CHIPS | Early Literacy Screener
CHIPS | Early Literacy Screener
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CHIPS | Early Literacy Screener

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The Check How I Process Screener (CHIPS) is an informal, evidence-based screener that examines a child’s pre-literacy skills.


CHIPS assesses the four processing skills known to impact on early literacy development. Screening results obtained may assist with early detection of literacy challenges in beginner readers, and provide greater understanding of the processing difficulties struggling readers face. Screening time is approximately 15 minutes per child. 

This FREE screener is available as a digital download.

NOTE to education department staff: If you find filters are blocking the download, please email support so it can be resent.

Identifying and supporting students with specific strategies in the early years will prevent children with less mature skills from falling behind, and will provide the crucial intervention needed for children at-risk of developmental dyslexia. 

Latest research confirms that with early identification and targeted intervention you can change the trajectory of a child’s life. Intervention during Year 1 is three times more effective than in Year 3 and twice as effective as Year 2*.

What does CHIPS assess?

Reading researchers** have identified four cognitive processing skills that can predict a child’s ability to learn to read. These include:

  • Phonological Awareness (PA)
  • Letter-Sound Knowledge (LSK)
  • Phonological Working Memory (PM)
  • Rapid Automatic Naming (RAN)

The number and severity of a child’s processing weaknesses will affect their reading accuracy, reading fluency, or both. These difficulties, in turn, can affect a child’s reading comprehension.

Why is CHIPS different?

Most literacy screeners focus on the phonic skills related to reading accuracy (PA and LSK). However, the impact weak PM and RAN has on early literacy is significant. Many children who ‘fail to start’ and ‘fail to respond’ to reading instruction show these underlying deficits. Screening all four areas gives you a clearer picture of the complexity and severity of each child’s reading risk profile.

Is CHIPS normed?

No. CHIPS is an informal screening procedure to help you flag children at risk of reading difficulties. It is not to be used for identification or diagnostic purposes.

If this screener does not address your concerns, formal screening using standardised tests is recommended.

Who is CHIPS suitable for?

Children starting school
CHIPS (School Entry Form) should be used on entry to formal schooling (Terms 1 & 2. This form screens pre-reading measures known to affect literacy development and will help you identify at-risk children.

5-6 year olds
CHIPS (Form: 5 & 6 Year Olds) can be used as an early literacy screener for children during the first two years of school once some formal literacy instruction has been provided. This form screens cognitive processing skills and early phonic skills.

7–8 year olds
CHIPS (Form: 7 & 8 Year Olds) can be used to review processing skills and phonic skills in children who have responded poorly to literacy instruction. Use screening results to guide your intervention.

What you will receive:

This is a digital product. Upon ordering you will be able to instantly download a screener pack containing all three screeners. Content include: 

  • CHIP Screener Overview
    which includes detailed instructions on how to administer the screener and analyse the results
  • CHIPS Score Sheet
  • CHIPS Student Reading Sheet
  • CHIPS Student Writing Sheet
  • CHIPS Student Reading Digital Booklet

You are authorised to print unlimited copies of CHIPS for personal use, or professional use across an educational institution, learning support division or tutoring service. You are not authorised to share the digital file.

Placing students in the Read3 program

CHIPS is directly linked to the Read3 program, a literacy intervention that uniquely supports all four processing areas. Guidance as to where to start a child on Read3 is included in the CHIP Screener.

* Vaughn, S., & Fletcher, J.M. (2021). Identifying & teaching students with significant reading problems. American Educator, Winter 2020–21 1-11.

** Ozernov-Palchik O, Norton ES, Sideridis G, Beach SD, Wolf M, Gabrieli JDE and Gaab N.(2017) Longitudinal stability of pre-reading skill profiles of kindergarten children: implications for early screening and theories of reading. Developmental Science 2017 Sep: 20(5).