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Your Students Aren’t Ready for the Reading State Test

I’m going to be a little negative to start this episode and say your students probably aren’t ready for the reading state test.

Just hear me out. What is the purpose of the state test? To assess if your students can read? To assess if your students can recall what they read? 

No the purpose of the reading state test is to find out if your students can pass the state test. 

If the powers that be really wanted to know if kids can read or recall what they read, they wouldn’t be trying to find that out through a standardized test.

They would be sitting down with those same kids and listening to them read. They would ask them questions about what they’re reading. 

So if you’ve been teaching your students how to read and how to comprehend what they read and relying on that to help them pass the state test, then your students aren’t ready for it. 

Let’s talk about teaching reading test-taking strategies so they are ready for the state test.

a desk with school supplies and the Slash the Trash reading test-taking strategy poster laying on top.

Teach Reading Test-Taking Strategies

An important reading genre to teach kids is how to read a state test. Because reading a state test is not like reading a picture book or novel. 

There are strategies kids need in their toolbox to help them when answering questions about what they read on the test. 

Here are the top 3 reading test-taking strategies I like to teach kids.

Slash the Trash

After reading all the answer choices carefully, students get rid of at least 2 answer choices they know are not the correct answers. I like to call this “Slash the Trash”. 

Then with the 2 choices left, they go back into the article and look for evidence and make inferences about which of the remaining choices is the best answer.

A caveat to this is that there are questions that have confusing answer choices and it seems like the majority of the choices could be the correct answer to the question. But for the most part, slashing the trash helps to narrow down their answer choices.

A bulletin board with the slash the trash and 50/50 reading test-taking strategy posters on it.

50/50 Guess

This one goes hand in hand with Slash the Trash. After getting rid of answers that they know cannot work as an answer, kids have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer correct.

If they’re stuck between 2 answer choices after searching for evidence, they have a 50/50 chance of getting the answer right. This is a better probability than guessing the answer from all of the available choices. 

Prove it!

Evidence, evidence, evidence. I say this all year long because I’m always telling kids to prove that they’re right.

If they think an answer choice is correct, they need to go back to the text and underline the evidence. If the text doesn’t outright state the answer, they need to underline clues that lead to their answer choice.

Kids will often think they’re right and think they don’t need to go back to the text. So it’s important to review this strategy multiple times and help kids make it a habit. 

A row of kids are sitting at desks with pencils and paper and they are writing.

I started this episode by saying your students aren’t ready for the reading state test. After listening to this episode I hope you’ve figured out that they’ll be ready if you prep them specifically for the reading state test. 

It’s a whole reading genre in itself and if they are taught reading test-taking strategies, they’ll be successful because they already have an amazing foundation of reading books.

And if they’re not successful at passing the state test, this doesn’t define them as a student or child. Not everyone is a good test taker and test-taking anxiety is a real thing.

So you can only do your best as an educator and provide them with the tools to prepare them.

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