial and ending position in words, in addition to substituting phonemes in the initial, medial, and ending position to create new words.  


The BEAS also allows for an evaluation of foundational skills in the domain of Rapid Naming, another cognitive correlate of dyslexia. Rapid naming can be defined as the ability to recall names of familiar objects or symbols (e.g., letters and numbers) quickly and accurately. This domain is tapped by the Fluency subdomain. 


Fluency items test fluency and automaticity in picture naming, requiring the child to identify depicted objects under timed conditions. As the fluency items do not involve the reading of text, examiners are able to assess a student’s rate and accuracy prior to their being able to read. Fluency measurement provides data that children are reading at an adequate rate with appropriate accuracy for a given stage of reading development. Furthermore, reading fluency is paramount in an individual’s ability to comprehend text.  


Examiners administering the BEAS can also assess domains of functioning that are independent of reading achievement. Specifically, Listening Comprehension taps a student’s ability to answer questions about orally presented short passages and stories. Performance within this domain can offer data about a student’s auditory processing skills and listening comprehension skills, which are crucial in reading comprehension skill development. It can also provide important information about the child’s ability to learn in the absence of print.  


In addition to the areas noted above, examiners can choose to assess a student’s understanding of the features of standard English print concepts while looking at a picture book via the Print Concepts subdomain. A student’s understanding of basic print concepts is crucial for them to develop later reading skills. This subdomain provides comparison data that an examiner can use to determine if a child’s early reading difficulties are due to primary deficits, cognitive correlates, or weaknesses in conventional understanding of how to utilize a text.  

Looking for more ways the BEAS can diversify and strengthen your assessment toolkit? Read our other BEAS blogs, "Beyond BDI-3: Introducing the Battelle Early Academic Survey (BEAS)" and "Beyond BDI-3: Using the BEAS to Screen for Dyscalculia," for more information on this BDI-3 addition.


Introducing BEAS  The BEAS & Dyscalculia

Recommended Articles:

Submit a Comment

Subscribe to our newsletter

Click here to subscribe

Stay up to date