Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening (PALS) is the state-provided screening tool for Virginia’s Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI). The purpose of the EIRI is to reduce the number of children with reading problems through early diagnosis and immediate intervention. By screening K-3 students, participating school divisions identify struggling readers and receive incentive funds for intervention. All students not meeting the Entry Level benchmark for their grade level must receive intervention services in addition to their regular classroom instruction.

The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is a proactive and preventive screening measure that assists teachers in providing differentiated, targeted instruction to meet your child’s needs. ACPS screens all students PK-5 using the PALS assessment three times throughout the year in order to track student growth. Student summary reports are provided to parents after each testing window - Fall, Midyear and Spring. Parents are encouraged to reach out to the classroom teacher to discuss results and strategies to support a student's learning at home.


Here are some ways PALS scores tell you about your child’s progress to becoming a reader:

1. Look at your child’s Summed Score on the PALS Student Summary Sheet. Now find the Summed Score benchmark. Is your child’s Summed Score above or below the Summed Score benchmark? If your child scored below the Summed Score benchmark, intervention should happen in addition to regular reading and language arts time in the classroom. The extra instruction will focus on helping each child strengthen specific skills s/he needs to become a good reader.

2. Look at your child’s scores for each specific task. Did s/he meet the benchmark for each task? Even if your child met the overall Summed Score benchmark, s/he may need extra help with individual skills. *If the Summary Sheet includes mid-year and/or spring scores, look at the progress your child has made. Compare spring and fall scores. What skills has your child improved on? Has s/he reached or exceeded benchmarks on individual tasks? Which tasks need strengthening?

Reading instruction should be based on your child’s strengths and needs in reading. PALS gives teachers specific information about each student’s level of knowledge and fluency in recognizing letters, identifying letter sounds, oral reading, and spelling patterns so they can design the best instruction possible for each student to grow in reading and spelling.

Parents play a very important role in helping children develop as readers by reading with them, talking about new experiences, and encouraging them to write, spell, and learn. Visit this page for ideas to support literacy development at home.