KMS Coaches' Corner

How do we help prepare students for a test that requires reading and thinking stamina for hours at a time?

Remind students we have put some things in place throughout the year to help increase their ability to get in a reading “flow” – 4th period reading time, reading longer texts during class, and teaching them reading strategies to use so that they are actively involved in their reading.  Consider showing this video about effort:

However, students must help themselves stick with EOG reading by:
·         being actively (not passively!) involved with the reading – use the strategies/tools they have been taught (check for understanding, reread, visualize, summarize in the margins, ask questions, etc.)

·         getting an overall picture of the selection by browsing/skimming it – if they have an idea of what’s coming, they can set a goal to make it through section by section

·         having a purpose/question to drive them to finish each selection (see EOG Thought #3)

·         figuring out ahead of time what works to focus their attention back to the test: Changing positions? Reading the longer selections first?  Mental rewards after each selection? Guiding the reading with the scratch paper? A visual reminder of why they should give their best effort?

Talk to your students about this and see what advice they can offer to each other. Post additional ideas on the coaches’ blog:

“Okay, students, highlight (or underline) what’s important as you read!” ---

Is this the extent of your highlighting instruction?  Well, the problem is that oftentimes, students don’t know what’s important. So they highlight everything, or nothing, or useless things.

To know what’s important, students have to have a purpose for reading. Help students set a purpose for reading ahead of time.  Often, we give them the purpose for reading in class (“Read this and answer these questions.”  “Read this and look for the differences between...”  “Read this to find out how so-and-so responded to…”).  On the EOG -- and if you think about it, most often in the real world – students will need to set their own purpose for reading.  Model this and help them practice this in the next few weeks. This will determine what they highlight or underline, it will give them a little more motivation to continue reading, and it will improve comprehension.

Some possible purposes for reading an EOG passage:

·         For a Math word problem, the purpose might always be the same. You probably have a routine for them. For example: “Underline the information given to you. Highlight the information you need to find out.”

·         For Reading selections:
o    After making prediction(s) based on the title, headings, etc. à
 see if the prediction(s) is correct.

o    After asking a question before reading based on the title/skimming à
look for answers to your question(s).

o    After thinking about what you already know about the topic à
see what new and interesting information you can learn.

o    With fiction, a good purpose might be to à
look for conflict and look for details about the characters and/or significant events/choices made by the characters.


EOG Thought #2
Try teaching this strategy for answering multiple choice questions, and see if your students find it helpful: After reading (and rereading, and restating) the question, cover up the answer choices and try to produce an answer to the question on your own BEFORE reading the choices.  So instead of immediately reading the four (or 3) answer choices, answer the question first. During practice, you might want to write down your answer right next to the question. Then uncover each answer choice one by one and see which one best matches your answer.
Post your comments about the EOG Thought below!

EOG Thought #1
Are you reading the questions and/or answer choices out loud to your students?  If so.... I ask, "Why?"  Unless your answer is "to stop and model/think aloud HOW to read slowly, reread, interpret, and restate questions"  or unless your answer is "because my group has a read aloud modification in Math" -- then I'm going to suggest you stop.    Reading questions and answers out loud to students deprives them of the opportunity to practice doing it themselves. Now, in order to practice something, they need to be taught first, right? So, talk to students about the language, structure, etc. of the questions. Model a few and show them how you "translate" them. But then require students to read them independently. Of course you can go back to them to reread or to clear up confusion. But make them do the work.