What do science, math, and English all have in common? Reading. Reading test prep is vital when you are getting your students ready for state testing. Therefore, having reading test prep time is very important to the success of your students during test season. How can you prepare your students for reading on all levels of the state test? Here are five tips to help guide you on your testing journey.
Tip #1: Vary Your Reading
Because students are going to be reading across the curriculum, you want to make sure your students are well versed in the type of reading they will have to do on the test. When preparing students for the test, you want to make sure you have them read fiction and nonfiction texts. While you are preparing students through guided reading exercises, during time in centers, and more, have them use reading response sheets to get their thoughts out on paper.
Tip #2: Test Prep Fun!
Another way to get students into reading is to use a game like Squares Your Brain. Having students practice a skill in a fun way, will help solidify the skill because it is associated with a positive memory. In addition, it will also help them practice reading at a variety of levels which will help the with reading test prep.
Tip #3: Write It Out
Part of reading test prep is to have students write as well. Often times on the state tests, students need to fill out various short answer questions and therefore having the ability to interpret the question about write about it is really important. A great way to help students with this skill is with some expository writing. Expository writing is usually very quick and can be a “on demand” like activity. The other nice part of expository writing is it typically has a time limit. Therefore, it can mirror how the test might feel for students.
Tip #4: Use Your Centers for Reading Test Prep
A great way to work on a variety of reading strategies is to use your literacy centers to your advantage. In centers, you can focus on one specific skill in each center which combined will make stronger readers. You can have your students work on phonics, close readings, vocabulary and more! Keep in mind, it will be important to tie all of these skills together, but it will be very beneficial to have the basic skills completely mastered before you put it all together.
Tip #5: Guided Reading
Finally, one of the best ways to get your reading test prep going is to guide your students through what it can look like. Guided reading is always important, but it is especially important when getting students ready for testing because you are showing them how good readers read! Having this guidance will help them transfer it onto the test. You can use guided reading in your centers, in small groups, or with individuals. You can even have students get in pairs and work on guided reading exercises together.
Testing season is always a tough time, but it can be made easier by breaking down test prep by subject and focusing in on the most important skills. No matter what, know that you are doing everything you can to help your students be successful and the scores, while they are important, don’t define you.