I am very passionate about teaching in meaningful and lasting ways all year, K? I’m anti-skill-drill! I think it’s smart to take some time out to really dig in and show students how to take all of that wonderful knowledge and show what they know on a test. I believe in creating “test-ready readers!”
Actually, Yeah…I Teach to the Test!
Confession…I totally teach to the test…
BUT ONLY WITHIN A SHORT (very short) UNIT OF STUDY!
Here are a few tips that might be helpful in becoming a test-ready reader.
1. Immerse your readers in a packet of reading passages from years past.
Lots of states will release items from past tests for studying purposes. Google your state test and the year…you’ll probably be able to locate them. If not, search for good reading passages that vary in genre and format. Pay attention to the questions that you choose to go in your packet. Make sure to include all of the tricky-worded problems that those test makers love so much! Study them with your students. Look for commonalities!
3. Focused Exit Slips
We teach hard, don’t we? How frustrated we feel when it doesn’t show on the test! One way to make sure that amazing work gets translated into successful testing is to show the same work in testing format. Focused exit slips are GREAT for this! If we are intentional about using an exit slip to word our teaching points with some testing language, then they will get “test prep” in tiny doses every day.
Here is what I mean…
4. Be explicit about what the test really is.
Teach them to be real readers, writers, and thinkers in our daily lessons and then dedicate a period of time to shifting what they’ve learned into test-taking skills. I think a lot of students are being skill-drilled every day in school because the teacher wants them to pass but we are dealing with two different skill sets here. Just because a reader does well in class doesn’t always automatically translate into good testing scores. Plus, if they are skill-drilled daily and they think that that is what learning looks like, they may not take it seriously. But if there is a noticeable difference in instruction, they might be more likely to wake up and get the job done!
I have created a resource that might help! This unit is dedicated to turning your students into test-ready readers! Check it out by clicking below.