Welcome to the Foundations of Reading 190 Practice Test and Prep Guide! We’ve created this free resource to prepare you specifically for the 190. We’ll go over the key concepts you’ll need to know to pass your test.
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The Foundations of Reading 190 exam is the updated version of the Foundations of Reading 090 exam. It is not the same as the Praxis Teaching Reading: Elementary exam. If your state requires the Foundations of Reading, it’s likely that you are currently required to take the 190. Be sure to click on the correct state below to get the study guide that is exactly right for you!
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In this article, we will cover:
Foundations of Reading Exam Information
The Foundations of Reading 190 exam assesses test-takers’ knowledge of reading development in children and the skills needed to provide reading instruction. It was created by Pearson.
The test content is divided into four subareas.
Subareas 1, 2, and 3 together make up 80% of the exam and consist of 100 multiple-choice questions total.
Subarea 4 consists of two constructed-response questions (also referred to as open-response items, or assignments) which together make up 20% of your exam.
|Subarea||Approximate Percentage of Exam|
Time Limit: 4 hours
Scoring: Passing scores vary by state. (For example, Massachusetts requires a 240, and North Carolina requires a 233.)
Foundations of Reading Subarea 1: Foundations of Reading Development
This first subarea is the largest, accounting for 35% of the exam. It covers emergent literacy, beginning reading, and word analysis. We will review one key concept from each of those three topics.
For questions relating to emergent literacy, phonological and phonemic awareness are likely to come up.
Phonological awareness is a term that encompasses the ability to hear individual words, syllables, and sounds in spoken language. It involves the understanding that words can be broken into parts.
Students typically progress through the levels of phonological awareness in a predictable sequence.
- Rhyme Awareness / Alliteration
- rhyme – the ability to hear when words rhyme or sound the same at the end, like blue and flew
- alliteration – the ability to identify when words have the same first sound, like candy and cookie
- Word Awareness – knowing that individual words make up a sentence
- Syllable Awareness – the ability to hear the individual units with vowel sounds that make up a word
- Onset-Rime Production – hearing the sounds or sounds before the vowel in a syllable as the onset, and the vowel sound and everything after it as the rime
- Phonemic Awareness – the ability to hear and use individual units of sounds, or phonemes
Phonemic awareness is a subcategory of phonological awareness and is made up of its own set of skills.
- Phoneme Isolation – the ability to separate a single sound in a position of a word
- Phoneme Blending – the ability to blend individual sounds to make a word
- Phoneme Segmentation – the ability to break down a word into separate sounds
- Phoneme Addition – the ability to add one phoneme to a word
- Phoneme Deletion – the ability to remove a phoneme from a word
- Phoneme Substitution – the ability to replace a phoneme in a word with another
Beginning reading includes several phonics concepts to know, such as sight words and high-frequency words.
- Sight words are words that students are expected to know without decoding. When a word is very common but isn’t decodable, memorization (recognizing it by sight) stops the word from inhibiting student progression through a text.
- Examples: some, was, what
- High-frequency words are words that may or may not be decodable but appear in text so often that it is best for students to know them by sight instead of decoding them repeatedly.
- Examples for a beginning-of-year first-grader: know, fly, went
Under Word Analysis, you’ll need to know how to teach students morphemic analysis, which is the process of determining the meaning of a word by breaking it into parts, or morphemes.
Morphemes are categorized as roots and affixes.
- Roots are the bases to which affixes may be attached. They provide the core meaning of a word.
- Affixes are morphemes that can be attached to roots to modify them. An affix cannot stand alone as its own word.
- Affixes can be categorized as prefixes (which come before the root) and suffixes (which come after the root).
Let’s analyze the word unacceptable:
- The root is accept, which is a verb that means to agree or take something that is offered
- Along with the root, unacceptable contains both a prefix and a suffix
- The prefix un- means not or changes the root to its opposite meaning
- The suffix -able means capable of, and also changes the root from a verb to an adjective
- So the word unacceptable is an adjective describing something offered that someone cannot or does not want to take
Fluency also comes up in this subarea. You’ll need to understand the components of reading fluency (accuracy, prosody, and speed) as well as be able to identify assessment measures and strategies to promote fluency. We cover all of that in our Foundations of Reading 190 Study Guide.
