Tip #1: Read, Read, Read!
Reading takes skill and practice. One of the best and simplest steps to improve the reading ability for children is to provide sustained periods of time for children to read.
Tip #2: Help your child to read like a writer.
Even in the early grades, children can begin to "get into the head" of the author. Reading improves a child's writing, and writing improves a child's reading.
Tip #3: Read a variety of books and magazines.
MAP English Language Arts test contains short stories, poems, dialogues, magazine articles, charts and tables. Children need to be able to read a wide variety of texts ranging from road signs to restaurant menus, comic books to classics, and from tennis shoe ads to computer manuals.
Tip #4: Build your child's reading stamina.
To build reading stamina, you may wish to encourage your child to increase gradually the amount of time she reads at one sitting. Include short breaks, such as stretching or closing her eyes for a minute. Set individual reading goals based upon doing the "best that she can."
Tip #5: Teach your child that visuals are part of the text.
Students are often required to gather information from photos, captions, drawings, charts, and graphs. You can help by teaching your child to look at all of these materials as part of the total text.
Tip #6: Help your child know how to use text-based support in written responses.
Most of the constructed-response items on the MAP assessments have two parts or require children to explain or show how they arrived at their answers. Children will receive only partial credit for answers to questions that are not supported with specific details or that do not contain an explanation.
Tip #7: Teach your child to preview the test before starting.
Planning the test time will allow your child to pace himself while he is working and decrease stress.
Tip #8: Teach your child to identify all parts of a question.
Teach your child to identify exactly what each question is asking. Some questions have multiple parts, which are often combined into a single sentence with a single question mark at the end. The child should underline each question word (who, what, when, where, why, how and any other word or phrase that indicates a question). By doing so, she can see if a question has multiple parts. Not answering all parts of a multi-part question is a common error.
Tip #9: Teach your child to paraphrase test items, turning questions into statements.
Teach your child to turn questions into statements. The child may underline the question words as described above, and then turn each part of the item into a statement. For example, the question, "Why did the main character play with the ball?" could be rephrased as "The main character played with the ball because ..." This practice allows the child to phrase the question in a way that makes the most sense to him. He is then ready to read the passage and look for answers.
Tip #10: What can a parent or guardian do to ensure successful assessment for their student?
- Be aware of the testing schedule.
- Be certain that your child has had adequate rest (this may mean getting them used to an earlier bed time before the week of testing).
- Be on time for school.
- Avoid scheduling appointments that can be done at a later date.
- Dress your child in layered clothing. This way, the child may add clothing to get warmer or remove some clothing to be cooler.
- If your school allows it, make sure your child has a book to read when the testing session is complete.
- Be certain that your child has two or more number two pencils (not mechanical).
- Have a positive attitude.
Adapted from the Practical Parenting Partnerships by Laura Schwab and the 2001 MAP Class 6 Team. Source and additional information