Bridging to STAAR During Independent Reading

Alyssa Toomes

In this session, teachers will build a collection of entries in their reading notebooks designed to be models for students as to how to respond to STAAR-like questions about their independent reading.



  1. Stay on schedule; be on time.
  2. Participate actively.
  3. Take care of yourself and your table partners.
  4. What is said here, stays here; what is learned here leaves here.
  5. Prepare technology for learning.
  6. It's OK to have fun!


STAAR data

Examining STAAR- like questions

Writing About Reading Using STAAR question labels

Assessing Writing About Reading

What are students doing during independent reading?

What are students NOT doing during independent reading?

Making a Meaningful Scaffold


Today you will have the opportunity to practice using some examples of these labels as a way to build your own writer's notebook.

CCISD's Commitment to You...

Independent reading time needs to align with thinking expectations of the STAAR test. In the past we have provided temporary scaffolds that were meant as support for the student to prepare them for the language of the test and the higher level thinking being asked of them. Unfortunately, these scaffolds have not had the intended effect on student performance. CCISD is committed to supporting teachers in solving this issue. Each ELA teacher in 3rd-5th Grade will receive pre-printed labels with STAAR-like questions for each reading unit taught.


April 2014 STAAR Reading Data

Grade                 Passing               Advanced          Economically Dis.                            3rd                         86%                      25%                          75%

4th                         86%                      26%                          74%

5th                         89%                      33%                          78%

6th                         87%                      25%                          74%

So why aren't we getting the results for which we have worked so hard to achieve?

What Does a STAAR Question Look Like?

2. Read this sentence.

Marvin's parents looked at Marvin, first on the TV, and then on the stairs.

What are Marvin’s parents most likely thinking at this point in the story?

F     They hope that Marvin will become a leader someday.

G     They realize that Marvin had wanted to tell them something important.

H    They wish that Marvin had asked the president a better question.

J     They wonder why Marvin didn’t tell them about meeting the president

What do you notice about the RIGOR of STAAR?

  • How can we assist  kids as they attempt to perform at this level?
  • What are some ways you have supported students doing this level of thinking?
  • How can we improve the level of thinking our students are expected to do during independent reading?

Let's look at some examples of responses to STAAR-like question labels......

Responding to STAAR-like Questions in Our Notebooks

  1. Choose a question label to respond to using the mentor text: The Babe and I.
  2. Choose another question label and respond to a NF article.
  3. Choose another question label and respond using any mentor text you brought today.

Assessing Writing About Reading Using STAAR-like Questions

Make your own rubric and share in the comment stream below.

Need extra support?