Foundations of Reading Subarea 2: Development of Reading Comprehension
The second subarea covers both vocabulary and reading comprehension. We’ll break down a key concept from vocabulary development first.
Most vocabulary is learned indirectly, as students are involved in more oral language and reading experiences. But some vocabulary words (especially those academic in nature) must be taught directly. Strategies that can enhance students direct vocabulary development include:
- Teach new/unfamiliar vocabulary from a text before having students read the text. Focus on words that support the big ideas in the text.
- Provide ways to actively engage students with new vocabulary. This engagement might include a graphic organizer such as a simple concept map, like the Frayer Model.
- Have students add new vocabulary to a student-developed dictionary or journal. They can paraphrase the definition or draw a simple picture that will help them remember it.
- It is important that students repeatedly use the new words in various contexts in order for them to really learn the vocabulary and meanings. Children are more likely to understand and remember these meanings the more they see, hear, and use the new vocabulary.
- Provide a word wall with words and images.
A specific term that you may see on your exam is idiom. Idioms are commonly used expressions that have a figurative meaning and don’t make sense literally. Examples include:
- “I’m just pulling your leg.”
- “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
- “That’s the last straw.”
To help students learn the meaning of idioms, teach them to use context clues. Help students understand how to recognize and use clues in the surrounding text using partner or whole group discussion. In order for students not to get overwhelmed, focus on only one or two new idioms at a time.
Under comprehension, you’ll need to understand how to develop students’ skills when reading both literary and informational texts, at all three levels of comprehension.
Literal comprehension – Readers understand the facts from the text, like recalling details.
Inferential comprehension – Readers can infer or understand parts of what has been read without it being stated explicitly, like making predictions.
Evaluative comprehension – Readers evaluate or analyze the text through questioning, like when they analyze character development.
An effective tool to use when promoting reading comprehension is a graphic organizer. There are many different kinds, and they work with all different types of texts.
Sequencing maps, concept maps, and Venn diagrams are examples that work as organizational tools for mapping the structure of a text or making connections between ideas.
On the Foundations of Reading test, you might be given a passage or a learning objective and asked to identify the graphic organizer that is most appropriate to use.
Essentially, comprehension is when students move from learning to read to reading to learn. There are many more strategies to know for developing reading comprehension. Our Foundations of Reading Study Guide has plenty for you to review, so you can be confident that you’re prepared for this portion of your exam.
Foundations of Reading Subarea 3: Reading Assessment and Instruction
In this portion of the exam, you’ll need to know how to assess the skills covered in the first two subareas. For example, to assess phonics skills, a word list or nonsense word assessment may be necessary. To assess fluency, a teacher may choose to use oral timed reading.
Be prepared to distinguish between types of assessments, such as formative and summative, informal and formal, diagnostic and screening, and criterion-referenced and norm-referenced. Let’s delve into those last two types:
- Criterion-referenced assessments compare student performance to a predetermined standard, which is a criteria. Scores on these types of tests come in the form of a percentage. Tests administered at the end of an instructional unit and state achievement tests are common examples.
- Norm-referenced assessments compare students to each other and rank them according to performance. Scores on these types of tests come in the form of a percentile, grade-level equivalency, or stanine using a normal bell-shaped curve. Common examples include the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT and Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests.
To get accurate data from an assessment, it needs to be fair. To be prepared for assessment questions on the 190 exam, review the following components of fair assessment.
- Validity – Assessments should measure what they intend to measure. Students should be assessed on what they have been taught. They should also be assessed at the same level at which they were taught.
- Congruence – Assessment congruence is associated with validity. Instruction is congruent when teachers assure that learning objectives outlined at the beginning of an instructional unit align with how students will be assessed.
- Reliability – Assessments should produce consistent results that can be replicated. When given a reliable test, students should produce the same score when given the same test in similar conditions.
- Clarity of Language – The language used should be at an appropriate vocabulary level for students, and slang terms should be avoided. Students shouldn’t get the question wrong because they can’t figure out what is being asked. Students should have a clear understanding of what to do to demonstrate their knowledge of the topic.
