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Teach Reading, Not Testing

Teach Reading, Not Testing
Best Practice in an Age of Accountability

Foreword by W. James Popham

November 2011 | 144 pages | Corwin

Teaching IS rocket science—and you are the pilot!

Teach Reading, Not Testing reinforces what teachers already know—test preparation worksheets and drill-and-kill activities do not make children into lifelong readers. The authors' conscientious approach to reading instruction combines an insider perspective on the development of high-stakes tests with classroom experience in achieving successful reading outcomes at the elementary and secondary levels. Their research-based methodology, building on teachers' expertise about best practice, is based on five key components:

  1. Aligning instruction to the state or national core standards
  2. Using formative assessment
  3. Connecting units to real-world contexts
  4. Motivating students effectively
  5. Holding on to best practice in literacy instruction

Included are end-of-chapter quizzes and real-life scenarios, plus a full chapter on teaching literacy with special populations. Readers will find helpful solutions for teaching children to love reading in the midst of the accountability movement, and an approach to test preparation that doesn't require teachers to sacrifice everything they already know about teaching kids to read.

Foreword by W. James Popham
About the Authors
1. Conducting an Alignment Study
Conducting an Alignment Study

What Is Alignment?

Teaching to the Test: Just Say No

Key Points to Remember

End-of-Chapter Quiz

2. Using Formative Assessments
What Does Formative Mean?

How Are the Scores of Test Takers Analyzed?

Differentiated Instruction

Tests as a Snap Shot: The Jacuzzi Metaphor


Test Quality and District Assessments

End-of-Chapter Quiz

3. Struggling Readers
Accommodations Versus Modifications

Modifications and High-Stakes Tests: Alternative Assessments

Accommodations and High-Stakes Tests

Assistive Technology (AT)

Response to Intervention (RTI)

Differentiated Instruction (DI)
English Language Learners (ELLs)

End-of-Chapter Quiz

4. Attitude and Motivation
Motivation Research


Goal Setting

What to Do If Your Principal Wants to Use Pizza Parties to Bribe Students

The Use of Practice Tests: Preparation or Motivation?

Test Preparation: Analyzing Tests as a Reading Genre

Communicaton With Stakeholders

End-of-Chapter Quiz

5. Engaged Independent Reading
Connect Your Reading Units to Real-World Contexts

Teaching Students to Read for Pleasure

Reading at Home: W.E.I.R.D.

What's the Deal With Boys?

Literature Circles and Book Clubs: What Is Normal in the Real World?

Best Practice for Book Clubs


End-of-Chapter Quiz

6. Best Practice
What Do Quality Inservices Look Like?

Theory and Practice at the Elementary Level: Best Practices Primer

Know What Works for You

End-of-Chapter Quiz

7. Implications for Your Teaching and Beyond
Holding Your Ground

Test Misuse in the Early Days of Testing

The Need for a Supportive Principal

No More Teaching to the Test

Next Steps

Final Thoughts

Resource A: Answers to Quizzes
Resource B: Five Ways to Teach Vocabulary
General Glossary of Assessment Terms

"This timely book addresses issues that we all deal with on a daily basis because of NCLB and high stakes testing. Teachers are in a quandary because they are often directed to provide exercises and activities in the classroom that contradict what they know to be good literacy instruction. This book provides suggestions for maintaining excellent instructional standards which will result in improved test scores."

Janice C. Brunson, Coordinator of Elementary Literacy
Stafford County Public Schools, Stafford, VA

"This is a useful resource for teachers and administrators who aspire to ramp up their knowledge of current practices and policies driving the myriad changes swirling in the field of literacy instruction. It is a friendly overview and navigation guide by a knowledgeable author team."

Paula J. Leftwich, Senior Director, K-12 Curriculum and Instruction
Polk County Public Schools, Bartow, FL
Key features
  • Strategies for aligning instruction to what will be tested -- NOT the same as teaching to the test
  • Ways to use formative assessments in literacy contexts; to connect reading to real world experiences; and to motivate students
  • A clear explanation of how standardized, multiple-choice tests are developed, and of the dangers of misinterpretation
  • A review of best practice for teaching reading, including a discussion about what to do when you feel that your expertise in teaching literacy is threatened by the reading programs being implemented in your district.
  • A chapter on teaching literacy with special populations.
  • End-of-chapter quizzes, a glossary of assessment terms, and advice for school leaders

Sample Materials & Chapters



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ISBN: 9781412997737
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