Literacy Tips‎ > ‎

Literacy Tip of the Week: Week of March 24th

posted Mar 28, 2019, 9:08 AM by Courtney Richardson
Teaching Test-Taking Strategies (Part 2) 
Last week I gave some tips on helping students read test passages. This week I’ll focus on strategies that help students answer test questions. Students will need the Test-taking Strategies card (insert link).
Strategies for Answering Questions:
Step 1 – The first step involves understanding the question. Teach students how to identify key words in the question. These words often include academic language such as compare, analyze, determine, etc.). 
Step 2 - Now students should paraphrase the question using the key words they identified in Step 1. This helps them focus their attention and clarify the purpose of the question. By paraphrasing the question, their processing is slowed down providing time for readers to comprehend what the question is truly asking.  Students who struggle with reading tests often jump to the multiple-choice answers and look for something that may have been in the passage, but that may not answer the question. 
Step 3 – Now readers need to decide if they need to look back in the text. Once students know where to look, they can lean on the comprehension strategies you have taught them in guided reading. For example, if the question is asking for a comparison, readers can think of what they know about answering yellow questions. Or if a question asks which statement would be included in a summary of the text, they can quickly use the Somebody-Wanted-But-So for the text and choose the answer that best fits. 
Step 4 – Finally, it is important to teach students to evaluate all of the choices. Readers need to toggle with the answer choices by asking, “Does this choice answer the question?”  “I think it is right because….” “I think this is not right because…”   After an answer choice is determined, readers should reread the question and their answer to be sure they’ve selected the correct response. Sometimes all of the choices are lifted from text, but only one answers the question. In some cases, the question asks the reader to identify two correct answers.
Teach these steps during your guided reading lessons. Once these strategies are internalized, they will become second nature for students.