8.1 Assessing Word Identification and Word Recognition

Learning Intentions

After viewing this module session participants will be able to: 

  • Distinguish between word identification and word recognition
  • Describe the natural confounded that exists in untimed word identification tests
  • Identify the benefits of timed and untimed tests of word-level reading


watch the session below.

*Please see the Transcripts resource folder located in Module 0 for a text copy of the transcript from this video. 


  • Word identification can occur via many routes, some are effortful
  • Word recognition occurs with familiar words and is instant and effortless
  • Word identification subtests confound instant recognition with strategic, effortful word reading
  • At the elementary level, timed tests do a better job of estimating the size of the sight vocabulary than untimed tests

Reflect & Connect

How might the ability to distinguish between word recognition and word identification help you to assess for reading difficulties?