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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

The Only Good Part of Testing

is that students cannot wait for the testing to end so they can read.

Imagine a 55 minute test that has 95% of the students finished in 20. What will they do after testing? Nothing. They cannot read a book. They cannot turn their tests in early. They cannot write. They cannot draw. They must simply sit there. If they put their head down on the desk, fall asleep and drool – the teacher is in trouble for ruining the answer sheet.

Even during their ten minute break between parts 1 & 2 (AKA Parts A & B), they are not allowed to read. The inhumanity! Today was our fourth and final day of testing for third and fourth graders. Before the test started several had shown me their books they were currently reading. Many of the children were pleading to use their downtime to read. Some had checked their tests over 2 and 3 times and weren’t going to do any better with the extra time.

As soon as the test ended, they cheered with one arm and drug out books with the other. They couldn’t wait to get back to reading and learning something. They were fidgeting because they wanted out of those chairs and to be allowed back in the library to get new books. I watched as they stacked 4-5 titles each instead of the district’s suggested 2 titles. They had reading to catch up on and had been deprived by four days of testing.

So what did I do? I reminded them that when they grew up, they could become politicians and remember that testing was never as important as reading. They could vote to provide access to more reading materials and waste less time on testing materials if they believed reading was more important.

Shoutout! Hey, Michael Dahl, the students in Ms T’s third grade class want you to know that they think the Library of Doom serious is awesome, incredible, and very exciting. One even called it spine-tingling scary but not the kind that kept you up at night. I found homemade bookmarks and notes they sent each other describing where the books “lived” in the library and how to request a book be reserved.


  1. Thanks for the shout out to Michael–he’s at IRA signing copies of his new series, Troll Hunters. He’ll be thrilled to read about Ms. T’s class when he gets back online!