Reading SOL test prep doesn’t have to be boring!! There are lots of fun activities you can use to help your students prepare for the test while keeping them (and you) engaged!
While I’m all for ways to make test review more engaging, I always want to make sure that students are getting rigorous, relevant practice. So, all of these activities are ones that you can use with the practice tests, passages, and stand-alone questions you already have. Let’s jump in!
Incorporate Board Games
SOL test review is so much more fun when you add board games! Grab some passages or task cards and require students to answer a question correctly before they take a turn in the game. Connect4, Othello, Jenga, Kerplunk, and Candyland are a few you can try.
I also love having students make their own board games that we can use for test review. This gets them really excited and I think having a chance to get creative is a nice break from test prep.
Play Task Card Games
Now is a great time to break out your task cards from earlier in the year (or use new test-specific ones). There are so many task card games that get your students up and moving, like:
- scavenger hunt
- snowball fight
- Four Corners
- bowling (ask your PE teacher for pins to borrow)
Swap Teachers and/or Classrooms
This is probably one of the easiest ways to make reading SOL practice fun – mix up the teachers and/or students in your grade level. One way I’ve held students accountable during this rotation is to make a punch card that they have to complete.
Set Up a Gallery Walk
Everything is more exciting when you go out in the hallway, am I right?! A gallery walk is a good low-prep activity that you can use to review any text type or skill. You can print a passage at poster size or have students carry a clipboard. Then you can display the questions around the hallway. Students can walk around alone or in groups to answer the questions using recording sheets or sticky notes. For open-ended questions, answering graffiti-style is a fun option.
Use Boom Cards
If you’re new to Boom Learning™ cards, you’ll definitely want to check them out! These self-checking digital task cards are a great way to get students practicing TEI skills. I love Boom cards for warm-up questions, exit tickets, and centers.
My fiction, nonfiction, and poetry comprehension practice has bite-sized passages with SOL-based questions. It’s still rigorous practice but it’s also fun!
Another great way to break up the routine is to get your students outside! They can write on a clipboard while sitting on a beach towel or write answers with chalk on the sidewalk. If you want to get more creative, you can plan relay races or scavenger hunts. Shorter daily review questions and task cards work great for this.
Try Color-by-Number Activities
Digital color-by-number activities are another engaging option for test prep. These color-by-code Google Forms™ cover word analysis strategies like context clues, homophones, affixes, and more. All of the questions are already built-in, so no extra passages or worksheets are needed. This also makes a fun partner activity!
Use Seasonal Practice Activities
Reading SOL review is just a little more fun when you bring in holidays and seasons. I love using passages and word analysis questions that incorporate spring and summer. Themes like baseball, carnivals, BBQs, swimming, and going to the zoo are a few options that you can work into your test prep.
Try a Review Theme or Transformation
Picking a theme or doing a classroom transformation is a sure-fire way to get kids excited to review for the test! This idea takes a lot more planning but can be a great way to engage your students. There are tons of ideas for this on Pinterest, from using glow-in-the-dark materials to turning your classroom into a campsite.
On the other hand, honestly, even the littlest things can make your test review more enjoyable. I’m talking colorful paper, jumbo sticky notes, scented markers, silly pens/pencils/erasers, and stickers. Spirit days like wearing school colors or hats (“thinking caps”) are great, too! That’s especially fun on a day when your students are taking a practice test.
If you want to save time, you can find all of my reading SOL resources right here!
When it comes to reading SOL review, I think both students and teachers need activities that won’t bore us to tears. What I love about these ideas is that you can still work in authentic SOL practice, so they aren’t just fluff. I hope you’ve found some new activities to try so you can jazz up your test prep routine!