💡 Test Prep with Storyworks 3: Compare and Contrast

By Marcy Terry
May 05, 2022

Marcy Terry is a 3rd-grade teacher advisor at Carlisle Elementary, in Delaware, Ohio. This is her 6th year using Storyworks 3 and her 22nd year teaching.

My biggest challenge this year (more than any other year of teaching) was students' overall reading skills. Because of the disrupted nature of education during COVID, my students lacked exposure to specific reading strategies. On top of that, they didn't get enough opportunities to build their skills. This was particularly stressful during "test prep month" before upcoming state tests.

This is where Storyworks 3 comes in handy. The terrific variety of texts within each issue provides students so many opportunities to build different reading skills. Usually, I use the Storyworks 3 play for fluency work. But this time I decided to include it in my test prep.

This month I have been including more test prep in my guided reading groups. I want to expose students to the types of questions they'll be asked on the state test. We are currently working within the curriculum on comparing and contrasting texts. To give students practice with this skill, I planned a lesson in which students compared and contrasted a play from Storyworks 3 with another folktale.

First, I looked for a folktale that met my two criteria: it had to be short enough to fit into my guided reading block, and it needed a strong central theme that mirrored the theme of one of the Storyworks 3 plays. Next, I searched online and found a downloadable copy of the folktale "The Little Red Hen." For the Storyworks 3 play, I chose The Ants and the Grasshoppers, from its October/November 2021 issue. I selected this play because it has the same theme of “work hard, then play” as the folktale "The Little Red Hen."

During the Guided Reading block, we started by reading "The Little Red Hen." Then, we had fun performing the parts in The Ants and the Grasshopper.  I even got to play Granny Grasshopper a few times during different groups. “I do a great Granny voice,” I told the kids. 

Next, I distributed my test-prep questions. Because the state test questions can be challenging for our kids, I tried to mimic the style of those questions. I included several multiple choice questions along with a graphic organizer for students to compare and contrast details from both texts. Students were able to practice using text evidence from two different texts and formats, and understand the similarities and differences between the texts.

I tried to stump them afterwards with my self-designed test-prep questions, but they did great! I'm including a copy of my test prep questions below, in case you'd like to use them as a model!

All my best,

Marcy Terry