No matter how you may feel about tests … right now that is something students do.
The suggestions I am going to share below are not tied to specific test practice.
I am a firm believer that if students have good content knowledge and thinking strategies, they will do well.
And what is better than developing good readers while helping encourage good test taking?
Here are some suggestions I found in Strategies That Works by Harvey and Goudis:
- Build in lots of time every day for kids to read … just read!
- Teach comprehension strategies
- Flood the room with nonfiction
- Teach the elements and features of a particular genre
- Teach signal words
Those 5 suggestions don’t really look like the test-taking strategies that are so common in many classrooms ….
What are ways you are already doing these things in class?
What are ways you could use reading materials to help with these 5 strategies?
- There are lots and lots of things for children to read in libraries … brick and mortar as well as virtual! You can search for topics, titles, authors, keywords, publishers, and interests!
- The best way to teach comprehensions strategies is to introduce, practice, and review them as you read … and you can do lthis with ots of reading!
- I don’t think you can do a search for books without seeing titles of nonfiction books! Most of the nonfiction books in my class library would have fallen into the “boring book” category, but that is not the case! You can even search for fiction and nonfiction books that go together!
- One of the activities I often did at the beginning of the school year in my classroom was to have students help me organize my classroom library. We would talk about elements and features of specific genres as we worked together to decide how to categorize the books. What if you did a scavenger hunt challenging students to find examples of books they would put in certain genres?
- No matter what kind of reading one does, real reading or test reading, signal words are important since they tell the reader when to really pay attention to what is getting ready to happen. Point them out as you share books. You could create a class list and then allow students to add to the list when they encounter signal words when they read!
Let’s all work to help our students become better readers and thinkers using whatever materials we have!
And strengthening reading and thinking will help with tests too …