Simple and Engaging Reading Test Prep for Elementary Activities

As much as it pains me to say it, testing season is upon us. While no one in the classroom (students or teachers) enjoys testing season, it comes every single year. Therefore, we need to embrace it and find meaningful ways to prepare our students that keeps them engaged. Reading is a huge part of all testing which is why reading test prep for elementary students is so important. You can prepare your students for testing by using some of my favorite activities. 

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Using Centers for Reading Test Prep for Elementary

Literacy centers are one of the best ways that you can prepare your students for testing! Why? It is already a standard practice in your classroom. If you have been using centers this year, your students are already familiar with the framework and expectations that you have during center time. Plus, centers are made for what reading test prep really is: review! 


When you are doing reading test prep in elementary using centers, you can have students work on their own to show individual understanding. However, students can work in small groups or teams that are grouped in a way that is beneficial to the students. You can learn more about grouping students by checking out this blog post! Finally, if you have several students struggling with one concept, you can always do a whole group discussion. 

The Volume 2 centers available at Farrah Henley Education are perfect for test prep because there are no holiday themes! Therefore, your students won’t be hung up on the holiday design of a center you might find in Volume 1. Plus, with Volume 2 centers, there is a table of contents that helps you find which center activities cover which standard. This makes it so easy for reading test prep because you can find what your students are struggling on without searching for hours! 

Challenge Students to Reading Response Activities 

Something that students are always going to be asked to do on testing is respond to a text. Now, keep in mind the kind of text they are going to have to respond to is going to vary! Therefore, it’s so important to show your students all types of texts! For example, you can blend social studies and reading into a literacy center.


When you do this, you always want to make sure you are focusing on a specific skill. Skills you might want to focus on in social studies might be the main idea and key details. For fictional reading, you might want your students to focus on characters and character development. Whatever you have them focus on, make sure it is specific and something you have worked on before. You can use reading response sheets for reading test prep in elementary to help focus your students on one key skill. 

Get a Close Relationship with Close Readings 

Close readings are looking at a text closely by reading it three different times. Typically, each time you read it will be for a different reason. The first time students read is for comprehension, the second for style and structure, and the final time for theme, central idea, and other literary concepts. 

When you do a close reading, you want to be incredibly specific with what your students are reading for so using reading response sheets can be appropriate at this time too. Students can do close readings in small groups or as a whole class. If you do your close reading in small groups at centers that are teacher led or as a whole group, doing a guided reading activity can be very effective! Plus, students love seeing you get excited and point things out especially if you are having fun and are animated! 


One thing that can be difficult and frustrating when it comes time to do some reading test prep in elementary with close readings are all of the levels students might be at. There is never a time in the classroom where all of your students are all at the same level, which is why differentiation is so important. To make this simpler for you, you can use these differentiated reading passages for your close readings! 

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Whether you love or hate testing season, it is something that we can’t avoid. So, instead of being frustrated and dredging through drill and kill lessons, use fun activities with your students to review and enhance on the ideas your students know about! By using centers, reading response sheets, and close readings, your students will be ready for those reading tests! 

Until Next Time…

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