Standardized Reading Testing General by Joel Wagner - March 15, 2009June 30, 20106 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. Joel WagnerJoel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.