Friday, July 13, 2012

Test taking, Teaching test taking skills

One child who was not reading and now makes the honor roll is still struggling with test taking.  This summer she is tutoring for 6 lessons to try to help with test taking.  She still does not read the words fast enough when taking a timed test at formal school.  I noticed she takes a deep breath when the word test is mentioned.  I gave her a word test and she was doing the "take a deep breath" as she said the words.
To correct this, I taught her to take a color test.  She is age 9 or 10 and knows her colors well.
I had her tell me the colors and laughed when she wondered what I was doing.  I told her I was just checking to see if she still knew her colors.  She and I have a trusting enough relationship so even when I ask her to do something that she thinks is silly, she will work with me.
Then I told her that we were going to do something really hard and it was a test.  Her eyes got larger and she took a deep breath.  Then I started holding up a color at a time and asking the color.  She laughed and I told her tests were just this easy and we were going to learn how easy they are.
I next had her read me a list of words and told her it was a test.  We practiced several of these tests so she would understand she did not have to take a deep breath or be afraid.  She was really tired.
The next week, we did the word test and I quickly told her any word she hesitated to say.  The next activity, we did was for me to have her say the words on cards as I turned them over.  She said there were too many to do all at once.  There were about 30 sets of words or 60 cards.  I just kept turning them over and soon we were finished with the stack.  I told her it was never hard to do things when we knew how to do them
She was doing so well, I had her do another test and told her we were going to skip the words she did not know.  I pointed to the word and if she did not say it quickly,  I went on to the next word.  She kept trying, which I did not know if she would give up or keep going.  I was really proud of her. Her mom is afraid of test taking also so we gave mom the color test too to help the child remember tests are easy.  
We have one more week and then a certificate for completion will be given.  I will check on her once school has started to see  how she is doing.  
We also stop and do the balance board when she seems to stumble with confidence.  I noticed yesterday that when she is not as confident she throws the ball at an angle instead of straight.  When I mentioned this, she gained in confidence as we practiced the information she needed when she was on the balance board.
We were counting by 2's and the ball was straight and when we counted by 3's the ball was at an angle. As she felt more confident with her 3's, the ball was straight again.
It is such a joy to see a child smile about learning.