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MTEL Foundations of Reading Ultimate Guide 2018-12-04T19:07:04+00:00

MTEL Foundations of Reading: Ultimate Guide and Practice Test

Preparing to take the MTEL Foundations of Reading exam?

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MTEL Foundations of Reading Test Overview

Quick Facts

Subarea I: Foundations of Reading Development

Subarea II: Development of Reading Comprehension

Subarea III: Reading Assessment and Instruction

 Subarea IV: Integration of Knowledge and Understanding

MTEL Foundations of Reading Quick Facts

Overview:

The Foundations of Reading test is designed to measure a candidate’s knowledge of the reading and language arts required for the Massachusetts Early Childhood, Elementary, and Moderate Disabilities licenses.

Format:

https://www.mtel.nesinc.com/Content/StudyGuide/MA_SG_OBJ_90.htm

Cost:

$139.00

Scoring:

Candidates applying for Massachusetts licensure must score 240 or higher to pass the test. Your score is based on the number of items answered correctly across all subareas of the test and is converted to a scale that ranges from 100-300. You will receive a report that details your performance on each subarea section of the test for both open-ended response items, as well as the multiple-choice sections.  

Pass rate:

Out of the 4,136 candidates who took the Foundations of Reading exam during the 2016-2017 year, 65.9% passed.

Study time:

To pass the test, there is no set time to study. It depends on the strengths and weaknesses of the participant in relation to the skills covered on the test.

Plan a course of study by focusing on your weaknesses. The best way is to review the 240Tutoring materials.

What test-takers wish they would’ve known:

  • Test-takers tend to overestimate their abilities to perform well. Many students regret not putting more time and effort into preparing. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid this mistake by using test preparation materials.
  • When answering the multiple-choice questions, you should read all possible answers before marking the correct one. You don’t want to miss out on the best answer by not reading all of the responses!
  • Always check your answer before moving to the next question. Many test-takers are surprised by how they’re able to find overlooked errors in their work by using this strategy.

Information and screenshots obtained from the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure website: http://www.mtel.nesinc.com/Home.aspx

Subarea I: Foundations of Reading Development

Overview

Subarea I accounts for about 35% of the exam.

This subarea has four objectives:

  • Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
  • Concepts of Print and the Alphabetic Principle
  • Phonics
  • Word Analysis

       

So, let’s start with Phonological and Phonemic Awareness.

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

This section tests your knowledge on phonological and phonemic awareness including but not limited to:

  • the difference between phonological and phonemic awareness
  • strategies to support phonological and phonemic awareness skills
  • levels of phonological and phonemic awareness skills

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness can be described as a student’s ability to recognize and work with sounds. It is a vital skill necessary for reading success.

Phonological awareness can be broken into three components:

  • the onset/rime structure of words (the word hat has an onset of “h” followed by the rime of “at”)
  • how words can be broken into syllables
  • how sentences can be broken into words

Reading begins when students tune into the sounds of spoken language; this is why phonological awareness is so important to a child’s reading success.

During the earliest stages of developing phonological awareness, children can pick out rhyming words and count the number of syllables in a name. Children will also be able to notice when sounds repeat themselves (alliteration). For example:

Sally sold seven savory sandwiches.

In a more developed stage, phonological awareness transitions from being aware to doing. For example, rather than just being aware of rhyming words, children can generate rhyming words, as well as break words apart into single sounds (syllables).

Phonological awareness instruction should include:

  • modeling how to say each sound
  • quick error correction
  • individual assessments
  • explicit instruction before and during instruction
  • guided practice and review
  • different types of activities
  • use of concrete objects (puppets, counters, cue cards, etc.)

Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the ability to recognize, contemplate, and work with individual sounds. Instruction in phonemic awareness should be focused on helping children recognize and work with phonemes.

