Bridging guided reading to test prep: One easy tip
Ah, spring. the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and the kids are bubbling answers.
We’ve all been there.
During this push, push, push for test scores that happens every spring, sometimes guided reading can get the boot. It can feel like we “just don’t have the time”. And I get it.
The test is scary and we want our kids to be prepared, because if they’re not, there can be consequences.
Sure, there are consequences for us, but there are definitely consequences for them.
So guided reading sometimes gets lost in the desperate race to get kids where the state wants them to be, even though we know guided reading is the real deal and the test is not.
If you’re struggling with this, this post is for you.
Here’s how you can do guided reading while embedding some test-taking strategies, too!
Step 1. Plan your guided reading lesson like normal. Use your test data to figure out what strategy to focus on that will help them as readers and reading test takers. Use an instructional-leveled text. Identify the vocabulary you want to plant, and the background knowledge you want to access.
Our main strategy for this lesson in the picture below was finding the main idea. Students used post-its to mark the main idea of each paragraph as they read, applying the strategy I’d taught them about finding the three-four most important words or ideas in each paragraph.
Step 2. As you’re planning, when you get ready to write your purpose question: write it in test format. I’m talking test question stems and A, B, C, D. Type it up and print it out so each student has a question strip.
It should require students to practice the strategy you’re working on. For our main idea work, I asked the question, “The information on page 5 helps explain how -” This was a test question stem from our state test. Students had to use their main ideas to check every answer choice and see if it matched their evidence.
Once students get to the page that will help them answer their question, they apply their strategy like normal, and then they answer the question. Here’s the important part: They have to USE THE STRATEGIES YOU’VE TAUGHT THEM!
If my students answered a question without marking their evidence with a post-it, analyzing the question, and analyzing each answer choice, I’d take their strip away and give them a blank one so they could actually do the thinking they needed to do to be successful.
Step 3. You have students finish their reading, applying strategies, and then bring them together (as usual) for a discussion about the purpose question. Here, they verbalize their thinking and explain how they arrived at the answer.
It’s an easy peasy connection and it’ll give you the time and proximity to see what students are thinking as they approach these questions, while building reading strategies, too.
Would you do this all year? Not really. You want open-ended questions for guided reading, most of the time. But bridging to the test is something that our kids need support in, and this is one way to do it without drill and kill!
Want to learn more about planning guided reading lessons? Check out my post: Planning for Guided Reading! It’ll break it down a step at a time!
If you try it, shout it out on FB or IG! Tag me @buzzingwithmsb!
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