"14 Power Strategies to Boost Reading & Writing Achievement on Standardized Tests"

"14 Power Strategies to Boost Reading & Writing Achievement on Standardized Tests"

About this online workshop

In this era of high-stakes testing, it's never been more important for students to enter into standardized assessments with essential skills and personal confidence. Throughout this online workshop built from a two-day live workshop, teachers will learn explicit literacy strategies students need in order to be successful on state and national assessments. (Specific references will be made to the new SAT, ACT, and AP exams, Indiana assessment, PARCC, & Smarter Balanced assessments.)

Three Reasons to Enroll

1. High-stakes testing affects everyone.

How students perform on standardized reading and writing tests has far-reaching implications for students, teachers, and schools. Insights into the requirements for test success are needed now more than ever before.

2. Success on standardized tests is only part of the goal.

With mastery of academic standards as the ultimate goal, targeted and intentional preparation for the state assessment helps students improve as readers and writers for the test and beyond.

3. Success on the test require explicit instruction.

Kristina Smekens will share strategies to embed rigorous reading and writing instruction into your yearlong curriculum so that students are equipped with the most essential literacy skills.

When you complete the workshop, you'll be able to...

  • Identify how today's assessments are different from previous tests.
  • Execute lessons to target Kristina's 14 Power Strategies for succeeding on standardized assessments.
  • Create a sequence of text-dependent questions that keep students rooted in the text and follow the same progression standardized assessments utilize.
  • Tweak your writing-about-reading tasks to mirror the constructed responses on standardized assessments.
  • Hone students' habits for citing specific and relevant evidence.
  • Prioritize the literacy skills that require explicit instruction.

Top questions teachers ask about preparing for standardized assessments

  • What's different about the testing expectations under the new standards than those assessments administered previously?
  • How can I intentionally prepare students for the state assessment without simply "teaching to the test"?
  • How should I prioritize my yearlong planning so that students are adequately prepared for the state assessment?
  • Beyond the English/language arts curriculum, what can be done in the content areas to cultivate critical reading and writing skills?
  • How can I differentiate my instruction to help struggling readers pass the test?
  • For my high-ability students, what unique instruction do they need in order to exceed expectations on state assessments?

Kristina provides the answers to these questions and many more!

DOWNLOAD WORKSHOP OVERVIEW

What teachers say about this workshop

“I’m ready to take several of the techniques and ideas straight into my room!” Hannah Dodson, Grade 10, English Department, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, IN

“I love that these tools don’t just teach to the test—they are just good practice, but they have big pay-offs.” Melissa Warner, Grades 9-12, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, IN

“Your strategies will help me teach smarter, not harder.” Nancy Bontreger , Grades 3 & 4 ESL, Concord West Side Elementary School, Elkhart, IN

“I’ll be able to pump up our K-4 curriculum to enhance inferring.” Kristen Hankins, Instructional Coach, Fieler Elementary School, Merrillville, IN

“Fantastic new information, strategies, analogies, and easy-to-remember acronyms! I’m eager to incorporate this into my plans!” Kaitlin Kenny, Grade 8 Literature & 3-8 Technology, Saint James School, Arlington Heights, IL

“I came specifically to share with other teachers what I learned. I’m going back loaded with specific strategies for everyone.” Carol McBride, Grades 9-12 Language, Woodlawn High School, Woodlawn, IL

“The content was incredibly helpful! Many strategies were simple and easy but precise with a clear target in mind. I will be a better educator because of this training!” Meagan Joyner, Secondary English Teacher ELL, Henderson County High School, Henderson, KY

“The workshop was amazing! Kristina provides no-prep activities to take into the classroom and start providing engaging reading/writing instruction immediately.” Kathy Ernst, Grade 3, Peotone Elementary School, Peotone, IL

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the workshop start and finish?

The workshop can begin at any time.

How long do I have access to the workshop?

After enrollment, you have access to the content for 60 days. You determine how fast or slow you want to progress through the workshop during this time.

Can I share my workshop with colleagues?

Sorry, online workshop sharing is not allowed. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts. Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details.

Can I get continuing education credits?