Take a look at the normal progression of phonemic awareness skills:

  1. develop an awareness of sounds
  2. blend words with a prompt (rain + bow → rainbow)
  3. blend single syllable words with a prompt (/h-a-t/ → hat)
  4. recognize similar sounds (/ch/ in cheese and /ch/ in chair)
  5. break apart one-syllable words (hat → /h-a-t/)
  6. isolate the beginning sound of a word (identify /d/ as the first sound in dog)
  7. change the beginning sound to create new words (change hat → sat, bat, cat)
  8. isolate the final sound of a word (identify /t/ as the ending sound in hat)
  9. change the ending sound to form new words (change had → hat)
  10. isolate the middle vowel sound (identify /o/ as the middle sound in hop)
  1.      blend two-syllable words (blend /p-o-c-k-e-t/ → pocket)
  2. rhyme one-syllable words (hat, bat, sat, pat, cat)

Blending

Blending is the skill of combining sounds to make a written or spoken word. It’s a specific phonemic awareness skill that needs to be taught early on. Blending is necessary for fluent reading, so words can be decoded effectively.

Take a look at these examples of blending:

/h-a-t/ → hat

/m-i-t/ → mit

/t-u-b/ → tub

Concepts of Print and the Alphabetic Principle

This section tests your knowledge of the alphabetic principle and concepts of print. This includes but is not limited to:

  • environmental print
  • tracking
  • upper and lowercase letters
  • book handling skills
  • strategies to teach the awareness of the relationship between spoken and written words

Let’s look at some concepts that are guaranteed to come up on the test.

Environmental Print

Environmental print is the print of everyday life. It’s what we call print that appears on signs, labels, and logos. For many children learning to read, environmental print helps form a connection between letters and sounds. For example:

A child who sees the KFC sign recognizes the letters K, F, and C and makes a connection between those letters and the first sounds in Kentucky, Fried, and Chicken.

Alphabetic Principle

The alphabetic principle is the idea that letter patterns and single letters represent sounds of spoken words. Once children understand the relationship between sounds and letters, they are equipped to read with greater fluency. For example:

The word hat is made up of the sounds /hhhh/, /aaaa/, and /tttt/

Tracking

Tracking is the ability to read and write from left-to-right. Children who track efficiently will look at AND process words and letters in order from left-to-right. This is an essential reading skill, because letters and words will not have the correct relationships if students are not tracking properly.

Phonics

This section tests your knowledge of the role of phonics in promoting reading development. This includes but is not limited to:

  • automaticity
  • decoding vs. encoding
  • fluency
  • common word patterns
  • blending letter sounds

Let’s look at some concepts that are guaranteed to come up on the test.

Automaticity

Automaticity is the ability to quickly AND accurately identify words. Automaticity develops more and more as children read. It does not include reading with expression and is not the same thing as reading fluency. Automaticity is necessary for developing fluency so that children can read with better expression and more fluidly.

Decoding versus Encoding

  • Decoding is converting symbols (letters) to sounds in spoken language.
  • Encoding is converting sounds to symbols (letters/words) in written language.

Decoding and encoding rely on a student’s phonological awareness which includes their understanding of sounds, letters, and how both work together to create spoken and written language.  

Fluency

Fluency is the ability to read text quickly, accurately, and with expression. Fluency is important, because it provides the bridge between recognizing a word and understanding the context and meaning of the word.

Here are the components of fluency:

  • prosody– reading sentences/words with the appropriate expression
  • accuracy– reading words correctly
  • automaticity– reading words accurately and quickly

Let’s look at some strategies for effective fluency instruction:

  • pre-teach vocabulary
  • provide a variety of books and materials to read
  • record students reading aloud
  • instruct students to track using a ruler or finger
  • drill sight words
  • provide opportunities for students to reread materials
  • read aloud to students consistently

Common Word Patterns

Word patterns are predictable patterns of sounds (consonants and vowels) that form words.

For example:

CVC- A consonant is followed by a vowel and another consonant to create a syllable, usually with a short vowel sound (bat, top, kid).

CVCe- Same as above, but a silent e is found at the end of the word. This usually makes the vowel of the word long (hike, tone, make).

CVCC- Here you have words that end with two consonants (cart, best, half).

