January 17, 2019

14 Power Strategies to Boost Reading & Writing Achievement on Standardized Tests

In this era of high-stakes testing, it’s never been more important for students to enter into standardized assessments with essential skills and personal confidence. Throughout this two-day workshop, teachers in grades 3-12 will learn explicit literacy strategies students need in order to be successful on state and national assessments. (Specific reference will be made to the new SAT, ACT, and AP exams, Indiana assessment, PARCC, & Smarter Balanced assessments.)

The 14 Strategies



1) Read multiple texts in one sitting, juggling different author ideas.


2) Expect a variety of text-dependent questions that are presented in multiple formats.
3) Be familiar with academic vocabulary in order to accurately decode questions and prompts.
4) Attack questions with test-taking tips to identify the best answers.


5) Distinguish between what counts as evidence versus what are just details from the passage.
6) Follow a process for making inferences and answering questions, even when the text is complex.
7) Include explanations that demonstrate how evidence supports an inference.



8) Determine the main idea/theme of a passage and support it with textual evidence.
9) Read charts, graphs, and text features to gain information beyond what is stated in the passage.
10) Evaluate how an author feels about a topic by determining his viewpoint.
11) Draw comparisons across literature and informational texts.


12) Generate an informative or argumentative response after analyzing the literary qualities of a text.
13) Generate an on-demand research writing based on information gleaned from multiple texts.
14) Generate a narrative response that maintains the plot details from the original passage.

When you leave this 2-day workshop, you'll be able to:

  • Identify how today's assessments are different from previous tests.
  • Execute lessons to target Kristina's 14 Power Strategies for succeeding on standardized assessments.
  • Create a sequence of text-dependent questions that keep students rooted in the text and follow the same progression standardized assessments utilize.
  • Tweak your writing-about-reading tasks to mirror the constructed responses on standardized assessments.
  • Hone students' habits for citing specific and relevant evidence.
  • Prioritize the literacy skills that require explicit instruction.

Workshop Excerpts:

Free follow-up training video:

  • Teachers who attend both days of this Power Strategies workshop will be given a complimentary one-month subscription to Kristina's matching video on webPD: 3 Test-Prep Power Strategies (3-12).
  • During the complimentary subscription period, teachers are encouraged to share access with every colleague in their school, allowing the entire staff to learn key concepts from the workshop.


What are teachers saying about the Power Strategies workshop?

“I love that these tools don’t just teach to the test—they are just good practice, but they have big pay-offs.” Melissa Warner, teacher at Center Grove High School, Greenwood, IN

“I’ll be able to pump up our K-4 curriculum to enhance inferring.” Kristen Hankins, instructional coach at Fieler Elementary School, Merrillville, IN

“The workshop was amazing! Kristina provides no-prep activities to take into the classroom and start providing engaging reading/writing instruction immediately.” Kathy Ernst, teacher at Peotone Elementary School, Peotone, IL

Call Smekens Education toll free to learn more.
(888) 376-0448

$435 (Early Bird)  |  $460 (Standard)  

Also available as an online workshop!
On-demand access available immediately.  

Discounts available!
  • Register at least 15 days in advance and save up to $25!
  • For teams of 3+: Save $6 per person.
  • For teams of 10+: Contact our office for a 10% savings.

What's included in the registration fee?

Beyond two days of dynamic instruction, attendees also receive a binder of full-color materials and private access to exclusive web resources.

NOTE: Lodging fees and tuition for graduate credit are not included with registration.

Cancellations & Substitutions
Cancellations may occur up to 3 days prior to the selected workshop without penalty. A refund, minus a $50 service fee, will be paid for cancellations made within 3 days of the workshop. No refund will be given to registrants who fail to provide advance notice to Smekens Education of a cancellation. Substitutions may occur at any time. However, free registration (for principals) is non-transferable.

Courtyard by Marriott West

2350 Westbelt Dr
Columbus, OH 43228
(614) 771-8999

To receive discounted room rates, use this customized link. The group code is SMKR. Please make reservations at least 30 days in advance.
Discounted Room Rate: $99

Who attends 14 Power Strategies?

  • 3-12 English/Language Arts Teachers
  • 6-12 Content-Area Teachers
  • K-12 High-Ability Teachers
  • Teacher Leaders or Building-Level Coaches
  • Title I, Remediation, Special Education, & ELL Teachers
  • Building or District-Level Literacy Coordinators
  • Elementary & Secondary Principals
  • Curriculum Directors

Professional Growth Credits

Certified educators can earn professional growth credits for attending a Smekens Education workshop. All workshop attendees receive a certificate of participation for 5.25 hours of professional development for each one-day workshop. Visit our Continuing Education Credit page to learn more.

Graduate Credit


For an additional fee, attendees may earn three nationally accredited graduate-level credits from the Midwest Teachers Institute and their university partner, Colorado State University-Pueblo. These non-degree credits are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (Check with your district for approval prior to making a commitment.)

Midwest Teachers Institute (MTI)
3 credits/$375

  • Attendance at both days of the 14 Power Strategies, plus additional coursework related to the workshop, is required for credit.
  • MTI has an exclusive agreement with Colorado State University-Pueblo to provide teachers with an official transcript.
  • Colorado State University-Pueblo is nationally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. MTI courses through CSU-Pueblo are accepted in all 50 states.