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14 Power Strategies

to Boost Reading & Writing Achievement on Standardized Tests


Infer author & ideas intentions

8. Determine main idea & theme


Compare to newspaper headlines

A text topic can be identified in 1-3 words. However, the main idea requires a 4-8 word sentence.

Support main idea with textual evidence

If the headline is the main idea, then repeated words and details within the article are the evidence. They are proof of the text’s main idea.

Use topical themes to generate theme statements

Recognize the topical themes or categories that authors tend to write about.

Support theme with textual evidence.

Teacher Emily Trabold adapted the content from Sara Johnson’s video to share with her students.

Utilize the TheMe Foldable to demonstrate that the topic or category isn’t the theme. It’s the specific lesson within that topic that was learned.

9. Recognize new info in text features

Immerse students in text features

Teach students that informational text has multiple entry points. Each text feature serves as a different place the reader can start reading and learning about the topic.

Infographs communicate a lot of information visually. | Mini-posters dissecting the parts of different examples.

Students communicate what info they learned from a particular feature with Information T.H.I.E.V.E.S.

When determining “how the chart helps the reader understand the article,” students must identify the information provided in the text feature that was not stated within the original passage.

Compare and evaluate information from different mediums

The secret is to critique the different text formats based on their value to the reader. Identify two broad categories of comparison.

PROS—What are the reader benefits, pros, perks, or values of this text type?
CONS—What are the challenges or shortcomings for the reader when faced with this text type?

10. Evaluate perspective

Introduce key terms

Compare Perspective A versus Perspective B

Read mentor text that reveals a situation with two different character perspectives.

Farmer v. Animals

Spoon’s life |
Pros v. Cons

Dog v. Cat

Duck v. Rabbit

Arnie v. Owner

Ant v. Kid

Anticipate more than two perspectives

The same topic/situation is the subject for multiple characters within these texts.

Identify author perspective within informational text

Transition from reading character feelings in literature to author viewpoints in nonfiction.

Check out additional sources for informational text.

Link perspective with support

Infer the author’s claim/perspective and the support provided.

Listen to the audio text of Jesús Colón reading his essay about “Little Things are Big.”

Note the specific details, word choice, and syntax he uses to then infer his perspective of this event.

Analyze and evaluate author arguments

To evaluate an author’s ideas, students need to identify his claim and the support provided.

Evaluate the quality of an argument using this skeletal frame by Roz Linder in Chart Sense: Grades 3-8.

Introduce different types of evidence.
Elementary standards | Secondary

Access sources for examples of argumentative writing

11. Draw comparisons across texts

Compare texts using T-Charts

Make connections between cultural versions of a story or fairy tale.

The Rough-Faced Girl v. Cinderella

Lon Po Po v. Little Red Riding Hood

True Story of the 3 Little Pigs v. The Three Little Pigs

Evaluate format and media

Evaluate if the movie version stayed true to the original print text.