State Testing in Reading

Bum, bum, bummmmm. It's here!  State testing!  Run for your lives!

That's exactly how I felt during my first round of state testing this year.  Having never taught a testing year before, I was terrified that my students' learning would not transfer to a computerized, 40 question exam.  Well, I was right.  My state allows students to take the test up to 3 times, and my district mandates that we test in November, February, and May.  In November, I had barely scratched the surface of the comprehension strategies I would be covering and had not taught non-fiction text features at all.  And in math, I had just began to teach multiplication (having done a large unit on multi-digit addition and subtraction), and had not covered fractions or geometry at all.  Needless to say, not very many of my students passed that first round.

Fast forward to February.  My principal noticed that teachers were anxious, and to avoid test fatigue, since many students just finished with ELPA (the English as a Second Language exam), he pushed our next round of testing to the beginning of March.  With one round under my belt and tons of help from colleagues at school and around the web, I was much more confident to help my students succeed.

To help with test prep for reading, I taught my kids this Reading Comprehension song from  The kids seriously love it!  It has a really catchy, modern tune and you can play the song for free from the website.  I printed out the lyrics and the kids glued it into their poetry books so they can re-read it during Read to Self time.  I also purchased the mp3 of the song and downloaded it to my two iPod touches and iPod Nano for students to listen and sing along in their heads during Listen to Reading.

From Have Fun Teaching

Another thing I have been doing is sending home a half page article with four multiple choice questions in their homework packet each week.  This helps my students see the test format and they can practice the Four-Step Method at home.  I have this book from Even-Moor: Daily Reading Comprehension, Grade 2.  Because I send this home as homework and not all my students have parents at home who can help them for one reason or another, I use the second grade book to make sure all my students can access and read the text.  I do have four students who read at a first grade level and they get modified homework anyway.  Click the link to see the book at Amazon.
From Amazon

What great resources have you found for test prep?  What works well in your room?


  1. Love the cute little song! Thanks for sharing!! I'll have to let the teachers in my building know about it :)


    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class Blog
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  2. What a helpful resource. Testing can be so stressful. I am your newest follower...and a fellow Oregonian!

    Chickadee Jubilee

  3. Hey Nicole,
    Was able to grab your button off Top Teachers and get your blog "rolling" on my blog roll tonight! Yay! :-)
    We tried a new approach to testing this year...RELAX and HAVE FUN! We had S.P.O.R.T day (Students Preparing Outrageously for Testing) We dressed in sports attire, played games centered around skills review and our kids had a BLAST. I was ready to drop dead afterwards, but it took the 'edge' off their 8-9 yr old little minds. I blogged about it last week. Feel free to investigate. :-) Michelle