Early Literacy Research Library (ELRL) - Metric

Preschool Language Scale (PLS)


Access: FREE/Open Access

evaluation focus

Emerging Language and Early Literacy Development

applicable ages

0-95 months; 0-7 years

available language(s)

English and Spanish


Must be purchased


The Preschool Language Scale (PLS) is an instrument that can be used to assess developmental language, including skills that range from preverbal, interaction-based, to emerging language, to early literacy. The PLS-5, the most recent version of the PLS, includes new items for letter naming, new items for book handling, and updated school readiness skills.


2 Scales:

    • Auditory Comprehension (AC)
    • Expressive Communication (EC)

Areas Assessed:


    • Attention: (AC)
        • Attention to the Environment
        • Attention to People
    • Play: (AC)
    • Gesture: (AC & EC)
    • Vocal Development: (EC)
    • Social Communication: (EC)
    • Semantics: (AC & EC)
        • Vocabulary
        • Qualitative Concepts
        • Quantitative Concepts
        • Spatial Concepts
        • Time/Sequence Concepts
    • Language Structure: (AC & EC)
        • Morphology
        • Syntax
    • Integrative Language Skills: (AC & EC)
    • Emergent Literacy Skills: (AC & EC)


Skills Identified:

    • Feeding
    • Language
    • Articulation
    • Connected Speech
    • Social/Interpersonal
    • Communication Skills
    • Stuttering
    • Voice


Administration Format: assessment using pictures and manipulatives

Administration Time: 30-60 minutes


Reliability and Validity: (Lyons 2017)

    • Split-Half Reliabilities: 0.80 – 0.97
    • Total Language Score Sensitivity: 0.83
    • Total Language Score Specificity: 0.80


Available for Purchase: https://www.pearsonassessments.com/store/usassessments/en/Store/Professional-Assessments/Speech-%26-Language/Preschool-Language-Scales-%7C-Fifth-Edition/p/100000233.html


Source: https://www.pearsonassessments.com/store/usassessments/en/Store/Professional-Assessments/Speech-%26-Language/Preschool-Language-Scales-%7C-Fifth-Edition/p/100000233.html

supporting literature

Restrepo, M.A., Silverman, S.W. (2001) Validity of the Spanish Preschool Language Scale-3 for use with Bilingual Children. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 10(4), 382.
PDF: PLS – 1 – Restrepo 2001
Link: https://www.researchconnections.org/childcare/resources/9899#:~:text=Validity%20of%20the%20Spanish%20Preschool%20Language%20Scale-3%20for,37%20children%20aged%204%20to%206%20years%20old

Qi, C.H., Marley, S.C. (2011) Validity Study of the Preschool Language Scale-4 with English-Speaking Hispanic and European American Children in Head Start Programs. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 31(2), 89-98.
PDF: PLS – 2 – Qi 2011
Link: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0271121410391108

Sahli, A.S., Belgin, E.B. (2017) Adaptation, Validity, and Reliability of the Preschool Language Scale-Fifth Edition (PLS-5) in the Turkish Context: The Turkish Preschool Language Scale-5 (TPLS-5). International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 98, 143-149.
PDF: PLS – 3 – Sahli 2017
Link: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165587617302070?via%3Dihub

Lyons, M. (2017) Preschool Language Scale - 5. In: Volkmar, F. (eds) Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Springer.
Link: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-319-91280-6_979