Most likely! With prior approval from your school district, participants may receive credit for up to 5 hours of professional development for each workshop. A certificate of completion is available when you select the "Verified View." No certificate is awarded when you select the "Flexible View." For possible Illinois-approved credit, please contact our office.

Can I earn graduate-level credit?

Thanks to a partnership with the University of the Pacific, educators who complete a webAcademy workshop are eligible to pursue one, two, or three nationally-accredited graduate-level semester credits. To earn graduate-level credit, participants must select the "Verified View" enrollment option. The cost of graduate-level credit ($62 per credit) is separate from the cost of the online workshop.

Graduate-level credits offered through the University of the Pacific are non-degree credits which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (These are post-baccalaureate professional development semester units of non-degree graduate-level credit and are not applicable to a degree at University of the Pacific.) For details, please contact support@smekenseducation.com or call (888) 376-0448.

What if I am unhappy with the workshop?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are not satisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 10 days, and we will give you a full refund.

Workshop Outline

  • Introduction to the workshop
  • Let's get started! - Handout
  • Workshop Overview
  • Strategy #1
  • Juggle multiple texts
  • Access resources to support a multi-text curriculum
  • Read related texts across days and in one sitting
  • Create a multi-text curriculum
  • Strategy #1 wrap-up
  • Strategy #2
  • Understand expectations of the "trump" standards
  • Recognize questions in a variety of formats
  • Mirror the standardized tests
  • Acknowledge on-screen advantages and disadvantages
  • Replace bad habits and create time-sensitive tasks
  • Create maps of information
  • Strategy #2 wrap-up
  • Strategy #3
  • Distinguish between types of vocabulary
  • Recognize functional/academic vocabulary
  • Identify words students would not recognize
  • Shift your teacher talk
  • Read, Underline, Pre-write, Reread
  • Strategy #3 wrap-up
  • Strategy #4
  • Utilize the bullseye board
  • Think Aloud with the bullseye board
  • Bullseye Answers
  • Transition to whole-class experiences
  • Strategy #5
  • Define the two pieces of information required
  • Break down the process of making an inference
  • Sample test item
  • 5 steps to make an inference
  • Strategy #5 wrap-up
  • Strategy #6
  • Fine-tune understanding of evidence
  • Clarify evidence versus details
  • Strategy #6 wrap-up
  • Strategy #7
  • Define the goal of constructed-response writing
  • Reveal Yes, MA'AM response writing
  • Review the reading and writing process
  • Write the second and third sentences of the Yes, MA'AM response
  • Sample test item
  • Write the fourth sentence of the Yes, MA'AM response
  • Write the fourth sentence of the Yes, MA'AM response (continued)
  • Generate whole-class products
  • Expect independent written responses
  • Strategy #7 wrap-up
  • Strategy #8
  • Define Main Idea
  • Infer main idea and identify evidence
  • Support main idea with textual evidence
  • Support main idea with textual evidence
  • Identify topic, main idea, and details
  • Infer main idea and identify evidence
  • Infer main idea and identify evidence (continued)
  • Infer main idea and identify evidence (continued)
  • Introduce recurring or universal themes
  • Determine a theme statement in four steps
  • Strategy #9
  • Introduce types of text features
  • Read and gain knowledge from text features
  • Assess new information learned from a text feature
  • Move beyond comparing to evaluating
  • Strategy #9 wrap-up
  • Strategy #10
  • Distinguish the subtle differences: purpose, perspective, point of view
  • Infer how a character/author feels
  • Sample test item
  • Sample test item
  • Sample test item
  • Sample test item
  • Recognize the two parts of argumentative text
  • Write argumentative analyses
  • Strategy #11
  • Prepare for comparative thinking
  • Compare literary elements
  • Compare information presented in nonfiction texts
  • Compare fiction to fact
  • Study the evolution of writing tasks
  • Traditional versus Writing-After-Reading prompts
  • Strategy #12
  • Demonstrate comprehension through a narrative response
  • Strategy #13
  • Focus on why and how the author did what he did
  • Strategy #13 wrap-up
  • Strategy #14
  • Present researched information
  • Simulate the research process
  • Present the what and the why
  • Conclusion - Wrap-up
  • Wrap-up

About this online workshop

In this era of high-stakes testing, it's never been more important for students to enter into standardized assessments with essential skills and personal confidence. Throughout this online workshop built from a two-day live workshop, teachers will learn explicit literacy strategies students need in order to be successful on state and national assessments. (Specific references will be made to the new SAT, ACT, and AP exams, Indiana assessment, PARCC, & Smarter Balanced assessments.)

