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Reading Struggles? Here Are 4 Tips for Improving Standardized Reading Achievement Test Scores

Reading Struggles? Here Are 4 Tips for Improving Standardized Reading Achievement Test Scores

Just because your child is smart doesn't mean they're going to ace the ACTs or SATs. There are lots of factors that contribute to test performance results. Here are four of the most important with tips on how to help.


To keep cognitive function at its peak, the brain needs "good" fuel. Add the wrong kind of fuel (like processed sugars) or not enough fuel and it's not going to perform well. Children's brains burn through energy very, very rapidly and need consistent fuel. Feed them meals balanced with a portion of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fat. Look for ways to incorporate healthy "brain foods" into your family's diet on a regular basis such as beans, olive oil, walnuts, blueberries, and omega-3-rich fish like wild salmon, mackerel and tuna.


Extreme worry can cause physical responses in the body that hinder a child from performing well on a test. Teach your child relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or visualization (where they picture themselves doing well on a test). You can also go over material with a child the night before a test to help them feel prepared.


Sleep deprivation is known to decrease everything from attentiveness and response time to short-term memory and performance. The Nemours Foundation [AM1] recommends 10 hours of sleep for kids 6 to 9; 9 hours for 10- to 12-year-olds; and 8 to 9.5 for teens. Here's a handy chart to help you determine what time your child should go to bed.

Work to create relaxing routines (warm bath, time to unwind, reading) and try to stick to a schedule.

Encourage your child or teen to go to bed at the same time each night and avoid foods that contain sugar, food dyes or caffeine.


Standardized tests don't just quiz kids on what information they know; they also require them to have strong cognitive skills.

While knowledge is the information you acquire and memorize-such as math formulas-cognitive skills are the tools you need to learn, understand, and apply to those math formulas. They include auditory and visual processing, comprehension, logic and reasoning, processing speed, memory, and attention.

When taking timed tests, one of the most important cognitive skills is processing speed.

An analysis of LearningRx's ( ReadRx personal brain training program results found that after training, the group of students made statistically significant gains on tests of World Attack, Spelling Sounds, Sound Awareness and Passage Comprehension. Additionally, 91% of ReadRx program graduates who shared their state reading achievement tests with us showed improvement following brain training. The results have been published in LearningRx's 52-page 2020 edition of "Research Results & Client Outcomes," which can be downloaded here:

Enroll your child in a one-on-one cognitive skills training program to target the fundamental learning tools needed to excel on all types of timed tests. See if there is a location near you (online options available).