It is now widely acknowledged that early intervention programs should be provided for young students who are experiencing difficulty in learning to read. It is important, therefore, to have efficient ways of identifying students who are most in need of intervention. The aim of this study was to establish preliminary performance benchmarks to identify the bottom 25% of year 1 and year 2 students in NSW schools at two key points in the school year. Students from grades 1 and 2 (n = 335) at two schools nominated as performing at state average levels were assessed on a battery of tests assessing various aspects of reading and related skills at the beginning and in the middle of the school year. Preliminary estimates of benchmarks for determining the bottom quartile of students were thereby obtained together with estimates of average performance at these two points in the school year to serve as performance goals for intervention.