Reading self-assessment

Reading is the ability to understand text written in sentences or paragraphs. Strong reading skills are essential to being able to learn and find information quickly and easily. Complete this self-assessment to help you understand your reading strengths and areas for improvement.


  1. Read each statement in Section 1 and place a check mark in the column that best describes how well you can complete that task. Tip: Think about your work and life experiences.
  2. Review your response for each task. If you have checked five or more in the “Somewhat” and/or “No” columns, you may want to consider upgrading your reading skills.
  3. Complete Section 2 to identify your training needs.

Section 1: Self-assessment

Section 1: Self-assessment
I can... Yes Somewhat No
Read and understand familiar names, words and simple sentences.      
Scan a short document, such as an email, memo or bulletin, and understand its meaning.      
Read and follow directions on a product label (e.g. on a prescription bottle).      
Read a paragraph to find a key piece of information.      
Read a catalogue to learn basic product information.      
Read and correctly follow written instructions (such as a recipe or job assignment).      
Read a product warning label and understand how to handle the product safely.      
Read several short documents, such as brochures or newspaper articles, to find new information (e.g. reading about a travel destination before a trip).      
Read and understand formal documents, such as a credit card agreement, employment contract or insurance policy.      
Refer to several resources, such as handbooks and manuals, to use a new piece of equipment (e.g. fax machine, printer, cellular telephone, dishwasher).      
Read a newspaper editorial and understand the issue.      
Refer to a variety of documents to compare information (e.g. product specifications, features and costs of different models of digital cameras).      
Refer to appropriate resources, such as policy or procedural manuals, when dealing with unfamiliar or unusual problems at work.      

Section 2: Personal development

Completing this section will help you make informed training decisions.

  • Look at the “Yes” column in Section 1 to identify your reading strengths, and record them below.
  • Look at the “Somewhat” and/or “No” columns in Section 1 to identify the areas that you need to develop or strengthen, and record them below.

Reading strengths

I am confident that I can…

E.g. read and follow directions on a product label.

1.  ______________________________________________________

2.  ______________________________________________________

3.  ______________________________________________________

Tip: Consider using your strengths to help a colleague, friend or family member improve their reading skills.

Areas for improvement

I would like to improve my ability to…

E.g. refer to a variety of documents to compare information.

1.  ______________________________________________________

2.  ______________________________________________________

3.  ______________________________________________________

Tip: When developing your training plan, focus on improving one or two reading areas at a time.


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