There are about 43 Reading Development questions.
This section tests your knowledge on specific skills and instructional strategies related to reading and comprehension, including phonics, stages of reading development, and comprehension strategies.
Let’s look at some concepts that are guaranteed to come up on the test.
Concepts of Print
Concepts of print refers to a child’s understanding of how print and books work. It is considered a foundational skill for learning to read. Concepts of print include:
- Understanding that print and words have meaning
- Understanding that there is a difference between letters, words, and sentences
- Understanding that books have a front and back and are read from front to back
- The directionality of text (the idea that words and sentences are read from left to right and that when you get to the end of one line you start at the beginning of the next line)
Students need to have a basic understanding of these concepts before they are able to successfully read a book. You can check a student’s understanding of concepts of print by observing how they hold a book and turn the pages, checking to see if they track words with their fingers when they read, and by asking questions such as, “Can you point to a letter?” or “How many words are in this sentence?”
Automaticity is the ability to do something quickly and accurately, without having to think about it. In reading, this means that students are able to know letter names, letter sounds, and certain words “right away,” without having to pause to remember the letter or sound out the word.
Students in kindergarten and first grade are usually taught a list of high-frequency words, or “sight words,” that they should know with automaticity. Because these words are used so frequently in everyday language and in books, students will often struggle with reading and comprehension if they do not know these sight words with automaticity. Automaticity is important as students transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn” around second grade. If students are spending too much time trying to decode words, they will struggle with the comprehension aspect of reading.
Invented spelling is when children use their own knowledge of letters and sounds to create their best attempt at spelling a word correctly. Students go through stages of invented spelling as they are introduced to spelling patterns and phonics rules. For example, the sentence “I like school” might be spelled in the following ways as students transition through different stages of invented spelling:
- I lk sl
- I lik sul
- I like skool
- I like school
Invented spelling should be encouraged as students learn to write and spell because it allows students to build upon their knowledge of letters and sounds, helping to improve their phonological awareness.
Encouraging students to use invented spelling (rather than spelling a word for them) helps improve their ability to identify each sound in a word. It also allows them to use letter sounds and phonics rules that they already know, rather than introducing them to a spelling pattern before they are developmentally ready. For example, correcting a student’s spelling of “fone” to “phone” could be confusing for a student who has not been introduced to the /ph/ sound yet.
Consonant digraphs occur when two or three consonants make one single sound when put together. An example of a consonant digraph is the “ch” in “chair.” Consonant digraphs are different from consonant blends. Consonant blends are when two consonants make two different sounds, such as the “sn” in “snow.” In a digraph, the consonants only make one sound.
Digraphs should be explicitly taught to students as a pair of letters that make one sound so that students do not try to sound out each letter of the digraph individually. Some common consonant digraphs include: ch, ph, th, sh, tch, and wh.
Types of Comprehension
There are three main types of comprehension: literal, inferential, and evaluative. Each type of comprehension is explained below:
Literal: Literal comprehension involves understanding and recalling information that was explicitly stated in a reading passage or book. Of the three types of comprehension, literal comprehension is the most important for a student to acquire, because it provides the foundation for being able to answer other types of comprehension questions. If a student does not understand what is happening in a story on a literal level, they will be unable to make inferences or form opinions about what they have read.
Questions that assess a student’s literal comprehension might include: Who were the characters? What happened first? Next? Last?
Inferential: Inferential comprehension refers to a student’s ability to make inferences using their own background knowledge combined with what they have read. Questions that assess inferential comprehension might include: Why do you think the character did that? How did the character feel when this happened?
Evaluative: Evaluative comprehension involves a student responding to a book or text by combining what they have read with their own beliefs to form an opinion. A question used to assess evaluative comprehension might be: Do you agree with the author? Why or why not?
Story Elements of Fictional Text
Story elements of fictional text include characters, setting, problem, solution, plot, and theme. Story elements can be taught and reinforced by using graphic organizers and/or story maps. These teaching tools help students organize the sequence of the story and encourage them to look for each individual story element.
Teachers can also help students recognize story elements by incorporating questions into read alouds such as, “What was the problem in this story?” and “What was the solution to that problem?” Each story element is explained in more detail below:
- Characters: The people or animals in the story. A story can have several characters, but will usually have one or two main characters. Children’s books often have animals as characters or as main characters.
- Setting: Setting is where the story takes place. A story can have more than one setting, but usually has one main setting where most of the events happen.
- Plot: The plot refers to the way in which the sequence of events cause things to happen in the story and contribute to the overall “rise and fall” of the story.
- Problem and Solution: The problem can be explained to students as “the thing that needs to be fixed or solved,” and the solution is how that problem gets solved.
- Theme and Main Idea: While theme and main idea are often thought of as the same thing, they are slightly different. Main idea is what the story is mostly about. It is usually expressed in one or two sentences. Theme is the overall message or lesson that the author wants readers to take from the story. It is often expressed as one word or one thought such as, “Friendship” or “Treat others how you would like to be treated.”