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Literacy Partners

Keeping the Love of Literacy Alive During State Testing

It’s that time of the year again, state testing. I remember the pressure and the stress that would set in during this time. With schools emphasizing test preparation and students feeling the pressure to perform, it is easy for the love of literacy to get lost in the shuffle. As a teacher, I often found myself navigating a delicate balance between meeting standardized assessment requirements and nurturing a genuine love for literacy in students during this time. Over the years, I have learned that the pressure to excel in exams can overshadow the joy of reading and writing. It is crucial to remember that literacy is not just a skill to be tested but a lifelong passion that should be nurtured and celebrated. In this blog post, we will be exploring how we can cultivate and preserve the love of literacy in our own classrooms, even amidst the demands of state testing.

Here are four different ways to keep the love of literacy alive during state testing. 

  1. Maintain a Positive Attitude:

First and foremost, maintain a positive attitude towards literacy, even in the face of standardized testing pressures. Remind students that their worth is not determined by a test score and that their love of reading and writing is something to be cherished. Encourage them to take breaks from test prep to indulge in their favorite books or writing projects. By modeling a positive attitude towards literacy, you can help students weather the storm of state testing while keeping their passion for reading and writing alive. 

  1. Genre of Choice Writing Units

Empower students to choose the genre they want to explore and write within. By allowing students to select the genre that resonates the most with their interests and passions, students will look forward to writing even during testing time. Students are given the freedom to choose from a variety of genres and provide opportunities for differentiation and individualization, allowing students to work at their own pace and skill level within their chosen genre.  In the midst of test preparation, it is important to encourage students to continue to build their passion for writing by having fun writing! 

Here are some different genres of choice options:

  • Poetry
  • Fantasy/Fairytales
  • Graphic Novels
  • Realistic Fiction
  • Science Reports/Research Projects

 

  1. Foster a Culture of Reading

Create a classroom environment that celebrates reading even amidst the pressures of state testing. Set aside time for independent reading, where students can choose books that interest them. Consider implementing a reading challenge or book club to motivate students to explore new genres and authors. Something that I would encourage students to do during this time is to set goals for themselves. They can set daily goals based on how many pages a day they will read or weekly goals based on how many books they will read by the end of the week. You can also make reading fun during this time by encouraging students to write book reviews or book recommendations once they are done reading a book or series. 

                                                                   

  1. Read Alouds

Experiencing the joy of being read to can cultivate a lifelong love of reading in students. By choosing books that are engaging, fun, and interesting, we can captivate student’s imaginations and instill a passion for literature that goes beyond the classroom. Read alouds can include a wide range of texts such as picture books, novels, nonfiction books/articles, poetry, and more. When selecting a book to read to students, make sure that it’s both engaging and entertaining. Look for humorous stories, adventurous tales, or even intriguing mysteries! These captivating narratives will draw students into the story and keep them eagerly listening until the end. It is the perfect break from state testing while still building the love of reading. 

I know that state testing is a challenging time for educators and students alike. I’ve been there as well but through trial and error, I have learned that it doesn’t have to extinguish the love of literacy. By maintaining a positive attitude, providing students with genre-of-choice writing units, fostering a culture of reading, and selecting fun and engaging read alouds, we can keep the flame of literacy burning bright in our classrooms. After all, the true test of literacy is not in standardized scores but in the lifelong passion for reading and writing that it instills in students.

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