Understanding word patterns strengthens a child’s phonological and phonemic awareness which, in turn, strengthens a child’s reading fluency.

Word Analysis

This section tests your knowledge of word analysis skills and strategies. This includes but is not limited to:

  • context clues
  • syllabication
  • homographs
  • spelling patterns
  • compound words and homographs
  • using context clues to identify multiple meaning words
  • recognizing common prefixes and their meanings

Here are some specific concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Context Clues

Context clues are the part of reading comprehension that involves using the other words in a sentence or passage to understand an unknown word or words. Usually, a writer will include hints to help the reader understand the meaning of the word or phrase. When children use context clues to help them identify words, they use pictures or sentence context. For example:

Bob put his jacket on.

This sentence would probably be on the same page with a picture of Bob putting his jacket on. A child may not recognize the word jacket, but the picture helps with identifying the unknown word.

Syllabication

Syllabication is the division of words into syllables; this makes unfamiliar words easier to read. It is important to remember that a syllable has a vowel sound, so each syllable will contain a vowel. For example, the word mumble has two vowels (u,e) and can be broken into two syllables:

mum/ble

Homographs

A homograph is a word that has the same spelling as another word but has a different sound and a different meaning.

Let’s look at some examples:

  • lead (to go in front of) and lead (a metal)
  • wind (to follow a course that is not straight) and wind (a gust of air)
  • bass (low, deep sound) and bass (a type of fish)

Students must use context clues when identifying the appropriate use of homographs.

Subarea II: Development of Reading Comprehension

Overview

Subarea II accounts for about 27% of the exam.

This subarea has three objectives:

  • Vocabulary
  • Comprehension and Imaginative/Literary Texts
  • Comprehension and Informational/Expository Texts

So, let’s start with Vocabulary.

Vocabulary

This section tests your knowledge on vocabulary development. This includes but is not limited to:

  • knowing the relationship between oral and written vocabulary development
  • understanding common sayings including idioms and proverbs
  • knowing foreign words and commonly used abbreviations
  • understanding strategies for promoting comprehension across curriculum by expanding knowledge of academic vocabulary

Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.

Word Maps

A word map is a way to visually organize vocabulary that specifically promotes vocabulary development. Word maps aid in students’ vocabulary development, because they encourage the students to think about vocabulary terms and concepts in several ways. They also help students build on prior knowledge, as well as visually represent new information.

Most word maps require students to:

  • define the word
  • list synonyms and antonyms for the word
  • draw a picture to represent the word or concept

Take a look at an example of a word map here.

Academic Vocabulary

Academic vocabulary refers to words that are commonly used in the classroom. These types of words are used to explain a concept but are not typically used in non-academic conversations.  

Here are some examples of academic vocabulary:

  • analyze
  • category
  • cite
  • label
  • summarize
  • contrast
  • conclude
  • contrast
  • structure

Oral Language Development

Oral language refers to the system through which we use spoken words to express what we know, our ideas, and our feelings. It is vital that young readers develop strong oral language skills, because listening and speaking skills have a strong connection to writing and reading comprehension.

Here are the components of oral language:

  • morphological skills- understanding the meaning of word forms and parts
  • phonological skills- the awareness of sounds
  • syntax- understanding word order and grammar rules
  • pragmatics- understanding the social norms of spoken and written language
  • semantics (vocabulary)- understanding the meaning of words and phrases

Let’s look at the 5 stages of oral language development:

  • silent/receptive- children are listening to but not using the language
  • early production- children will begin using short phrases with many errors and will acquire up to 1,000 words
  • speech emergence- children will acquire even more words and will begin to use phrases more confidently and with fewer grammatical errors
  • intermediate fluency- children begin to communicate in written form, as well as develop more complex sentences
  • advanced fluency- children will demonstrate mastery of written and spoken language; they need frequent opportunities to express themselves in writing, as well as in spoken language to maintain their language skills

Now, let’s look at some strategies for promoting oral language development:

  • provide direct phonological awareness instruction
  • expose students to language as often as possible
  • provide students with a wide range of print materials; students who are exposed to a variety of materials develop language more quickly
  • encourage conversation; provide students the opportunity to practice the language

Comprehension and Imaginative/Literary Texts

This section tests your knowledge on how to apply reading comprehension skills and strategies to imaginative/literary texts including but not limited to:

  • types of comprehension
  • story elements
  • literary allusions

Take a look at these concepts.

