I have a very simple question for the language arts teachers out there.
A little background first
When I was in school and took the TAAS reading exams (as well as the SAT), I quickly discovered that I am a fairly slow reader. I also don’t get a lot of the specific details when I read a passage. I have since worked on developing that skill and have made some definite progress.
What I learned worked best for me was to read the questions before I read the specific passages. This way I could skim through the assigned passages and know what I was looking for. Sometimes the questions were so specific that they didn’t require any reading of the passages at all. Things such as “What does the word prolifirate” mean in paragraph 4?
Back to the question
When I administered the TAKS Reading Test a couple of weeks ago to 8th graders, I noticed that every single one of them read the entire passage before even attempting to chack out what the questions were. They also highlighted everything like nobody’s business. Many even going so far as to color in the pictures with their highlighters.
So the question I have is: How many of you teach kids to check the questions before reading the assigned passages? If you don’t, what do you see as the problem with this approach?
For clarification, I don’t tell any of my kids to skip the reading passages since I’m not their language arts teacher, but it is something that has sort of confused me for years as I watch students struggle with these things.