For this section, you will need to know how to help students with the foundations of reading, such as sounding out a word and breaking a word into syllables.
Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.
Long and Short Vowels
Vowels (A, E, I, O, and U) can make short sounds or long sounds, depending on where the vowel is in the word and the letters surrounding that vowel.
A long vowel is when the vowel makes the same sound as the letter name. For example, the “a” in “gate” is a long vowel, because the “a” makes the sound of the letter name for “A”. Other long vowel examples include the “e” in “each,” the “i” in “bite,” the “o” in “tote,” and the “u” in “huge.”
Short vowel sounds are when the vowel makes the other sound that is not the name for that letter. Examples of short vowel sounds include the “a” in “bat,” the “e” in “hen,” the “i” in “big,” the “o” in “frog,” and the “u” in “bug.”
Homonyms are words that are spelled and pronounced the same but have different meanings. The meaning of the word is determined by the context of the rest of the sentence or paragraph. On the exam, you may be asked to identify words that are homonyms. The following are examples of homonyms:
bat (baseball bat OR animal)
right (correct OR the opposite of left)
lie (to lie down OR to say something that is not true)
Alphabetizing words (sometimes referred to as ABC order) involves putting words into an order based on the letters in the words and the order of those letters. Students need to understand alphabetical order to use dictionaries, glossaries, indexes, etc.
To put words into alphabetical order, start by looking at the first letter of each word. Any words that begin with an “A” will go first, followed by words that begin with a “B”, then “C”, and so on. If two or more words in a set start with the same letter, you will then look at the second letter and put those in order. If words begin with the same first and second letter, look to the third letter and continue until the letters are different.
The following words are in alphabetical order:
The word “march” goes before the word “math,” because “march” begins with m-a-r, while “math” begins with m-a-t.
Syllables are a way to separate words into single units of pronunciation. A syllable contains a vowel or vowel sound, as well as one or more consonants. A syllable can be thought of as a “beat” of a word, and students are often taught to clap out the syllables in a word to count how many syllables it has. Syllables are best learned through examples and practice. Here are some examples of words with different numbers of syllables:
1 syllable: reach, sky, his, cat
2 syllables: water (wa / ter), myself (my / self), teacher (teach / er)
3 syllables: dinosaur (di / no / saur), computer (com / pu / ter)
4 syllables: watermelon (wa / ter / mel / on), television (tel / e / vi / sion)
Syllables can help students read a word by decoding the word one syllable at a time.