PALS Early Literacy Screener


The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) is a research based screening, diagnostic, and progress monitoring tool. Wisconsin teachers use PALS to identify students at risk of developing reading difficulties, diagnose students' knowledge of literacy fundamentals, monitor progress, and plan instruction that targets students' needs. Student data collected from PALS provides a direct means of matching literacy instruction to specific literacy needs.

For the 2015-16 school year, PALS is required to be administered to all 4-year-old kindergarten to 2nd grade students enrolled in public school districts and charter schools. Schools are also required to report the screening results to the parents or guardian of each student and to provide interventions or remedial reading services to each student that is identified as being at risk of reading difficulty.

PALS has been the required screener for Wisconsin students since the 2012-13 school year when 5-year-old kindergarten students were first required to be screened. For the 2013-14 school year, the requirement to administer PALS was expanded to also include 4-year old kindergarten and first grade students. For the 2014-15 school year, the requirement to administer PALS was expanded to also include second grade students. 

There are three main PALS assessments currently being used in Wisconsin Public Schools:

  • PALS-PreK - Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Preschool measures:
    • Name Writing
    • Alphabet Knowledge
    • Beginning Sound Awareness
    • Print and Word Awareness
    • Rhyme Awareness
    • Nursery Rhyme Awareness​
  • PALS-K - Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for Kindergarten measures:
    • Phonological awareness
    • Alphabet knowledge
    • Knowledge of letter sounds
    • Spelling
    • Concept of Word
    • Word recognition in isolation​
  • PALS 1-3 - Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening for first through third grades. Wisconsin first grade teachers are following the procedures and scoring for first grade.
    • Spelling
    • Word knowledge
    • Letter Sounds
    • Oral Reading in Context
    • Alphabet knowledge (for students who have more basic literacy skills)
    • Phonemic Awareness (for students who have more basic literacy skills)

What's New

Beginning in the 2016-17 school year, each school district will be allowed to select the literacy screener of their choice to administer to each pupil enrolled in 4-year-old kindergarten to 2nd grade. The school district shall ensure that the assessment evaluates whether a pupil possesses phonemic awareness and letter sound knowledge. 

Quick Contacts

PALS Helpdesk
Wisconsin PALS Webpage


DPI Contacts

Duane Dorn
Education Consultant
For questions about this information, contact
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