Assessment of Phonological Awareness and Reading

Version 1.16


The APAR was designed to assess the Phonological Awareness (PA) and reading skills of adult participants in the project Web Access for Literacy Development in Individuals with Disability, funded through AccessAbility, Department of Communications Information Technology and the Arts.

The participants in this project had physical and/or intellectual disability. Our aim was to create an assessment tool that was based on information in the literature assessing PA and text reading at the word, sentence and paragraph levels. The test was created to avoid spoken responses, since many of our participants were nonspeaking. In addition, we wanted a tool that could be administered to individuals despite their methods of communication or computer/communication system access methods.

The APAR has been administered to 40 participants using a system in which stimuli were presented on a clear Perspex sheet, with the examiner on one side and the participant on the other. The examiner presented stimuli on the Perspex and the participant indicated his/her response by looking at the chosen item.


The APAR was devised and designed by Teresa Iacono from the Centre for Developmental Disability Health Victoria, and Linda Cupples, Dept of Linguistics, Macquarie University. [An abstract and downloadable PDF copy of the published paper is at www.elr.com.au/links/CXHSR]

Iacono, T. and Cupples, L. (2004) Assessment of Phonemic Awareness and Word Reading Skills of People With Complex Communication Needs. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 47, 2 p 437-449.

The APAR Website was prepared by Rob Seiler (support@elr.com.au), graphics by Anna Breakell, and is hosted and supported by ELR Software, authors of eLr - Extra Language Resources.

Free Downloads

Print ready materials in PDF format Computerised version
Recommended for accurate production of printed APAR Instructions, Scoresheets and Stimulus Cards. No longer available!
PDF file
(approx 15.4 MB)
Compressed PDF file
(approx 15.0 MB)

Instructions and Test materials

Instructions are presented here as though participants will use eye-gaze. Examiners may find that other response options are more suitable (eg pointing). In addition, for people with speech, spoken responses will provide added information and should be noted by examiners.

  1. Reading Tests
    1. Reading Real Words
    2. Reading Non-Words
    3. Comprehension of Written Words
    4. Comprehension of Written Sentences
    5. Comprehension of Written Texts

  2. Phonological Awareness Tests
    1. Blending Real Words
    2. Blending Non-Words
    3. Phoneme Counting - Adults
    4. Phoneme Counting - Children
    5. Phoneme Analysis

  3. Listening Comprehension Tests
    Vocabulary, sentence and text listening comprehension tests are administered because of the close relationship between these skills and the ability to read. Comparison of these tests with the tests of Reading and Phonological Awareness will help to determine specific problems in reading and those that may be associated with a language or general cognitive problem.
    1. Vocabulary
      Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III). By L.M Dunn, & L.M. Dunn.
    2. Sentence Plausibility
    3. Grammaticality Judgements
    4. Comprehension of Text

© 2000-2021

APAR is free software; you may use, redistribute and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version. This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details. www.fsf.org/home.html