Where can you find FREE reading test prep passages? While I absolutely, positively recommend that all teachers use the released tests from their own state’s Department of Public Instruction like I do when I teach my students to “think through” our state reading test (the NC EOG), I know that often what the state or school system has released is just not enough to provide your students with the level of test-prep that they need. Perhaps you need more FREE reading test prep passages than your state offers. So, today I’m sharing where you can find FREE reading test prep passages that contain multiple choice reading questions. I’ve linked to the released reading passages for 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade, but if you teach another grade, you can easily navigate these websites to find the resources for your grade level. Be sure to read my caveats at the end of this post!
1) North Carolina Released Reading Tests (NC EOG)
I had to include the NC EOG Released passages because these passage sets are exactly what I use during 4th quarter to prepare my students for state testing. Our state test incorporates fiction, nonfiction, and poetry passages and only includes multiple-choice questions.
2) State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR)
Texas has released from 2013-2022 for all grades! All questions are multiple-choice and I thought the passages and articles were engaging with lots of text features included!
3) EngageNY (New York State Testing Program)
The first section of the NY released passages contain multiple choice questions. The second section has open-ended comprehension questions. Then for some of the grade-leveles, you’ll find open-ended comprehension questions on par with the kind of comprehension and “thinking about text” students need to be proficient in in order to be successful on standardized tests. Because my state test does not contain open-response questions like these, I would probably use those questions for class discussion or construct some possible answers for students to choose from.
4) Nebraska State Accountability Reading Practice Tests
Scroll to the section that says “NeSA ELA Released Passages.” These released tests contain one passage for each grade level with 8-10 multiple-choice questions.
5) Massachusetts Department of Elementary Education Released Tests (MCAS)
These assessments contain multiple-choice questions. The assessments I previewed seem to have great passages and nonfiction text features.
I also found computer-based released items for 2017-2022 for grades 3-5. Students can take practice tests online, signed in as “guest”. The tool gives them feedback about their answers after they submit them at the end of the test. The number of questions range anywhere from 7-20 for each test.
6) K5 Learning
The passages linked at the top of this website are organized by reading levels. They contain some vocabulary match up, a few multiple choice questions, and some open-response questions. If your state tests focuses only on multiple-choice type questions, I’d recommend taking out the vocabulary match up to reduce some of the “clutter” as you target specific test prep skills for your state test. If you scroll to the resources mid-page, those contain open-response questions. I think these questions are great for small groups and supporting reading comprehension strategies. You might even take time to develop a few multiple-choice questions if you choose to use these passages for test prep. The comprehension questions I’ve read for the passages on this website require great higher-level thinking and interpretation, so it’s one of the reason I recommend this resource although it doesn’t perfectly align with standardized multiple-choice tests.
7) K-12 Reader Reading Instruction Resources
These reading passages mainly contain open-response questions. From what I’ve previewed, the questions are “right-there” questions where students answer the questions based directly on something stated in the text. If your students are struggling to go back to the text to find answers and evidence for questions, these are good resources to use for intervention groups.
Some personal recommendations for using these test-prep resources and reading passages:
I absolutely, positively do not believe in using ANY test prep resources for DRILLING and KILLING our students with test prep. I’ve actually written a lot about this topic, and I believe in teaching my students REAL STRATEGIES for “thinking through” reading tests. If you want to know more about my framework for teaching students to think through their reading comprehension tests, this post is the best place to start! Please, please, please don’t use these passages to abuse children…kidding, not kidding, and SORRY, NOT SORRY!
Really take a look at what’s offered here and decide what resources best align with your own state’s testing. If you see something funky, you can decide if the comprehension questions would still be beneficial for your students to answer, and if not, cover those babies up with a sheet of paper and print what you want to use!
Some of these resources may be better suited for using in small groups and for students who need specific interventions in reading comprehension and test-taking skills. Some test-taking skills that I think are important to teach, even if you are down to the wire, include: previewing the text to think about what it will be about; figuring out the genre of the text and setting expectations BEFORE STARTING TO READ; learning to apply context clues; going back to the text to identify supporting information for answer choices; learning to break a passage into chunks (like beginning, middle, and end for fiction or into topic-based sections for nonfiction); identifying how the title fits with the passage; and thinking about the main idea of specific paragraphs AND the passage overall;
“Thinking Through Reading Tests” is a framework for standardized reading comprehension tests that honors a reader’s workshop style classroom. The minilessons, framework, and bulletin board set of test-prep strategies helps you prepare students for testing by helping them apply what they have learned about reading all year to HOW that applies to reading for a standardized, multiple-choice reading test.
This method of reading test prep considers “standardized reading tests” as another reading genre and helps students develop an understanding of how test passages are designed. Together, you and your students discover how a test is put together AND how what you have taught them to do all year as intelligent readers still applies in the setting of “test reading.”
You can get the first two minilessons for this test prep unit sent straight to your inbox, or head to the resource on teachers pay teachers to learn more!
Included in Reading Test Prep Minilesson Framework:
✔ Test prep minilesson notes
✔ Test prep minilesson bulletin board materials - a “Before, During, After Reading” structure for test taking minilessons
✔ Thinking about question types - understand how to think through and answer a question: a Question-Answer-Relationship method
✔ Q-A-R posters, student handout, and bookmarks
✔ 4 step method for thinking through and answering multiple choice questions (includes one model minilesson for this question/answer procedure)
✔ 4 step posters and handout for students
✔ Reading test questions sorts for 3rd-8th grades