Background Information on the GRTR Screening Tool

The development of the Get Ready to Read screening tool was led by Grover J. Whitehurst, Ph.D. who is now Director of the Institute of Educational Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Christopher Lonigan, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology at Florida State University, conducted the field tests for the tool. Other members of the development team include:

  • Jack Fletcher, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Texas, Houston
  • Victoria Molfese, Ph.D., Director, Early Childhood Research Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
  • Joseph Torgesen, Ph.D., Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology & Education, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Dr. Whitehurst has been researching developing language skills in children for more than 30 years. His research identifies two types of skills in young children. One type, called "inside-out skills," relates to specific abilities needed to read, such as knowing the names of letters of the alphabet and what sounds letters make. The other type, the "outside-in skills," include vocabulary and knowledge of the outside world, the skills that lead to a child's capacity to understand.

Both sets of skills need to be developed at the preschool level, according to Dr. Whitehurst. "If the child is low in either type of skill, in either area, that child is at risk of serious reading problems," he says. "Children who have problems early continue to have problems -- it's a vicious cycle, and it just gets worse and worse. My emphasis is to prevent problems -- to make sure these children have the skills they need before they get to elementary school so problems don't develop."

The screening tool focuses on the inside-out skills in three areas: print knowledge, emergent writing, and linguistic awareness. By pointing to pictures in a series of questions, children can demonstrate skills in these areas.

"There's a developmental sequence we're identifying," Dr. Whitehurst points out. "Any problems that emerge will signal a need for parents to seek help, and possibly a professional consultation. In turn, parents can use the results to lobby for their preschool to do a better job of teaching reading. We want to empower parents to do more for their children."

The following downloadable publications provide additional background information on the Get Ready to Read! screening tool:


Suggested Tip!

Be Ready for Reading

Bring a book to your child’s next doctor’s appointment to ease the wait.  And, leave a book where you keep your reusable shopping bags to make the shopping cart a rolling reading room
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