Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Metric

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)


Access: FREE/Open Access

evaluation focus

Early Literacy and Reading Skills

applicable ages

Grades: K-8

available language(s)



FREE somewhere else


The Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIEBELS®) is an instrument that can be used to measure literacy and reading skills acquisition. It is comprised of multiple, short, fluency measures that allow educators to monitor development and identify risks in these domains. Subtests predict later reading proficiency and later reading development.


Current Subtests:

  • Letter-naming fluency (LNF)
  • Phonemic segmentation fluency (PSF)
  • Nonsense word fluency (NWF)
  • Word reading fluency (WRF)


Discontinued Subtests:

  • First sound fluency (FSF)
  • Initial sound fluency (ISF)
  • Word use fluency (WUF)
  • Retell fluency (RTF)

Total Time: one minute per fluency measure


Reliability: acceptable on test-retest, alternate forms, and inter-rater (Kaminski 1996)

Validity: demonstrated criterion-related validity (Hintze 2003)


Source: https://dibels.uoregon.edu/about-dibels

supporting literature

Nelson, J.M. (2008) Beyond Correlational Analysis of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): A Classification Validity Study. School Psychology Quarterly, 23(4), 542-552.
PDF: DIBELS – 1 – Nelson 2008
Link: https://psycnet.apa.org/buy/2008-17775-007

Hagans, K.S. (2008) A Response-to-Intervention Approach to Decreasing Early Literacy Differences in First Graders from Different Socioeconomic Backgrounds: Evidence for the Intervention Validity of the DIBELS. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 34(1), 35-42.
PDF: DIBELS – 2 – Hagans 2008
Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1534508408314170?journalCode=aeib

Binder, K.S., Snyder, M.A., Ardoin, S.P., Morris, R.K. (2011) Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills: An Effective Tool to Assess Adult Literacy Students? Adult Basic Education & Literacy Journal, 5(3), 150-161.
PDF: DIBELS – 3 – Binder 2011
Link: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ951350

Hintze, J.M., Ryan, A.L., Stoner, G. (2003). Concurrent Validity and Diagnostic Accuracy of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills and the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing. School Psychology Review, 32, 541–556.
Link: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2004-10148-007

Kaminski, R.A., Good, R.H. (1996). Toward a Technology for Assessing Basic Early Literacy Skills. School Psychology Review, 25, 215–227.
Link: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1996-00658-006