Saturday, February 26, 2011

Increase Your Students' Reading Test Scores

I've been a Chicago Public School teacher for six years now, and according to ISAT data (the Illinois state test that elementary school students take) my students have demonstrated remarkable growth.  My reading classes are averaging growth of 12.5% each year, and I believe that these scores reflect authentic learning, not an increase in test taking skills.  Additionally, 95% of my students are classified as "low-income," so I'm not producing this growth in some candy land suburb where teachers have the benefits of technology and materials.

The way I produce this growth is by focusing my instruction on the skills that my state (and probably your state too) has articulated that students should know at their grade level.  Skills like identifying text structure, figurative language, or the narrator's view point, to name a few.  When trying to buy or find materials on the internet that would provide my students with the necessary practice to become adept at these skills, I found a paucity of available materials, and the materials I did find seemed to lack in quality or were not rigorous enough.  So, I created my own.  The combination of effective teaching strategies and quality resources have proven successful in providing my students with useful literary skills that just so happen to be evaluated on state tests.  
Hoping to help and inspire other educators, I have now made my materials freely available at my website,  For each assignment I include PDF files (for perfect printing), RTF files (so that you may edit each assignment to fit your needs or to personalize the assignments), and HTM files (so that you may preview each worksheet in your browser before downloading the file).  Responses from users have been overwhelmingly positive, but I still have big plans for improving and expanding the site, particularly in the realm of elearning or creating true electronic worksheets using Adobe Captivate.  If you are a reading, English, writing, or language arts teacher looking for free materials or just some inspiration, please visit to access a wealth of resources. 

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