Types of Comprehension

Reading comprehension can be broken into three levels. Each type of reading comprehension is important, because a reader needs all three in order to truly comprehend what he/she is reading.

Here are the three types of reading comprehension:

  • literal- understanding text in the most basic sense; understanding the meaning of the words, the context, the main idea, and the sequence of events
  • inferential- understanding the undisclosed meaning of text then using that meaning to make inferences
  • evaluative- understanding to the extent of being able to provide a response based on the reader’s opinion

Story Elements

Here are the five story elements of fictional text:

  • characters- the participants in the story
  • setting- when and where the story takes place
  • plot- the story line or main events
  • conflict- the problem of the story
  • resolution- how the problem is solved

These elements hook the reader’s attention, keep the story flowing, and allow for a logical sequence of events.

One of the best ways to teach story elements is to point them out while reading to your students. It is important to “think out loud” and model for your students as you identify the different story elements.

You can also ask students to identify each element in the fiction books they are reading; try challenging students to write their own stories with story elements.

Literary Allusions

Literary allusions are used by authors to make an indirect reference to a figure or event. Usually, allusions are made to past events or figures. For example:

You’re acting like such a Scrooge!”

This allusion references Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. The line means that the person is being selfish and grumpy, just like the character, Scrooge, from the story.

Here’s another example:

“I didn’t have any money for the bus, but fortunately a good Samaritan helped me out!”

This allusion references the biblical story of the good Samaritan helping someone in need.

Comprehension and Informational/Expository Texts

This section tests your ability to apply reading skills and strategies to informational texts including but not limited to:

  • fact vs opinion
  • text structures
  • text features

Let’s discuss some concepts that may appear on the test.

Fact versus Opinion

A fact can be proven true or false. An opinion is an expression or particular feeling of an individual that can not be proven. Opinion statements typically include signal words like:

  • always/never
  • believe
  • guess
  • should
  • good/bad
  • might

It is important for students to recognize signal words when determining if a statement is a fact or opinion.

Let’s look at both a fact and opinion statement.

Fact: The sky was blue on Monday.

Opinion: The sky was the most beautiful shade of blue on Monday.

Text Features

Text features are all the components of a story or article that are not the main body of text. Features of text include the:

  • Title– tells the topic of the text
  • Table of contents– shows where to find different topics within the text
  • Index– shows where to find specific information, words, or characters
  • Glossary– defines vocabulary
  • Pictures and captions– highlights important ideas from the text
  • Diagrams/charts/graphs– reinforces important information/data from the text
  • Mapshelps the reader understand the context of the text by understanding the location

Text Structures

Text structure refers to how a piece of text is organized. Teaching students to recognize common text structures helps students to not only monitor their level of comprehension, but also understand the main idea and details of a given text.

Here are the common text structures for expository text:

  • descriptiondescribes a certain topic
  • sequencelists events in sequential order
  • problem and solutionposes a problem and suggests a solution
  • cause and effect– presents the relationship between a specific event or idea and the events that follow
  • compare and contrast– focuses on the similarities and differences between two or more people, places, ideas, events, etc.

Subarea III: Reading Assessment and Instruction

Overview

Subarea III accounts for about 18% of the exam.

This subarea has two objectives:

  • Assessment Methods
  • Reading Instruction

       

So, let’s start with Assessment Methods.

Assessment Methods

This section tests your knowledge of using formal and informal methods to assess reading development. This includes but is not limited to:

  • running records
  • assessing reading levels

Here are some concepts that may appear on the test.

Norm-Referenced versus Criterion-Referenced Assessments

A norm-referenced assessment compares a student’s score to that of their peers.  This type of assessment is typically reported in percentiles that detail how a student scored in relation to the rest of their peers. The results will not be in pass/fail format.

