Worried about how you or your child will perform in NAPLAN?

NAPLAN (standing for National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy) consists of THREE exams:

1. Reading and Writing

2. Language Conventions

3. Numeracy

Previously, Year 9 students were required to reach the minimum standard of a Band 8 in their NAPLAN exams order to qualify for their HSC. If they didn’t reach it right away, they had six more attempts to do so through an online test.

However, Education Minister Rob Stokes announced in February 2018 that rather than tying NAPLAN to the HSC, amidst fears of “unnecessary pressure”, students are instead required to sit a separate online test to demonstrate they are able to meet the minimum standard required to obtain the HSC.

Regardless, that doesn’t mean it’s time to slack off. NAPLAN is still an important check-up, testing some pretty important skills for Year 10, 11 and 12.

This article is the first in a series of three articles breaking down each of the three literacy-based sections of NAPLAN – Reading, Writing and Language Conventions.

Make sure to check out our article on Year 9 NAPLAN Writing here and NAPLAN Language Conventions here!

Year 9 NAPLAN Reading: What to Expect

year 9 naplan

The Reading and Writing Year 9 NAPLAN exam is the FIRST test you will sit. It consists of two sections: Reading and Writing.

In the Reading section, you will be given a separate booklet containing around eight short texts from different text types. These can be anything from a short story extract, poem, magazine article or webpage, amongst others.

You will then be required to complete around 50 short-answer and multiple choice questions based on the texts.

This section is designed to test your reading comprehension skills; that is, how well you have understood the texts you have just read.

But how can I understand the different text types?

Let’s break it down!

NAP has published a set of criteria for each main type of text (narrative, poem, biographical text, information text, persuasive text). You will be assessed on how well you can meet these criteria in responding to the questions.

In the next section of this article, we will pull these criteria apart and get to the bottom of what they actually mean for you as the student.

When reading a narrative…

What does it mean?
Locate a directly stated detailThis one’s pretty self-explanatory – scan the text to find a specific detail.
Connect ideas across a paragraph or across the text to interpret a description or the motivation of characters.Think holistically to reach a broader understanding of the way something is being described, or why a character acts a certain way.

When we piece together the sentences of a single paragraph or paragraphs across the text, what does this tell us?

Infer the main ideaUsing what we already know from reading the text, what is its main idea?
Interpret and evaluate a character’s behaviour and attitudeWhy does a character think and act in a certain way?

Look at the way they talk, the way they are described, the way they interact with other characters, etc.

Interpret dialogue to describe a characterWhat can we learn about this character from their dialogue? What kind of language do they use and why?
Interpret the reasons for a character’s responseBased on what we know about the character, why might they respond to a particular person, event or situation in this way?
Connect ideas to interpret figurative languageThink holistically when interpreting figurative language – think of the bigger picture. Consider the overall themes and ideas of the story.

What is figurative language? Language that is non-literal, such as metaphors, similes, personification, etc.

Interpret the effect of a short sentenceShort sentences might be used for dramatic effect or in moments of heightened tension or emotion, for example.

Why else might an author use a short sentence?

When reading a poem…

What does it mean?
Identify the main idea of the poemWhat is the poet on about?!

Look at their subject matter, word choice, use of figurative language, structure, title… What are they writing about? What’s the message?

Poems are often tricky to interpret as they are often deliberately quite ambiguous. Many students are not used to reading this style of writing and therefore struggle. Try to read a few poems in preparation for NAPLAN. As you read, ask yourself what the poem is about. What are its key ideas? Does it have a message? The more you read, the more prepared you will be for whatever NAPLAN throws your way.

When reading a biographical text…

What does it mean?
Locate a directly stated idea in the textScan the text to find a specific idea referenced in the question.

Many biographical texts are chronological – that is, events are described in the order that they occurred. Use this to help you follow the sequence of events and locate a specific idea.

When reading an information text…

What does it mean?
Locate directly stated informationThis one’s pretty self-explanatory – scan the text to find a specific detail.
Connect ideas in the introduction of the text or in the body of the text and illustrations.Begin by separately identifying the main ideas in the introduction, body of the text and illustrations.

How do they relate to each other? Do they support each other? Do they challenge each other? Why? Consider the author’s purpose here too.

Identify the main purpose of a text or an element of the textWhy has the author written this text? Consider what they’re writing about and how they write about it. Are they trying to make a particular argument? Are they trying to give a particular impression of their subject? Why?
Identify the main idea of a paragraphLook to the first sentence (topic sentence) of a paragraph to ascertain its main idea.
Identify the purpose of a labelled diagramWhy was the diagram included? What is it trying to teach us? How might the text be different if the diagram was left out?
Identify the intended audience of the textWho was the text written for? Look at the subject matter and the kind of language that has been used. Is it accessible to everyone or is it clearly written for a very specific group?
Identify conventions used in the text, such as abbreviations or italics for a foreign wordIdentify these conventions and think about the effect they have. Why were they used?

When reading a persuasive text…

What does it mean?
Connect ideas across the text or in two argumentsWhat are these ideas? How do they relate to each other? Do they support each other or are they contradictory?
Identify the tone of an argumentWhat is the overall mood of the argument?

Is it forceful? Or is it more passive? Is it positive or negative?

Look at the author’s word choice and use of persuasive devices.

What next?

From here, jump online and access some practice Year 9 NAPLAN papers (you can find them here).

Try to complete these papers under the recommended time limits. If possible, get feedback from a teacher or tutor. Then, complete more papers until you are able to improve your initial score.

So there you have it! After reading this article, you should be feeling more confident than ever about hitting a Band 8 for Year 9 NAPLAN reading! You can do it!

Are you looking for some extra help with NAPLAN in 2018?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational NAPLAN coaches and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years 3-9 for NAPLAN, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today! 

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at info@artofsmart.com.au or check us out on Facebook!