As a teacher and a mama, I am not a fan of standardized testing. However, the reality is that they are going to be sticking around for a while. My main goal is for my students and children to ALWAYS feel PROUD of their hard work, so it’s important that we encourage our kiddos to do the best they can on their end of grade tests. I have a few tips to share with you that will help your child feel confident while taking their test.
Encourage your Child to Use their Time Wisely – These tests are (unnecessarily) LONG.
They contain a lot of passages and a lot of questions, but they provide PLENTY of time for your kiddo to be able to finish the test. Most kids finish as quickly as they can, and then sit and stare into space for another 2+ hours! Staring into space = NOT using your time wisely!
Encourage your child to read the passage, questions, and answer choices carefully. They should go back and find the answer in the text (or the info that supports THE BEST answer). When they are finished, they should go back and check their answers.
Worried your child still won’t use their time wisely? Use an incentive. Tell your child that you are going to contact their teacher and ask if they rushed through the test or if it seemed like they were working hard. (Remember, teachers are not able to share much beyond this.) Based on what their teacher shares, they will receive an appropriate reward or consequence. Be sure that if you use an incentive like this that you follow through!
Remind your kiddo to take breaks & think positive – The students are given 3+ hours to take the test but are only given a 3-minute break every 60 minutes. 60 minutes is too long to work without taking a break!
More frequent breaks are necessary, and your child doesn’t need to leave the room to take one. (Although, they are allowed to go to the bathroom and get a sip of water if they need to.)
My recommendation is, after your child has read one or two passages and answered the questions, to close their eyes, take a few deep breaths, and say a positive mantra in their mind.
You can offer your child a few suggestions for their mantra! Here are a few of my favorites:
– I am a strong reader.
– I know how to read closely.
– I can read difficult texts.
– I will try my best and be successful on the reading test this year.
Encourage your child to read every word on the test – Every once in a while, a passage will have an introduction, a footnote, or definitions in the side margins. Students often ignore these and jump straight into reading the passage and answering the questions. Sometimes, they don’t even read the title!
Explain to your child that EVERY WORD on the test matters. The introduction, title, and footnotes often give clues about the main idea of the passage and can lead your child to correct answers. I have had students not understand the passage at all and miss numerous questions, because they didn’t read all the information.
Tell your child to pretend they are very interested in the passage topics – The topics included on the read test can be painfully boring, but your kiddo needs some serious HEART EYES as they read through those passages!
Will they actually be interested in reading about how marbles are made? Maybe.
Should they act like they are so interested, happy, and excited to read about how marbles are made? Definitely!!
Why? Because being ENGAGED in the reading will help your kiddo’s comprehension of the passage (even if they are just pretending!).
Remind your child to eliminate 3 answer choices for each question – These standardized tests are meant to trick your child.
Which statement best describes…
What is the most likely reason…
What is the most important…
Your child has to find the BEST answer for every single question. Even a SINGLE WORD can make an answer choice wrong.
Students often eliminate two answer choices and then go back and forth between the other two answers, usually second guessing themselves.
Instead, your child should look at each answer choice very closely and ask themselves, “what about his answer choice could make it wrong?”
– Is this answer choice completely irrelevant to the passage?
– Does this answer choice include a minor detail that isn’t important?
– Does this answer choice leave out a major detail that is very important?
– Does this answer choice include all the right details but reverses how they are presented in the passage?
Asking themselves these questions will help your kiddo be able to eliminate 3 wrong answer choices and having a higher chance of selecting the best answer.
Make sure your child understands the language of the questions –
Some of the most frequent phrases within the reading test questions are “based on the selection” and “according to the selection.” It’s important that your child knows the difference between these two phrases to be able to understand what the question is asking them.
According to the selection – this phrase means the answer is stated in the passage. This is just a matter of your child finding the correct answer. They should read the passage and answer choices very carefully, to make sure they are choosing the best answer.
Based on the selection – this phrase means the answer is not directly stated and your child will need to INFER the best answer based on the information in the passage. This makes these questions a little trickier, so your child needs to refer back to my last tip and ask themselves which three answers can I eliminate?
I hope these tips make your child feel proud of their hard work on their next reading standardized test! <3