Data are presented on the development of tests of reading skill for primary school pupils in rural Tanzania. Instruction in these schools is in Kiswahili, a regularly spelled language. Using a translation of a standard reading test, children can read aloud all words once they have learned the sound– letter correspondences, regardless of comprehension. In addition, children can pass traditional comprehension tasks by decoding only some of the words. Three graded tests were developed to test children who had only some letter knowledge, could read single words, or were proficient readers. The tests required children both to decode and to understand the reading material in order to achieve high scores. The tests correlated well with scores on other educational achievement tests and showed age and school grade differences. It is suggested that these tests are useful measures of reading development in a regularly spelled language. Their adaptation to English and validation against standardized instruments are planned.
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