Test Taking Strategies – Reading Comprehension

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testing hint for adhd childWhich of the following relationships is most similar to the relationship below?

standardized testing : life success
     A. stormy : weather
     B. weather : climate
     C. rain : snow
     D. weather : happiness


This is the last in a three part series about preparing your child for the end of year exams. Whatever your opinion about the necessity and validity of testing, you cannot change the fact that your child will soon be handed a bubble sheet and asked to remember material from an entire year. In A Bubble of Confidence, I addressed ways to boost your child’s overall test taking confidence. Multiplying Success gives tips for math, and this article lists several ways to help prepare for the reading portion of standardized tests. As I have mentioned before, it is important to approach test taking with balance. Don’t add to the inherent stressfulness of the situation by loading your child down with extra study and work. Your goal is not to add to your child’s knowledge, but to help them effectively use and retrieve what they already know. Here are some last minute tips to give your kids:

1. Reading for (no) fun. Don’t expect to enjoy reading the passages. They’re often very boring. One of our sons once had a passage on the nesting habits of storks.

2. First things first. When you first turn to a reading passage, see if you can tell if it is fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry, or something else. Don’t worry if you don’t know.

3. What’s your question? Read the questions before you read the passage.

4. Just the facts, ma’am. Mark which questions are asking for “just the facts”. Many times they will begin with words like who, when, or where. These will be the easiest to answer.

5. Read my lips. Read the passage. If it helps, it’s okay to move your lips, although you can’t make any sound.

6. That’s the answer! As you read, if you find an answer to one of the questions, underline it.

7. Where to find it. Know where to look for answers. Remember:
     a. Answers about where or when the story takes place are frequently found at the beginning of the passage.
     b. Solutions to a problem in the story are usually found in the middle.
     c. Answers about how the problem is solved are often found at the end.

8. Like, it’s like… Remember, when reading analogies, state the relationship in your head:
     red : stop, green : ? Think “Red means you have to stop. Green means you have to go.”
     blender : mix, ax : ? Think “You mix with a blender. You …. with an ax.”
     key : house, ? : theatre Think “A key gets you into a house. A …. gets you into a theatre.”
     excited : bored, famished : ? Think “Excited is the opposite of bored. Famished is the opposite of ?”
     answer : solution, forest : ? Think “Answer is the same thing as solution. Forest is the same thing as ?”

Or, think “standardized test scores have nothing to do with life success” just like “weather has nothing to do with happiness”. And that is something we all need to really comprehend!

Image Credit: laurence_winram

About Kayla

Kayla Fay is a freelance writer and the mother of four boys, three of whom have been formally diagnosed with the inattentive type of ADHD. When she started “Who Put the Ketchup in the Medicine Cabinet?” in 2002, her sons were ages 8 through 14, when her life was a “progression of dirty laundry, lost homework, misunderstood Algebra, and a whole lot of love and fun”.

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