You are here

Teach Reading, Not Testing

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

Foreword by W. James Popham

November 2012 | 144 pages | Corwin
Finally, a responsible approach to reading instruction that does not require teachers to abandon everything they know about teaching students how to be literate and how to LOVE reading! Test preparation worksheets and drill and kill activities do not make children into life-long readers. Hollingworth and Drake provide research from the academic community to support the instructional strategies that are offered in this very practical book. In addition, they include stories from the field about the ways the accountability movement is influencing teaching practice and what can be done about it. These authors mix an insiderÆs perspective on assessment research and development with a practitionerÆs experience in achieving reading outcomes at the elementary and secondary levels. Their aim is to show how all students can be prepared for standardized tests, without ôteaching to the test.ö The key components of their approach are: 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, and 5) holding on to best practice in literacy instruction. This book affirms the professionalism of the classroom teacher without vilifying standardized tests.
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

Sample Materials & Chapters



Liz Hollingworth

Liz Hollingworth is a professor in the College of Education at the University of Iowa. Her research and teaching interests are centered on curriculum, leadership, and assessment. In particular, her work explores how federal school reform policies affect classroom practice. Her other books include Organization and Administration of Iowa Public and Private Schools and Complicated Conversations: Race and Ideology in an Elementary Classroom. Dr. Hollingworth grew up in San Diego, taught in Chicago and Michigan, and now lives in Iowa City with her husband, Andrew, and teenaged daughter, Emily. More About Author

Hilleary Michele Drake

Hilleary Drake has taught fifth grade for six years in Riverton, Wyoming. Growing up in Texas during the initial wave of the “testing craze” she understands just how harmful it can be when testing drives instruction. She earned her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and her Master’s degree from the University of Iowa. While at Iowa she worked with Iowa Testing Progams as a graduate assistant, gaining behind-the-scene knowledge of the testing industry. Hilleary enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with friends and family, especially her husband Jay. More About Author

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781412997737

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.