8 Awesome STAAR Reading Test Strategies
MAR 22, 2017
STAAR Reading test for students is just around the corner, and everyone is working extra hard to make sure students are well prepared, from their teacher to school administrators and parents. But even the most brilliant student can be a little stressed out and anxious because of the whole testing situation.
That’s why your Sylvan Learning Center of the Rio Grande Valley is here with 8 awesome STAAR reading test strategies to help your child prepare themselves for those long reading passages and comprehension questions. Remember that the more your child practices these test strategies, the more they will become second nature.
Let’s get started!
Strategy #1: Important vocabulary words to know.
Depending on your child’s grade level, they may run across a few words in the reading questions that they aren’t very familiar with. It’s best to create definition flashcards with your child so they can become comfortable with these words and their meaning. Some important reading terms to know include:
- Protagonist—the main character in the story.
- Antagonist—a person or group of people who are against the protagonist (bad guys).
- Metaphor—a figure of speech that compares two things.
- Simile—a figure of speech comparing one thing with another thing of a different kind and uses the words as or like (i.e. as brave as a lion, crazy like a fox ).
- Personification—giving human qualities to something that isn’t human or alive.
- Point-of-view—the narrator’s position in relation to the story being told (includes 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person point of view).
- Theme—the topic or subject of the writing.
- Flashback—interruptions that writers do during the story about past events to provide background.
- Imagery—figurative language that appeals to the physical senses.
- Climax—the point at which a conflict or crisis reaches its peak in a story.
- Infer—to draw a conclusion by reasoning from facts and information found in the passage.
- Summarize—to make a brief statement about the main points of the story or passage.
- Predict—to make a guess about something that will happen in the future.
Strategy #2: Don’t forget the title is important too.
Don’t forget to read and circle the title because it might just have clues about the main idea of the passage. The title can help you to answer questions sometimes.
Strategy #3: Number the paragraphs.
Often times, test questions ask a student to look back at a specific paragraph to find information to answer them. Numbering the paragraphs before reading them can help your child to look back quickly. It also gives them a moment of calm before they get down to the “hard” part.
Strategy #4: Read the questions first.
This might sound a little strange, but it really does make sense. By reading the questions before the passage, you get a better understanding of what to look for in the passage. Underline key words and pay attention to what information needs to be found.
Strategy #5: Now comes the passage.
Work your way through the passage, and while you are reading, make sure to interact with the text by underlining topic sentences and putting keywords in boxes. Students should also take notes in the margins about the topic of each paragraph and label the passage as fiction or nonfiction. While underlining sentences and phrases, students should be careful not to end up underlining the ENTIRE paragraph—only important dates, names, places, and events should be circled, underlined, boxed, or blinged. The idea is to help them find the information quicker when they search for answers.
Strategy #6: Back to those questions (and answer choices).
This time around, students should reread the questions AND the answer choices. After reading each answer choice, decide if the answer is right, maybe correct, or wrong. If you are absolutely sure it’s not correct, cross out the answer choice. If it’s a maybe, then mark it as such (an “M” works great for this). If you have more than one maybe, then reread the answer choices, and go back to the passage to find evidence in the text (the notes taken while reading the passage should make this quicker for the student). Select the best choice. If you aren’t sure about an answer, circle the question and go back to it later. Remember that the STAAR is timed so you don’t want to spend too long on just one ques
Strategy #7: Take a deep breath.
After finishing the entire test, let your brain rest for a couple of minutes. Stretch a bit, wiggle your hands, and maybe get some water if you feel you need it. You’re almost to the end!
Strategy #8: One last look at those passages and questions.
If you still have time, take one last look at those passages and questions. Reread them and check your answers to make sure you marked everything down right. Forgot to answer a question? Make sure to look out for those. It may sound like more work, but you might just find something new in the passage that changes your answer. It can happen.
And some special tips for the road:
Parents, you play a major role in your child’s academic success, so here are a few good tips and strategies you can use to help them get ready for the big day:
- Be positive and let them know how much you believe in their abilities. Point out to your child that they have been practicing and studying for the test all year to help build up their self-confidence.
- Make sure they get plenty of rest leading up to the big day. A sleepy child isn’t a great test taker.
- Give them a healthy breakfast the day of the test. They’ll need the energy to get through those hours of testing.
- Practicing and studying is important but you don’t want your child to burn out before they even get to the STAAR. Make sure they get some exercise and free fun time to relax.
- Test day over? Celebrate with a special treat like ice cream and pizza or a fun trip to the movies at the end of the week.
- If you want to practice a little with your child you can find some practice exams here.
Get that extra support to master the STAAR reading test with your local Sylvan Learning Centers in McAllen, Brownsville, Harlingen, and Mission.
If you believe your child needs just a bit more to get them ready and running for the STAAR reading exam, then consider your Sylvan Learning Centers of the RGV as your number one source for all the support you will need.
Our personalized tutoring service provides each child with help where he or she needs it most. It’s not just about teaching the material for the standardized test but also helping students understand the ins and outs of subject topics. We focus on developing valuable test-taking and study skills to promote success and reduce test-taking anxiety.
Contact us today at (956) 682-9800 to get your child on the road to academic success.