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Eight Informal Reading Inventories


This article reviews the strengths, weaknesses, and unique characteristics of the current informal reading inventories (IRIs) available to classroom teachers and other reading specialists. More specifically, the author seeks to identify various issues underlying the use of the selected IRIs to give teachers and other professionals in the education sector the chance to choose inventories that meet their needs (Nilsson, 2008). Accordingly, the author explores eight IRIs published since 2002, which include the Basic Reading Inventory (BRI), Analytical Reading Inventory (ARI), Classroom Reading Inventory (CRI-SW), and Bader Reading and Language Inventory (BRLI). The other inventories reviewed in this article include the Qualitative Reading Inventory-4 (QRI-4), Comprehensive Reading Inventory (CRI-CFC), The Critical Reading Inventory (CRI-2), and Informal Reading Inventory (IRI-BR) (Nilsson, 2008, p. 527).

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The author of this article is a classroom teacher and university professor who has enough background information on the topic under review. This implies that the arguments provided in the article are relevant and well balanced. Besides, the author relies on previous empirical research to provide background for the review and to support the arguments provided. Another strong point regarding this article is that the author provides a rationale for selecting the IRIs reviewed because the objective was to analyze IRIs developed after the implementation of federal guidelines on reading instructional assessments. Moreover, the author employs an appropriate research methodology to provide systematic data collection and cross-comparisons of different aspects of the selected IRIs. The addition of another person’s interpretation to check for interrater reliability further strengthens the accuracy of the findings. Furthermore, the author provides the results in a way that allows the readers to compare and contrast the current findings and the results of previous studies. Ultimately, the article meets the minimum standards of a critical review.

Nonetheless, the article has several limitations, particularly in relation to the selection of IRIs and the presentation of the findings. Note that the author selects eight IRIs published after 2002 and eliminates older ones. This means that the readers may not get the opportunity to compare the effectiveness of the current IRIs against historically significant IRIs in meeting specific educational needs. On the other hand, the author provides findings and discussions in the same section. This makes it difficult for readers to differentiate between the current findings and the results of previous studies. Furthermore, the article does not offer conclusive remarks on how the target audience will undertake the process of selecting the most relevant IRIs to meet the needs of the critical areas of reading instruction.


It is every teacher’s wish to evaluate the reading and other educational needs of their students to enhance the delivery of instructions and performance. However, it is not always easy for teachers and other education professionals to access diagnostic assessment tools that evaluate the whole range of student abilities and weaknesses. Hence, this article is very useful to teachers, reading specialists, and other professionals in the education sector because it provides important insights into the issues surrounding the use of IRIs.

Prior to reading this article, I had limited knowledge of the key issues regarding the use of different IRIs as well as the effectiveness of inventories in assessing the critical areas of reading instruction. However, after analyzing the findings and arguments provided in the article, I am more enlightened in regards to the most effective ways of administering the available IRIs to evaluate the reading abilities and weaknesses of my students. Moreover, I will be more than willing to recommend this article to some of my colleagues because of its useful and academically relevant information.


Nilsson, N. L. (2008). A critical analysis of eight informal reading inventories. The Reading Teacher, 67 (7), 526-536.

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