In anticipation of the MCA Reading test in April, Ms. Olson’s 7th grade English/LA class has been reading the newspaper during class time. Students were taught the format of the Star Tribune, (National News, Local News, Arts and Entertainment, Sports, and Business sections) and were given the choice of reading four articles from any section. The main criteria was the articles had to be factual news stories and not editorials. Students then filled out a “News Article Review” for each article. Students had to describe, in complete sentences, the “who, what, when, and where” of each article. Finally they had to summarize the entire article in a few complete sentences.
This type of nonfiction reading and describing helps students prepare for MCA testing because many of the stories on the test are nonfiction, and many of the questions seek this kind of information. Students in Ms. Olson’s 7th grade English/LA class seemed to enjoy the break from grammar and the literature book (mainly fictional stories). They hammed it up a bit for the camera, but overall they took the assignment very seriously. Comments from students included, “I feel like a grown-up,” and “I look like my dad reading the newspaper.”
The MCA Reading test for 7th and 8th graders is scheduled for April 10th and 11th. Any nonfiction reading and discussions at home will also help prepare your child for these tests. Magazines and newspapers are great ways to build these lifelong reading skills. Students will continue to build on these skills in class as we continue to read newspapers as well as other nonfiction material. Remember to ask your child, “What are you reading today?” and then enjoy the discussion that follows.
Submitted by Julie Olson