ELA Test Prep Show & Tell

Try one of these 4 ideas for Middle School Reading Test Prep!  #ELA #Tips

At my school, the third quarter is winding down and after Spring Break, it will be "testing season".

So this post is all about my approach to test prep!

First, I will start with reviewing the basic reading skills of:
  • compare/contrast
  • cause/effect
  • author's purpose
  • main idea
  • inference
  • text features

We will refer back to our interactive guided class notes from earlier this year... 

Try one of these 4 ideas for Middle School Reading Test Prep! #ELA #TipsTry this or one of the other 3 ideas for Middle School Reading Test Prep! #ELA #Tips  
These notes are something I call Pixanotes.  They are a blend of traditional and visual notes.  They come in 4 levels of scaffolding and you can have all 4 versions out in the same class at the same time to reach all learners!

This is how we used them:

First, students used the included word bank and partner to fill in the blanks.

Next, students matched up the pictures with the correct definitions.  This gives the students some practice with the definitions as they must ponder them as they decide where the pictures belong.

Then, I had students write questions under the flaps that could be answered with the text to the right.  This allows for a more full Cornell notes type experience.  

Now students were ready to practice with the definitions.  One fun way to do this is with a rousing game of ZAP!  My students love competition!

After my students have a frame of reference with the Pixanotes, we have to review how we USE this information to analyze text.  That's where this comes in:

Help your middle school students get ready for their state test in reading! Have them practice 7 different reading standards using these short passages and standards-based questions!

These 5 passages are designed to review seven different reading standards for both fiction AND nonfiction.  I wrote them myself and made the questions to match the style of questions on the state test.  

Then I created a little friendly competition and had students work in groups to read and answer the questions.  We tracked our progress the students were into it!  You can read more about that by clicking here.  

For students that struggle with the activity above or who just aren't ready for that activity, I have this great little ebook that's free in my resource library.

Use this ebook to help your struggling middle schoolers feel excited about showing their best skills on their Big Test!

The idea behind the e-book is to help students understand that our big state test is like a championship.  Do athletes complain when they have to go to the championship?  No, of course not!  They're excited to show that they are the best!  So it should be the same with our state test.  It's a chance for students to proudly show what they know!

It tells a great story in rhyme and then there are questions that match the text, foldables, study tips and more!  Perfect for all those middle schoolers who struggle and need something to help them prepare!

Lastly, it will be important for us to review the steps for successful test-taking.  I will be using this flipbook that I made:

Give your middle school students plan for using the reading process successfully on your state's big test!  #testprep #ideas #strategies

This flipbook takes students through a step-by-step plan to use when reading the texts and answering the questions on a standardized test.  Since each step comes with an example to cut and glue onto the appropriate tab, this makes the steps that seem so abstract much more concrete for our students with learning challenges.  

I hope this gives you some ideas for how you might change up your ELA test prep this year!  

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I'm going to share these test prep ideas with my favorite fifth grade teacher. Good ideas. We are all about test prep now, aren't we :( See you around. Kathleen

  2. We will be gearing up to take the MSTEP right after spring break too. You have some great ideas (and freebies!) for getting your kids ready! Thanks for linking up!

    Forever in Fifth Grade


Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope to hear from you and will reply via e-mail. :)