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Excelling on the Grade 10 FCAT in Reading applies the results of the latest educational research to help tenth graders improve their reading skills. Recent educational research has found that familiarity with the test format and mastery of the content and skills being measured significantly affect student scores on both norm and criterion-referenced assessments. Teachers can rely on this book to provide practice and review for students in order to significantly bolster student scores on the Grade 10 FCAT in Reading.


This book is divided into three main parts: (i) tools for reading; (ii) preparing for the FCAT; and (iii) a practice final test. A brief summary of each part follows:


The introduction consists of two chapters. The first chapter provides a practice pretest to familiarize students with the kinds of readings and questions found on the FCAT. The pretest can help students pinpoint their weaknesses and guide their preparation for the test. Chapter 2 reviews the key strategies of good readers: for example, to ask questions, summarize, make predictions, and connect new information with existing schemata. In addition, students learn how to take notes and practice their note-taking skills.


The main part of the book is organized in the same "clusters" used by Florida for grouping its benchmarks. Each cluster has one or more chapters, depending on how many benchmarks it covers.

Cluster I: Words and Phrases in Context

This cluster examines the variety of ways in which FCAT vocabulary questions may appear. Students learn how to use context clues and word analysis to answer vocabulary questions.

Cluster II: Main Idea, Plot and Author's Purpose

In this cluster you will find three chapters. Chapter 4 looks at how to answer questions dealing with finding the main idea, the author's purpose and point of view. Chapter 5 examines questions on plot development in a literary passage (such as identifying the main problem and how it is resolved), questions on the setting and characters, questions about the tone of a literary work, and questions about poetry. Chapter 6 is devoted to answering short and extended-response questions. Students learn how to analyze the question, gather information from the reading, plan their answers, and write and revise their responses. Students also review the rubric that will be used to evaluate their answers.

(3) Cluster III: Comparisons and Cause-and-Effect Questions

This cluster consists of two chapters that help students answer questions on comparing texts and textual elements and on cause-and-effect relationships.

(4) Cluster IV: Reference and Research

This cluster explores how to evaluate information for validity and reliability, use information for "real world" tasks, and interpret and synthesize information from multiple sources. Students review how to interpret information from a variety of formats including maps, pictures, diagrams, tables, graphs, and timelines.

Most of the chapters in this part of the book follow a similar pattern of development: students are first shown the different types of questions used to test a particular benchmark (for example, "why did the author write this passage?" to test an understanding of the author's purpose LA. A. 2.4.2). For each type of question, students are presented with a sample question and an explanation of the answer. This is followed by an Unlocking the Answer feature, which gives a step-by-step approach for answering that type of question. This is followed by further practice questions either at the end of the section or the end of the chapter.


This final unit provides a complete practice test which accurately reflects the level of difficulty and question distribution of the real Grade 10 FCAT in Reading. Students are asked to read passages and answer multiple-choice, short-response, and extended-response questions in two sessions. Every question is identified by the Sunshine State Standard Benchmark it tests on the chart on page 154. This practice test serves to identify any remaining student weaknesses that need further practice and review, and will boost student confidence on the actual FCAT.

Excelling on the Grade 10 FCAT in Reading further implements all of the recommendations of the recent statewide task force in Lessons Learned - FCAT Reading.

  1. The book teaches the full scope of every assessed benchmark.
  2. It uses a wide range of reading materials representing diverse cultures, genres, ability levels and interests.
  3. The book models pre-reading through post-reading strategies with an emphasis on informational (expository) text.
  4. It allows students to move from basic comprehension to high-level cognitive and critical reading skills, and provides students with practice in answering high-order questions.
  5. The book uses a full range of reading assessments to guide instruction and measure student progress, while offering students practice in answering questions on passages that are "somewhat lengthy."
  6. It enhances vocabulary instruction by explicitly teaching independent word-learning strategies, including explicit teaching of the meanings of word parts.
  7. The book provides students with practice using strategies in making inferences, determining the validity of information, and identifying the author's purpose and potential author bias.
  8. It helps students develop appropriate strategies to determine the relevance of information presented in a variety of texts.
  9. The book provides practice with both short-response and extended-response questions in all content areas, while emphasizing the importance of using text-based support in student answers.

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