- Freedom from Bias – Test items should not offend or penalize students due to their background or culture. Considering student diversity is essential when considering potential bias in an assessment. Teachers cannot assume students have the background knowledge needed to fully understand questions they may encounter.
Foundations of Reading Subarea 4: Integration of Knowledge and Understanding
The last subarea only consists of two constructed-response questions, or assignments. They are case studies, each focused on one student. The first assignment focuses on a student who has a weakness in foundational reading skills, and the second will involve a weakness in reading comprehension.
Each prompt will include one or two exhibits, which are documents related to the student. We expect that you will always have the same four tasks:
- Task 1: Identify a strength
- Task 2: Identify the need
- Task 3: Select the instructional strategy, activity, or intervention to address the need
- Task 4: Explain the effectiveness of your strategy
We recommend writing one paragraph for each task and addressing the tasks in the order in which they were given in the prompt.
Luckily, the 240 study guide has you covered with tips sections overviewing the most common weaknesses and corresponding strategies to use, along with multiple full-length practice prompts and sample responses. We’ll give you a look at one part of a practice prompt now. Below is a sample assignment, along with a sample outline and model response.
Example Prompt: Assignment 1
Use the information in each exhibit to complete the assignment below.
Using your knowledge of foundational reading skills (e.g., phonemic awareness, phonics, recognition of high-frequency words, syllabication, morphemic analysis, automaticity, reading fluency [i.e., accuracy, rate, and prosody], self-correcting), write a response of approximately 150–300 words in which you:
- identify one significant strength that Mike demonstrates related to foundational reading skills;
- identify one significant need that Mike demonstrates related to foundational reading skills;
- based on the need you identified, describe an appropriate instructional strategy, activity, or intervention to use with Mike; and
- explain why the instructional strategy, activity, or intervention you described would be effective for Mike.
Be sure to cite specific evidence from the information provided to support all parts of your response.
Exhibit 1: Running Record
During the first six weeks of the school year, Mike, a first-grade student, reads aloud a passage from an unfamiliar narrative text. As Mike reads, the teacher notes his performance on a separate copy of the text. Below is the teacher’s record of Mike’s oral reading performance.
Exhibit 2: Word Analysis
During this assessment, the teacher met individually with each student in the class and had them read from a word list. As the student read each word on their own paper, the teacher recorded the student’s performance on another copy of the list. The teacher puts a checkmark next to words the student reads correctly and records student errors using phonetic notation. Below is a copy of the teacher’s notes from Mike’s word analysis assessment.
|Target Word||Student Reads|
|– Misreading words beginning with gl and cr|
– said gills for glass
– crown as clown
|– Introduce blends using flash cards, then provide scaffolding while student reads target words|
– Then have student read short texts to reach independence
|– Mike will be able to see how to blend the sounds correctly|
-Practice in reading words with blends will increase his automaticity and accuracy
Mike shows strength in reading high-frequency words. He successfully reads go, see, can, and what from the word list, which are all sight words that should be mastered by the beginning of first grade. But Mike misreads several words, including saying gills for glass. He repeatedly misses words containing common consonant blends, such as gl or cr. In Mike’s reading of “The Cranky Crab,” he also misreads words containing the consonant blend cr, such as reading crown as clown and cry as why. This shows Mike requires intervention in the area of decoding initial consonant blends in words.
To address Mike’s foundational reading weakness concerning consonant blends, the teacher should use flashcards to scaffold instruction in a small group. First, the teacher should introduce the consonant blends (cr, gr, sp, gl) in isolation, one at a time, using the cards. The teacher should then model blending the word while dragging her finger underneath it. Then Mike could complete scaffolded practice exercises with a partner to read words containing these blends (crab, grapes) using the cards. Finally, Mike should read short texts containing these blends independently to practice and work on automaticity.
The use of consonant blend flashcards will help Mike practice each consonant blend in isolation and recognize how to blend the words correctly. When the student is able to blend consonant sounds correctly and efficiently, the student will read more words correctly and increase his automaticity. Repeated use of the consonant blend flashcards will help the student read on-level texts accurately and independently.
Remember that your exam will include a second assignment, involving a student struggling with an aspect of reading comprehension. To see those prompts, subscribe to 240’s comprehensive study guide!
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