Bright Ideas Lesson Plans
FCAT Reading Prep
A two-part activity: Reading test strategies and marking the text practice. Marking the text should be taught prior to this activity.
Each student is given their own Business section of the paper (I save up several weeks worth of papers so each class has their own Business section).
Reading test strategies:
There are two strategies for taking a reading test: read the questions first and then read the text, or read the text first and then answer the questions. Students who are slower readers should read the text first, in case they find themselves running out of time in the end. Students who read faster may want to read the questions first, in order to know what information they should be looking for as they read. This activity helps students determine which strategy is best for them.
Teacher: Scan the headlines of the articles on the front page of the Business section. DO NOT READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE. Try to choose an article just by glancing. You should be looking for an article containing a lot of facts, numbers, names, dates, etc. It is important that you have not read the article before the students.
Explain both of the above reading test strategies to the students. (It is assumed the teacher reads at an average – to above average - speed). Tell the students you will be silently reading the article – and marking the text – along with them. Let the students know you will announce when you have finished reading and marking the text, so they can gauge where they are in the process compared to you, in regards to speed. Once you’ve finished, wait until you see all of your students have finished silently reading and marking their articles before proceeding. Explain that students who were not very far in the reading/marking the text process, at the time you had announced you were finished, should definitely use the reading strategy of reading the text first, and then answering the questions.
Since you have now completed a close reading and marking of the article, ask your students off-the-cuff questions about the information contained in the article. (For instance, on an article we had read about the prices of crude oil, I asked them questions about the price per barrel, the month that price was released, the names of the government officials mentioned, the countries listed, the number of barrels produced, the percentage of increase, etc.). You want to ask them questions on items that should have been marked (numbers, names, dates, paragraph content to assess their paragraph labeling, tone, meaning, etc.). Students either raise their hands for individual answers, or you can have choral answers given in unison because the students really get into giving the answers, and the energy/engagement level in the room is high.
Repeat this process for as many articles as time permits. Articles can be cut out, stapled together, labeled with their names, and turned in for a grade if you want to assess individual student mastery of marking the text.
I choose the Business section because the articles found there are very similar in content and tone to the “King of Fibers” article found in the FDOE FCAT Reading prep booklet handed out in our schools. The information is factual, straightforward, number laden, and full of words the students may not have heard before.
The students love this activity because they enjoy reading the Business section. It is text they would never read on their own. They have hands-on, real time experience marking the text, and they feel the information they have found is timely and important. A bonus is the many teachable moments that arise from the information. An article we read last semester about the U.S. Post Office phasing out stamp machines, due to the cost of repairs and the re-fits every time our currency changes, brought up all sorts of discussion about counterfeiting, etc.
10th Grade English