Children entering kindergarten or first grade are expected to have sufficient knowledge of vocabulary, phonological awareness, and print knowledge. The Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) is a theoretically sound instrument designed to identify preschoolers who are at risk for literacy problems, making early intervention possible.
TOPEL is easily administered by early childhood educators, special educators, psychologists, diagnosticians, and other professionals who are interested in examining skills related to early literacy. TOPEL also provides valid and reliable raw scores, standard scores, and percentiles. The normative sample consists of 842 preschool-aged children (3 to 5 years), residing in 12 states.
TOPEL has three principle uses:
- Identification: Results from the TOPEL subtests are useful for documenting a child's print, oral vocabulary, and phonological awareness ability
- Documentation of Progress: Federal statutes, state laws, and/or school district policies at times require documentation of progress
- Research: Educators can use this instrument to determine intervention-related change or to select students for research participation
TOPEL has three subtests, the results of which are combined to determine the "Composite Score" that ultimately best represents a child's emergent literacy skills:
- Subtest 1: Print Knowledge 36 items; measures alphabet knowledge and early knowledge about written language conventions and form; the child is asked to identify letters and written words, point to specific letters, names specific letters, identify letters associated with specific sounds, and say the sounds associated with specific letters.
- Subtest 2: Definitional Vocabulary 35 items; measures single-word oral vocabulary and definitional vocabulary (assesses both surface and deep vocabulary knowledge); the child is shown a picture and asked to tell what the picture is, and to describe one of its important features.
- Subtest 3: Phonological Awareness 27 items; measures word elision and blending abilities; the child is asked to say a word, then say what is left after dropping out specific sounds (elision) for the first 12 items; the child is asked to listen to separate sounds and combine them to form a word (blending) for the remaining 15.