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 online workshop built from a two-day live workshop, teachers will learn explicit literacy strategies students need in order to be successful on state and national assessments. (Specific references will be made to the new SAT, ACT, and AP exams, Indiana assessment, PARCC, & Smarter Balanced assessments.)


Step 1

a Viewing Option

Pick between "Verified" and "Flexible" viewing options.
Step 2

Strategies that Work

Watch the on-demand videos at your own pace.
Step 3

Every Student

Implement what you learned right away!



Three reasons to enroll:

1. High-stakes testing affects everyone.
How students perform on standardized reading and writing tests has far-reaching implications for students, teachers, and schools. Insights into the requirements for test success are needed now more than ever before.

2. Success on standardized tests is only part of the goal.
With mastery of academic standards as the ultimate goal, targeted and intentional preparation for the state assessment helps students improve as readers and writers for the test and beyond.

3. Success on the test requires explicit instruction.
Kristina Smekens will share strategies to embed rigorous reading and writing instruction into your yearlong curriculum so that students are equipped with the most essential literacy skills.

When you complete the 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.

Top questions teachers ask about preparing for standardized assessments:

  • What's different about the testing expectations under the new standards than those assessments administered previously?
  • How can I intentionally prepare students for the state assessment without simply "teaching to the test"?
  • How should I prioritize my yearlong planning so that students are adequately prepared for the state assessment?
  • Beyond the English/language arts curriculum, what can be done in the content areas to cultivate critical reading and writing skills?
  • How can I differentiate my instruction to help struggling readers pass the test?
  • For my high-ability students, what unique instruction do they need in order to exceed expectations on state assessments?
Learn the answers to these questions and many more!


What teachers are saying about this 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

“Your strategies will help me teach smarter, not harder.”
Nancy Bontreger, ESL teacher at Concord West Side Elementary School, Elkhart, 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

“Fantastic new information, strategies, analogies, and easy-to-remember acronyms! I’m eager to incorporate this into my plans!”
Kaitlin Kenny, teacher at Saint James School, Arlington Heights, IL

“The content was incredibly helpful! Many strategies were simple and easy but precise with a clear target in mind. I will be a better educator because of this training!”
Meagan Joyner, ELL teacher at Henderson County High School, Henderson, KY

“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

Frequently asked questions:

Once I register, when does my access start?

Once I register, when does my access start?

Immediately! Once you register and submit payment, you will be redirected to the workshop page which contains all the videos included in your workshop enrollment.
How long do I have access to the workshop?

How long do I have access to the workshop?

Once you enroll in the 14 Power Strategies online workshop, you can access the content for 60 days. The self-paced format means you determine how fast or slow you move through the workshop.

Your workshop registration also comes with lifetime access to exclusive digital resources in the "Secret Site" that accompanies this workshop. Here you'll find classroom-ready worksheets and blackline masters, along with videos and articles to take your learning further. Teachers love the way the "Secret Site" helps them implement what they learn in the workshop. 

Online workshops secret site

Can I share my workshop with colleagues?

Can I share my workshop with colleagues?

Sorry, online workshop sharing is not allowed. Our Terms of Use specify that one registration fee allows access for just one person. However, we are happy to offer group discounts. Give us a call at (888) 376-0448 to get the details. 
Can I get continuing education credits?

Can I get continuing education credits?

Most likely! With prior approval from your school district, participants may receive credit for up to 10 hours of professional development for each workshop. A Certificate of Completion is provided to participants when they complete all aspects of the workshop. For possible Illinois-approved credit, please contact our office.

Note: A Certificate of Completion is only provided when you complete the Verified View option for this workshop. 
Can I earn graduate-level units for 14 Power Strategies to Boost Reading & Writing Achievement on Standardized Tests?

Can I earn graduate-level units?

Graduate-level units for 14 Power Strategies to Boost Reading & Writing Achievement on Standardized Tests
Thanks to a partnership with the University of the Pacific, educators who enroll in a webAcademy workshop can earn 1, 2, or 3 graduate-level units. (To earn graduate-level units, participants must select the "Verified View" enrollment option. Graduate-level units cost is separate from registration fees. Units are $62 each.)

Graduate-level units offered through the University of the Pacific are non-degree units which are designed for professional certification renewals and salary step increases. (These are post-baccalaureate professional development semester units of non-degree graduate level and are not applicable to a degree at University of the Pacific.) To learn more, contact us by email or call (888) 376-0448.
What if I am unhappy with the workshop?

What if I am unhappy with the workshop?

We would never want you to be unhappy! That’s why every online workshop comes with a 100% money back guarantee. We are convinced the simple and effective strategies will transform the way you teach so we stand behind this workshop with full confidence. If you aren’t satisfied, contact me within the first ten days of your purchase, and I will give you a refund immediately. There are no additional forms to fill out, and there will be no delay. Just call (888) 376-0448 and ask for Brady or email me directly. We believe so strongly in this online workshop that we give you our personal promise of a speedy, hassle-free, no-questions-asked, total and complete refund.

Brady Smekens
Director of Professional Development
Smekens Education Solutions, Inc.


Register Now

Immediate access: $264


Discounts available!

  • Teams of 3+: Save $15 per person.
  • Teams of 15+: Call us at (888) 376-0448 for custom pricing

What's included with your registration?

  • 60-day access to the workshop
  • 10+ hours of dynamic workshop content
  • Lifetime access to classroom-ready digital resources
Target Audience
  • 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

Have a question?
Simply fill out the form below.