Using the Canadian Adult Reading Assessment (CARA)

The Canadian Adult Reading Assessment (CARA) is the most commonly used assessment tool by literacy practitioners across Canada. It’s an informal reading inventory for adults that helps to assess learners and find the right resources to support them.

Why use CARA?

“We use CARA to provide placement and diagnostic information so that instructors can choose the most effective teaching strategies to support learners,” said Jade Chan, training specialist at Decoda Literacy Solutions and co-editor of The Westcoast Reader newspaper for learners. “CARA can help you identify learners’ capabilities and areas of improvement. For example, we can learn more about their reading patterns, how they perform when they encounter suffixes, prefixes or punctuation.”

Using CARA also helps you determine benchmark levels to record in Community Adult Literacy Program (CALP) reporting.

CARA was developed by Dr. Pat M. Campbell and Florence M. Brokop, M.Ed. Pat is founder of Grass Roots Press, a publishing house that specializes in hi-lo resources for adults. She has over 30 years’ experience in the field of adult basic education and is a Decoda board director.

How to use CARA

The CARA instructor’s manual and student assessment booklet contain 50 passages ranging in readability from grades one to twelve and are grouped into nine levels.

Decoda recently created a digital tool with interactive exercises to administer CARA. This material was previously only available on a CD-ROM included with the instructor’s manual. The contents of the CD-ROM were recently converted to an H5P course for easier accessibility. H5P is a free and open-source content collaboration framework built with educators in mind. Having these materials hosted online not only increases accessibility, but also allows for easy updates to CARA content as it becomes available.

“The online CARA provides accessibility and is a good supplement for CARA administrators to practice on their own,” said Jade.

You can still order hard copies of the instructor manual and student assessment booklets from the Decoda Literacy Library and some public libraries.

To learn how to administer CARA, join Jade for a free, two-part interactive webinar in December!

Canadian Adult Reading Assessment (CARA) Webinar

Wednesdays, December 7 & 14, 2022, 10:00 – 11:30 am

Webinar Description

Assessment helps to ensure that the student’s learning journey continues to be successful. In this workshop, you will learn how to administer and interpret the results from the Canadian Adult Reading Assessment (CARA). This tool provides diagnostic information that will enable you to identify a student’s reading pattern and choose effective teaching strategies. You will also learn how this assessment tool helps you place learners on the Community Adult Literacy Benchmarks.

Presenter Bio

Jade Chan has over ten years of experience in education, including teaching and curriculum planning for students from kindergarten to adults. Previously, Jade worked at Sylvan as a Centre Director. She holds degrees in Linguistics and Education. Jade is a passionate educator who believes that literacy is a key to opening doors for people.

About us

Decoda Literacy Solutions is BC’s provincial literacy organization. We support community-based literacy programs and initiatives in over 400 communities across BC by providing resources, training and funds.

Our work supports children and families, youth, adults, Indigenous and immigrant communities to help build strong individuals, strong families and strong communities.

Related Blog Posts

A message from Margaret, Executive Director

A message from Margaret, Executive Director

Literacy Month raised $45,000 for BC literacy programs

Literacy Month raised $45,000 for BC literacy programs.

Celebrating the power of literacy: Paulina’s story

The Westcoast Reader has a new website and Paulina Mason’s picture is on it! Paulina invited us to share her story about adult literacy – she wants to encourage others …