IRLA/ENIL Overview

K-12 Assessment & Instruction in English & Spanish

American Reading Company's Independent Reading Level Assessment is a game-changing formative assessment for reading that changes the daily behaviors of teachers, students, and administrators.

The IRLA is one tool that works with every student, at every reading level, K–12, in English and Spanish. The IRLA delivers specific and actionable data that tells the teacher where a student is, why, and the sequence of skills/behaviors she needs to learn next to accelerate her reading growth.

Available for Common Core State Standards, Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, and Virginia Standards of Learning.


Grade 1 Demo

Grade 8 Demo

Spanish Grade 1 Demo

Introducing the Guide to IRLA Coaching with
Multilingual Learners

A companion to the IRLA that is designed to provide teachers with specific guidance around using the IRLA with Multilingual Learners.

This guide builds from what teachers know about formative assessment and coaching using the IRLA. It is organized to provide high-leverage Power Goals specific to students who are developing reading skills as they acquire English language proficiency, and vice-versa.


How It Works

The IRLA is not intended to limit what students read. Rather, the IRLA's reading taxonomy simplifies the complexity of the reading process, allowing teachers to support every reader, with whatever books that reader chooses. As one user said, "the IRLA takes the mystery out of teaching reading."

Our approach asks teachers to start with what each child CAN do. Teachers identify the one essential skill/standard that student needs to move reading levels, help him learn it, and repeat in a relentless march toward grade level and beyond. Teachers know their students, students know themselves, and teachers and students are partners in the learning process.

The IRLA allows you to track progress in real time. Each standard has been assigned a point value relative to the amount of time it should take a student to acquire that skill or concept. In each formative assessment conference, teachers score students on any standards they have mastered, allowing teachers and schools to track rate of reading growth for every student.

We've spent the last 20 years evaluating virtually every book in print from every publisher. To determine reading level, every book is double-blind hand-leveled using the three legs of text complexity and located on our developmental taxonomy of reading acquisition. Books in every collection wear a brightly colored sticker identifying their placement within the IRLA's color-coded leveling system.

Watch our video to learn more about ARC's leveled libraries.

IRLA Developmental Reading Taxonomy Research Base

The theory of action behind individual IRLA levels, based on independent research.

Summary of the Research Base for the IRLA Sequence of Skills

Why a Structured Phonics Program is Effective

David Liben, Student Achievement Partners, and David D. Paige, Bellarmine University, explore the importance and effectiveness of structured phonics—specifically naming American Reading Company's IRLA and IRLA Toolkits as one of the structured phonics programs that gets it right.

Read the Full Article

Measurement Incorporated Supports Claims of IRLA Effectiveness

In a 2014 study conducted by Measurement Incorporated, an industry leader in delivering research and evaluation services to educational institutions, experts and practitioners alike agree that the IRLA® formative assessment framework does indeed offer a multitude of benefits for students, teachers, parents, and administrators.

Read the Report

IRLA Report Overview: Ten Proven Claims


The IRLA has demonstrated success in more than 5,000 schools, 1,000 districts, and 50 states, including the District of Columbia. Dramatic improvements in reading proficiency are evident in a variety of assessment results, including high-stakes standardized tests.

Check out some of our highlights.

  • Chatfield Elementary School, Chatfield Public Schools, MN
    Students in the bottom 15% of the school in reading went from 18% scoring proficient on the MCA exam to 88%.
  • Clinton Elementary School, Lancaster County School District, SC
    Grade 3 African American males scoring proficient or advanced increased 34 points on PASS ELA exam, outperforming the district and state averages.
  • Cramer College Preparatory Lab School, Camden City Public Schools, NJ
    Over 80% of students exited Kindergarten and first grade above their expected grade-level equivalency on Gates-MacGinitie Assessment.
  • PS/MS 194X, New York City Public Schools, NY
    ELL Proficiency rates doubled from 13% to 33.3% in one year, while the district and city-wide rates dropped.
  • Palm Bay Elementary, Brevard Public Schools, FL
    Percentage of students in “Lowest 25% making learning gains in reading” increased from 56% to 80%.
  • Bristol Township School District, PA
    Bristol Township School District went from 28% proficient to 71.8% proficient from October to June—more than 40 points of growth.
  • Reading School District, PA
    Reading more than quadrupled the number of students proficient or above—going from 8.3% to 36.2%.
  • Three Rivers Elementary, TX
    Three Rivers started with 17.8% of students reading proficiently and ended the year with 55.5% proficient or above—almost 40 points of growth.

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