Test prep is really a necessary evil this time of year. I feel like kids deserve to be familiar with the format, but we also need to avoid beating them over the head with reading test practice and passages before they even get to test day. Here are some easy ways to freshen up your reading test practice without spending hours on prep.
Reading Test Practice Idea #1: Try Scoot
Cut apart the questions for a passage and place them around the room. Give students the passage and 5-10 minutes to really read and study it…then play scoot. Students bring their passage around with them to find evidence while they answer passage questions. Give students a minute or two at each question before they scoot to the next question. Students can record their answers on a note card or in their reading journals. It is an easy way to build movement and breaks into passage practice.
Why it works: Research shows movement is important for supporting focus. This technique allows students to focus in short bursts and have frequent breaks.
Reading Test Practice Idea #2: Pick the Worst Answer
Process of elimination is a huge part of helping kids who struggle to pick between multiple choice answers. Make it fun by having students vote for which answer would be the worst choice to select. It is a sneaky way to build in practice for eliminating answers and being mindful of all four options on multiple choice. Be sure to have them defend their answer!
Why it works: This strategy helps students practice analyzing the answers and eliminate the wrong ones. It gives them an opportunity to think about what would make sense.
Reading Test Practice Idea #3: Color by Number
Something about a marker makes everything more fun. Bust out the markers and let kids color-code their questions and evidence. I like to assign each question a color so I can more quickly and easily check their work because the colors all match up.
Why it works: This strategy supports visual learners by using color to help them categorize and support their answer choices.
Reading Test Practice Idea #4: Reverse it
Give students the questions without a passage. Have them use their inferring skills to determine what they think the passage is about. This is especially good for nonfiction passages, where students can bring in their prior knowledge. When you’ve discussed and made a list as a class, brainstorm what you already know about the topic. Finally, give the kids the passage and read it to determine if their inferences were correct.
Why it works: Students need to practice their inferring skills while reading the questions. It also builds their familiarity with the topic before reading so as they read the passage it triggers their memory of the questions.
Reading Test Practice Idea #2: Bring in Technology
I love Kahoot! for reading passage practice. The kids all get the passage and read it in a small group, partners, or on their own. I type the questions into Kahoot! and the kids answer using their device. I have their scores quickly and easily, which is an added bonus for me. If you haven’t been using Kahoot, check out the quick tutorial here.
Why it works: Immediate feedback has been shown to have a big impact on correcting misconceptions and improving student understanding. This type of practice allows for personalized feedback after every question. It also makes learning fun!
This time of year it can be so easy for test prep to become stale and boring. These 5 simple tricks have kept it fun and fresh in my class, but I still have a chance to familiarize my students with the testing format. This is especially important because it is their first year testing.
Got any other suggestions for me? I always love to try new things so leave them in the comments!!
I hope this article gave you some new ideas as you get your students ready for the reading tests coming up this spring. If you’d like more ideas from The Third Wheel, be sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram to keep up to date and on the latest tips, tools, and freebies for your classroom.