Sunday, May 5, 2013

Thinking through Reading Tests~FINALLY!

 My test prep product is finally ready to share. I have created a "Test-Prep" Minilessons Bulletin Board that I use to review strategies for reading comprehension that I have taught students all year long. This board allows me to move from what students KNOW about reading in general to how that applies to reading for a reading test.

This method considers “test prep passages” as another reading genre that students develop an understanding of how the test/passages are designed. (I’m sure you have done this all year with poetry, nonfiction, realistic fiction, science fiction, fantasy, opinion-based articles, etc.) Together, you and your students discover how a test is put together AND how what you have taught them to do all year as intelligent readers still applies in the setting of “test reading.”
My version of Question-Answer-Relationship is based off of the types of questions on our Reading EOG. All questions can be classified as "Right There"/"There and There," "Inferencing," "Overalls," and "Apply Prior Knowledge." Once studnets realize what question type they are working with, they can then go about the appropriate steps to figure out the right answer. I love these four types because it helps me remind my students that there are questions that ARE NOT directly answered by the text. The test will require them to THINK (at least a little) for themselves and use the knowledge they have learned.
I use a 4 step method to help students when they are finally answering questions. (WE do ALOT of work before we ever touch the questions!) I guide them through learning how to reword the questions (when necessary), mark out the obviously wrong answer (or 2), collect clues for the other answer choices, then make an educated decision (not a guess!) based on the information they have collected. Students are also required to write evidence (for or against) for each of the 4 answer choices. By the time they do this, they have typically figured out the right answer. You may decide to only use one of these questioning strategies (as I have in the past).

We are still in the beginning stages of our test prep because I know what my kiddos were capable of last year. We are still reading our independent books and I am conferring with students during our independent time. I'm sure we will dabble in reading and answering some of the passages this week, but I didn't want to get them started to soon (as 5th graders) and then have them burn out closer and closer to the test. Our first few lessons this week will be analyzing the types of questions they will be asked and talking about how we should think to answer those types of questions. I have typed up all of the Reading EOG questions from 3rd-8th grades for a student sorting lesson. This is included in the test prep download, but I have also uploaded it as a freebie (since I didn't write the questions myself, but made the sort so that we could use the questions in a different way). You may want to check out the grade levels before and after you as you work with students. I was uber surprised that 5th grade had no text-based features types of questions (we have NO NO NO graphics in our released set at all), but looking at 3rd or 4th (can't remember), they did have some text-feature based questions. Of course, I don't want my kiddos to be surprised by anything.

Although I am preparing my students for testing (3 weeks away), I have lived by this ALL (of-my-teaching-career) YEAR!
Sorry if this post is choppy or less-than-explained! But, I spent almost~the~whole~day trying to get this product together (and ready for me to use this week!) so I really wanted to get it shared with you all!


  1. Hi~I'm Brandee and I just added your test prep to my wishlist. I'll have time for some shopping this afternoon. ;) Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. :)
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  2. Yay Brandee! Thanks for letting me know. I can't wait to see what you think about it. Also, stop by later today as I am blogging about the questioning lessons we are doing this week with a few student work pictures. (I also am trying to find the time to go through the paid product and add numbers to all of the question sorts so that they are easier to discuss with students in class. I will try my best to get that done today and re-upload). Thanks for stopping by!



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