Three Reasons to Enroll

1. High-stakes testing affects everyone.

How students perform on standardized reading and writing tests has far-reaching implications for students, teachers, and schools. Insights into the requirements for test success are needed now more than ever before.

2. Success on standardized tests is only part of the goal.

With mastery of academic standards as the ultimate goal, targeted and intentional preparation for the state assessment helps students improve as readers and writers for the test and beyond.

3. Success on the test require explicit instruction.

Kristina Smekens will share strategies to embed rigorous reading and writing instruction into your yearlong curriculum so that students are equipped with the most essential literacy skills.

When you complete the workshop, you'll be able to...

  • Identify how today's assessments are different from previous tests.
  • Execute lessons to target Kristina's 14 Power Strategies for succeeding on standardized assessments.
  • Create a sequence of text-dependent questions that keep students rooted in the text and follow the same progression standardized assessments utilize.
  • Tweak your writing-about-reading tasks to mirror the constructed responses on standardized assessments.
  • Hone students' habits for citing specific and relevant evidence.
  • Prioritize the literacy skills that require explicit instruction.

Top questions teachers ask about preparing for standardized assessments

  • What's different about the testing expectations under the new standards than those assessments administered previously?
  • How can I intentionally prepare students for the state assessment without simply "teaching to the test"?
  • How should I prioritize my yearlong planning so that students are adequately prepared for the state assessment?
  • Beyond the English/language arts curriculum, what can be done in the content areas to cultivate critical reading and writing skills?
  • How can I differentiate my instruction to help struggling readers pass the test?
  • For my high-ability students, what unique instruction do they need in order to exceed expectations on state assessments?

Kristina provides the answers to these questions and many more!

DOWNLOAD WORKSHOP OVERVIEW

What teachers say about this workshop

“I’m ready to take several of the techniques and ideas straight into my room!” Hannah Dodson, Grade 10, English Department, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, IN

“I love that these tools don’t just teach to the test—they are just good practice, but they have big pay-offs.” Melissa Warner, Grades 9-12, Center Grove High School, Greenwood, IN

“Your strategies will help me teach smarter, not harder.” Nancy Bontreger , Grades 3 & 4 ESL, Concord West Side Elementary School, Elkhart, IN

“I’ll be able to pump up our K-4 curriculum to enhance inferring.” Kristen Hankins, Instructional Coach, Fieler Elementary School, Merrillville, IN

“Fantastic new information, strategies, analogies, and easy-to-remember acronyms! I’m eager to incorporate this into my plans!” Kaitlin Kenny, Grade 8 Literature & 3-8 Technology, Saint James School, Arlington Heights, IL

“I came specifically to share with other teachers what I learned. I’m going back loaded with specific strategies for everyone.” Carol McBride, Grades 9-12 Language, Woodlawn High School, Woodlawn, IL

“The content was incredibly helpful! Many strategies were simple and easy but precise with a clear target in mind. I will be a better educator because of this training!” Meagan Joyner, Secondary English Teacher ELL, Henderson County High School, Henderson, KY

“The workshop was amazing! Kristina provides no-prep activities to take into the classroom and start providing engaging reading/writing instruction immediately.” Kathy Ernst, Grade 3, Peotone Elementary School, Peotone, IL

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the workshop start and finish?

The workshop can begin at any time.

How long do I have access to the workshop?

After enrollment, you have access to the content for 60 days. You determine how fast or slow you want to progress through the workshop during this time.

Can I share my workshop with colleagues?

Sorry, online workshop sharing is not allowed. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts. Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details.

Can I get continuing education credits?

