It is among the most common of nightmares. You dream of taking a test for which you are completely unprepared -- you've never studied the material or even attended the course. For millions of American schoolchildren, it is a nightmare from which they cannot wake, a trial visited upon them each year when the law requires them to take reading tests with little preparation. Sure, formally preparing for reading tests has become more than just a ritual for schools. It is practically their raison d'etre! Yet students are not prepared in the way they need to be.