"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 units. To earn graduate-level units, participants must select the "Verified View" enrollment option. The cost of graduate-level units ($62 per unit) is separate from the cost of the online workshop.

Graduate-level units offered through the University of the Pacific are non-degree units which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (These are post-baccalaureate professional development semester units of non-degree graduate-level 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
  • Now it's Your Turn - Articles 1 & 2
  • Now it's Your Turn - Video
  • Now it's your Turn - Evaluating Questions
  • Now it's Your Turn - Utilizing Achieve the Core
  • Now it's Your Turn - Academic Vocabulary
  • Now it's Your Turn - Essay
  • Strategy #1
  • Informational Text/Nonfiction— p 7
  • Access resources to support a multi-text curriculum— p 8
  • Take steps to achieve the skill— p 9
  • Strategy #2
  • Recognize questions in a variety of formats— p 11-12
  • Take steps to achieve the skill— p 13-14
  • Strategy #3
  • Decode vocabulary within questions & prompts— p 15-18
  • Strategy #4
  • Identify the best answers— p 19-22
  • Strategy #5
  • Make inferences about complex texts— p 23-24
  • Make inferences: Step 4— p 25-26
  • Strategy #6
  • Discern evidence versus details— p 27-30
  • Strategy #7
  • Explain evidence thoroughly— p 31
  • Write the 1st sentence of the Yes, MA'AM response— p 32
  • Write the 2nd and 3rd sentences of the Yes, MA'AM response— p 33
  • Write the 4th sentence of the YES, MA'AM response— p 34
  • Take steps to achieve the skill— p 35-38
  • Strategy #8
  • Define Main. Define Idea.— p 39-40
  • Main-Idea Chapter Titles— p 41-42
  • Now it's Your Turn: Panda— p 43
  • Now it's Your Turn: Hot Dog— p 44
  • Students infer multiple main ideas— p 44
  • Introduce universal themes— p 45
  • 10 Topical Themes— p 46-47
  • Strategy #9
  • Recognize new information within text features— p 49
  • Assess the new information learned from a text feature— p 49-50
  • Move beyond comparing to evaluating— p 49
  • Strategy #10
  • Distinguish the subtle, but significant differences— p 51-52
  • Realize that informational text isn't necessarily "true"— p 53-54
  • Strategy #11
  • Prepare for comparative thinking— p 55-57
  • Compare information presented in nonfiction texts— p 58-59
  • Communicate the comparisons in a written response— p 58
  • Compare fiction to fact— p 60-62
  • Overview
  • Study the evolution of writing tasks— p 63-64
  • Strategy #12
  • Respond to a narrative-writing task— p 65-72
  • Strategy #13
  • Respond to a literary-analysis task— p 73-74
  • Strategy #14
  • Provide short and simulated research opportunities— p 75
  • Review Strategy #5, #7— p 75
  • Decode the prompt and organize— p 76-80
  • Synthesize information— p 81-82
  • Synthesize multiple reasons— p 83-87
  • Conclusion - Wrap-up
  • Wrap-up Statement

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 units. To earn graduate-level units, participants must select the "Verified View" enrollment option. The cost of graduate-level units ($62 per unit) is separate from the cost of the online workshop.

Graduate-level units offered through the University of the Pacific are non-degree units which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (These are post-baccalaureate professional development semester units of non-degree graduate-level 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
  • Now it's Your Turn - Articles 1 & 2
  • Now it's Your Turn - Video
  • Now it's your Turn - Evaluating Questions
  • Now it's Your Turn - Utilizing Achieve the Core
  • Now it's Your Turn - Academic Vocabulary
  • Now it's Your Turn - Essay
  • Strategy #1
  • Informational Text/Nonfiction— p 7
  • Access resources to support a multi-text curriculum— p 8
  • Take steps to achieve the skill— p 9
  • Strategy #2
  • Recognize questions in a variety of formats— p 11-12
  • Take steps to achieve the skill— p 13-14
  • Strategy #3
  • Decode vocabulary within questions & prompts— p 15-18
  • Strategy #4
  • Identify the best answers— p 19-22
  • Strategy #5
  • Make inferences about complex texts— p 23-24
  • Make inferences: Step 4— p 25-26
  • Strategy #6
  • Discern evidence versus details— p 27-30
  • Strategy #7
  • Explain evidence thoroughly— p 31
  • Write the 1st sentence of the Yes, MA'AM response— p 32
  • Write the 2nd and 3rd sentences of the Yes, MA'AM response— p 33
  • Write the 4th sentence of the YES, MA'AM response— p 34
  • Take steps to achieve the skill— p 35-38
  • Strategy #8
  • Define Main. Define Idea.— p 39-40
  • Main-Idea Chapter Titles— p 41-42
  • Now it's Your Turn: Panda— p 43
  • Now it's Your Turn: Hot Dog— p 44
  • Students infer multiple main ideas— p 44
  • Introduce universal themes— p 45
  • 10 Topical Themes— p 46-47
  • Strategy #9
  • Recognize new information within text features— p 49
  • Assess the new information learned from a text feature— p 49-50
  • Move beyond comparing to evaluating— p 49
  • Strategy #10
  • Distinguish the subtle, but significant differences— p 51-52
  • Realize that informational text isn't necessarily "true"— p 53-54
  • Strategy #11
  • Prepare for comparative thinking— p 55-57
  • Compare information presented in nonfiction texts— p 58-59
  • Communicate the comparisons in a written response— p 58
  • Compare fiction to fact— p 60-62
  • Overview
  • Study the evolution of writing tasks— p 63-64
  • Strategy #12
  • Respond to a narrative-writing task— p 65-72
  • Strategy #13
  • Respond to a literary-analysis task— p 73-74
  • Strategy #14
  • Provide short and simulated research opportunities— p 75
  • Review Strategy #5, #7— p 75
  • Decode the prompt and organize— p 76-80
  • Synthesize information— p 81-82
  • Synthesize multiple reasons— p 83-87
  • Conclusion - Wrap-up
  • Wrap-up Statement