Select a self-contained passage of a length appropriate for the grade level of the students being assessed. Use materials easily read by the students.
Leave the first and last sentences and all punctuation intact.
Carefully select the words for omission using a word-count formula, such as every fifth word or other criteria. To assess students' knowledge of the topic or their abilities to use semantic cues, delete content words which carry meaning, such as nouns, main verbs, adjectives and adverbs. To assess students' use of syntactic cues, delete some conjunctions, prepositions and auxiliary words.
When preparing the final draft of the passage, make all blanks of equal length to avoid including visual clues about the lengths of omitted words. Have the students read the entire passage before they fill in the blanks. Although there should be no time limit for this exercise, the time necessary for completion should be noted.
Just as ____________have fur, birds have ____________.
(coats, animals) (feathers, wings)
Example 2: When learners have used the technique described above and can replace the appropriate words from the choices supplied, provide passages in which every fifth word or every tenth word is arbitrarily deleted and only a letter or two of the correct word is available, perhaps a beginning consonant or consonant blend:
With the price of f______ going up all the t______, more people are trying t___ raise some of their f_____ in their own back y______.
Instead of grass,
you _______ rows of lettuce, tomatoes, ________ beans lining the fences
_______ in thebiggest city.
© 2004 Saskatoon Public Schools, Inc.