Strategies for Reading tests – STAAR SMARTS

Reading tests are more than just pronouncing words and reading text fluently; they also require comprehending the meaning and critical analysis of the text. Most experienced readers use a variety of strategies to understand text. The following strategies can help students understand any text in any subject.

Use of graphic organizers Many students think visually, using shapes, spatial relationships, movement, and colors, and can benefit greatly from this strategy. Few of the steps to follow are:

  • Imagine a fiction story taking place as if it were a movie. Imagine the characters’ features. Picture the plot in time and space.
  • Imagine processes and explanations happening visually. Use nouns, verbs, and adjectives to create pictures, diagrams, or other mental images.

Use graphic organizers to lay out information. Make sketches or diagrams on scrap paper.

Make Predictions
Predictions encourage active reading and keep students interested, whether or not the predictions are correct. Incorrect predictions can signal a misunderstanding that needs to be revisited. Enhance the capabilities of your child to predict successfully by following these strategies:

  • Look at the pictures, table of contents, chapter headings, maps, diagrams, and features. What subjects are in the book?
  • Write down predictions about the text. During reading, look for words or phrases from those predictions.
  • While reading, revise the predictions or make new ones.

Ask and Answer Questions
Having students form their own questions helps them recognize confusion and encourages active learning. Students can follow the given steps:

  • Before reading, think about the subject based on the title, chapter heads, and visual information. Make note of anything you are curious about.
  • While reading, pause and write down any questions. Be sure to ask questions if there is confusion.
  • Look for the answers while reading. Pause and write down the answers.
  • Were all the questions answered? Could the answers come from other sources?

Retell and Summarize
Relating the text in students’ own words clears up language issues. Retelling challenges them to aim for complete retention. Summarization allows students to discriminate between main ideas and minor details. Kids can be taught to follow simple steps like these:

  • During reading, note the main ideas or events. Put a check mark in the book or write a note to point out a main idea.
  • At the ends of chapters or sections, review the information or story. Note main ideas or events and the details that support them.
  • After reading, retell or summarize the text. Focus on the important points, and support them with relevant details.
  • Refer to the book to check the retelling or summarization.

Connect the Text to Life Experiences, Other Texts, or Prior Knowledge
Connecting a text to students’ experiences and knowledge helps students personalize the information. It also helps students remember information when they link it to their lives. The strategies to make connections are:

  • Is the subject familiar? Do the characters resemble familiar people? Have you learned about the concept from school, home, or other experiences?
  • Is the style or genre familiar? Does it resemble other texts? Television shows, movies, and games can be considered “texts.”
  • Write down similarities between the current text and experiences, knowledge, or other texts.

Word-Attack Strategies
Word-attack strategies help students decode, pronounce, and understand unfamiliar words. They help students attack words piece by piece or from a different angle. Some of these strategies are:

Use Picture Clues

  • Look at the picture.
  • Are there people, objects, or actions in the picture that might make sense in the sentence?

Sound Out the Word

  • Start with the first letter, and say each letter-sound out loud.
  • Blend the sounds together and try to say the word. Does the word make sense in the sentence?

Look for Chunks in the Word

  • Look for familiar letter chunks. They may be sound/symbols, prefixes, suffixes, endings, whole words, or base /root words.
  • Read each chunk by itself. Then blend the chunks together and sound out the word. Does that word make sense in the sentence?

Connect to a Word You Know

  • Think of a word that looks like the unfamiliar word.
  • Compare the familiar word to the unfamiliar word. Decide if the familiar word is a chunk or form of the unfamiliar word.
  • Use the known word in the sentence to see if it makes sense. If so, the meanings of the two words are close enough for understanding.

Reread the Sentence

  • Read the sentence more than once.
  • Think about what word might make sense in the sentence. Try the word and see if the sentence makes sense.

Keep Reading

  • Read past the unfamiliar word and look for clues.
  • If the word is repeated, compare the second sentence to the first. What word might make sense in both?

Use Prior Knowledge

  • Think about what you know about the subject of the book, paragraph, or sentence.
  • Do you know anything that might make sense in the sentence? Read the sentence with the word to see if it makes sense.

Regular application of these strategies would help students to be successful in the reading exam

These are a few of the strategies used to improve reading skills and test scores.  Please visit or contact Dr. Meenakshi Singh to know more about these strategies and other educational tips and programs…You can let the learning fun continue all year long by enrolling your child in our award winning After School Program or any of our academic classes including tutoring in all subjects, STAAR, cogAT, ACT, ITBS, and SAT Prep or extracurricular activities such as Chess, Robotics, Bollywood Dancing and Kids Yoga. We have locations in Frisco and Plano and for your convenience we also offer all our academic programs online!

Contact us to find out about current discount offering on our Preschool program and Early Bird Special for our Summer Camp program that was highly popular last year and this year we have added Chess Camp option.  Based on testimonials from parents, you would love our premier programs, competitive fee structure and customer focus with your child in mind who would simply adore our kid friendly environment! Enroll your child today and watch the test scores go up!

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Mar 23, 2012 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments: 1


One Response to “Strategies for Reading tests – STAAR SMARTS”

  1. Lekeysha Green says:

    Smarts Club has been a lifesaver for my children. My 7 year son has been diagnosed with emotional disturbance at school and has a hard time sometimes focusing on completing tasks and understanding directions. He has been going to Smarts Club since January and his teachers at school have seen a significant improvement in his work and understanding of concepts. He was severely below level for a first grade but I just had a recent meeting with his teacher and she was happy to report he was one level below the standard and was improving significantly. I owe this all to the dedication and patience of the teachers at Smarts Club. Thank you so much!!!!!

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