Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL)
Author(s): Christopher J. Lonigan, PhD / Richard K. Wagner, PhD / Joseph K. Torgesen, PhD / Carol A. Rashotte, PhD
Children entering kindergarten or first grade are expected to have a certain level of vocabulary, phonological awareness, and print knowledge to be successful in school. The TOPEL can identify preschoolers who are at risk for literacy problems, allowing early intervention. It is used by early childhood educators, special educators, psychologists, diagnosticians, and other professionals to document a child's print, oral vocabulary, and phonological awareness level; to document progress; and to plan intervention.
The TOPEL has three subtests. All the results of which are then combined to determine the “Composite Score” that ultimately best represents a child’s emergent literacy skills:
Subtest 1: Print Knowledge — 36 items; measures alphabet knowledge and early knowledge about written language conventions and form; the child is asked to identify letters and written words, point to specific letters, names specific letters, identify letters associated with specific sounds, and say the sounds associated with specific letters
Subtest 2: Definitional Vocabulary — 35 items; measures single-word oral vocabulary and definitional vocabulary (assesses both surface and deep vocabulary knowledge); the child is shown a picture and asked to tell what the picture is, and to describe one of its important features
Subtest 3: Phonological Awareness — 27 items; measures word elision and blending abilities; the child is asked to say a word, then say what is left after dropping out specific sounds (elision) for the first 12 items; the child is asked to listen to separate sounds and combine them to form a word (blending) for the remaining 15 items.
Administration and Scoring
The TOPEL can be administered in about 25-30 minutes. The three subtest scores are combined to determine a composite score; standard scores and percentile ranks are also available.