Most likely! With prior approval from your school district, participants may receive credit for up to 5 hours of professional development for each workshop. A certificate of completion is available when you select the "Verified View." No certificate is awarded when you select the "Flexible View." For possible Illinois-approved credit, please contact our office.

Can I earn graduate-level credit?

Thanks to a partnership with the University of the Pacific, educators who complete a webAcademy workshop are eligible to pursue one, two, or three nationally-accredited graduate-level semester credits. To earn graduate-level credit, participants must select the "Verified View" enrollment option. The cost of graduate-level credit ($62 per credit) is separate from the cost of the online workshop.

Graduate-level credits offered through the University of the Pacific are non-degree credits which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (These are post-baccalaureate professional development semester units of non-degree graduate-level credit and are not applicable to a degree at University of the Pacific.) For details, please contact support@smekenseducation.com or call (888) 376-0448.

What if I am unhappy with the workshop?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are not satisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 10 days, and we will give you a full refund.

Workshop Outline

  • Introduction to the workshop
  • Let's get started! - Handout
  • Workshop Overview
  • Strategy #1
  • Juggle multiple texts
  • Access resources to support a multi-text curriculum
  • Read related texts across days and in one sitting
  • Create a multi-text curriculum
  • Strategy #1 wrap-up
  • Strategy #2
  • Understand expectations of the "trump" standards
  • Recognize questions in a variety of formats
  • Mirror the standardized tests
  • Acknowledge on-screen advantages and disadvantages
  • Replace bad habits and create time-sensitive tasks
  • Create maps of information
  • Strategy #2 wrap-up
  • Strategy #3
  • Distinguish between types of vocabulary
  • Recognize functional/academic vocabulary
  • Identify words students would not recognize
  • Shift your teacher talk
  • Read, Underline, Pre-write, Reread
  • Strategy #3 wrap-up
  • Strategy #4
  • Utilize the bullseye board
  • Think Aloud with the bullseye board
  • Bullseye Answers
  • Transition to whole-class experiences
  • Strategy #5
  • Define the two pieces of information required
  • Break down the process of making an inference
  • Sample test item
  • 5 steps to make an inference
  • Strategy #5 wrap-up
  • Strategy #6
  • Fine-tune understanding of evidence
  • Clarify evidence versus details
  • Strategy #6 wrap-up
  • Strategy #7
  • Define the goal of constructed-response writing
  • Reveal Yes, MA'AM response writing
  • Review the reading and writing process
  • Write the second and third sentences of the Yes, MA'AM response
  • Sample test item
  • Write the fourth sentence of the Yes, MA'AM response
  • Write the fourth sentence of the Yes, MA'AM response (continued)
  • Generate whole-class products
  • Expect independent written responses
  • Strategy #7 wrap-up
  • Strategy #8
  • Define Main Idea
  • Infer main idea and identify evidence
  • Support main idea with textual evidence
  • Support main idea with textual evidence
  • Identify topic, main idea, and details
  • Infer main idea and identify evidence
  • Infer main idea and identify evidence (continued)
  • Infer main idea and identify evidence (continued)
  • Introduce recurring or universal themes
  • Determine a theme statement in four steps
  • Strategy #9
  • Introduce types of text features
  • Read and gain knowledge from text features
  • Assess new information learned from a text feature
  • Move beyond comparing to evaluating
  • Strategy #9 wrap-up
  • Strategy #10
  • Distinguish the subtle differences: purpose, perspective, point of view
  • Infer how a character/author feels
  • Sample test item
  • Sample test item
  • Sample test item
  • Sample test item
  • Recognize the two parts of argumentative text
  • Write argumentative analyses
  • Strategy #11
  • Prepare for comparative thinking
  • Compare literary elements
  • Compare information presented in nonfiction texts
  • Compare fiction to fact
  • Study the evolution of writing tasks
  • Traditional versus Writing-After-Reading prompts
  • Strategy #12
  • Demonstrate comprehension through a narrative response
  • Strategy #13
  • Focus on why and how the author did what he did
  • Strategy #13 wrap-up
  • Strategy #14
  • Present researched information
  • Simulate the research process
  • Present the what and the why
  • Conclusion - Wrap-up
  • Wrap-up