A criterion-referenced assessment assigns a specific score to a student’s performance on a grade-level standard. The goal of this type of assessment is to determine mastery of a specific skill. The results will usually be “pass” (met standard) or “fail” (did not meet standard).

Running Record

A running record is a way to assess a student’s reading level. While a student reads aloud, the teacher listens and assesses fluency and identifies error patterns.

There are a few different systems for taking running records. Most require the teacher to provide a student with a specific, leveled passage then listen to the child read aloud for a set amount of time. While the student reads, the teacher keeps a record of mistakes and takes notes. This data provides insight into fluency (accuracy, automaticity, prosody).

Keeping record of students’ reading progress will help you continually evaluate your students’ strengths and weaknesses, so you can provide intentional and targeted reading instruction.

Here is an example of a completed running record sheet:

https://www.readinga-z.com/helpful-tools/about-running-records/marking-a-running-record/

Reading Levels

Students will read on one of three levels: independent, instructional, or frustrational. Let’s look at each one:

  • independent- the text is not challenging for the student to read; the student makes few to no errors when reading this text (95-100% accuracy); it is the highest level you would expect a child to read with little to no help
  • instructional- the student will have some background knowledge of the topic and can read the text fluently with minimal support and errors (90-95% accuracy)
  • frustrational- the topic of the text is unfamiliar to the student due to a lack of background knowledge; the student makes multiple errors (less than 90% accuracy) while reading and requires moderate to intensive support

The best way to monitor reading levels is to assess students’ levels often. Teachers do this by:

  • taking running records
  • tracking fluency
  • listening to students read
  • asking specific questions about text to monitor students’ comprehension

Reading Instruction

This section tests your knowledge of the multiple approaches to and components of reading instruction. This includes but is not limited to:

  • flexible grouping
  • text complexity
  • differentiation

Let’s discuss some concepts that may appear on the test.

Flexible Grouping

Flexible grouping is an instructional strategy that divides students into groups based on different factors that are determined by the teacher. Using common sense when grouping is important, and a teacher should always choose the most effective method to deliver instruction.  

Flexible groups can be:

  • student or teacher led
  • organized according to skill level or need
  • varied in size
  • cross-class or cross-grade level

Flexible grouping provides students with the opportunity to work with other students, but it also provides teachers with the opportunity to deliver specific and differentiated instruction to a targeted group of students.

Text Complexity

Text complexity is a system that determines how challenging a text is for a child at their specific reading level.

There are three factors used to determine complexity of a text:

  • qualitative measures– includes text structure, knowledge demands, language clarity, and levels of meaning
  • quantitative measures– usually measured by Lexile level
  • reader and task- the motivation, interest, and background knowledge of an average reader at a particular grade level

Students will read through a text sequence, and as they do so, they will acquire vocabulary as well as gain a deeper comprehension of more difficult texts in a given set. Sequenced texts are a great tool for teachers to use so that students are able to progress in a way that is clear and beneficial to their overall fluency and reading development.

Differentiation

Differentiation is an effort by a teacher to meet the specific academic needs of each student in his/her class. Students enter classrooms with varying levels of proficiency, so it is critical that teachers meet students where they are at in their learning.

Teachers can differentiate instruction by adjusting the:

  • content- what the student is expected to learn (leveled reading materials, spelling lists, reading buddies, small group instruction, etc.)
  • process- activities that support students acquiring the content (passion projects, leveled activity centers, offering manipulatives, etc.)
  • expected products- the way students demonstrate mastery of the content (create a puppet show, write a poem, allow students to work independently or in a group, etc.)
  • learning environment- the way the classroom is set up (providing spaces for group and independent work, establishing routines, allowing students to sit where they learn best, providing materials that represent various cultures/backgrounds, etc.)

Subarea IV: Integration of Knowledge and Understanding

Overview

Subarea IV accounts for about 20% of the exam.

The open-ended response portion of the test contains two written assignments. It is important that you read and respond to each part of the question and record your response as instructed. Also, be sure to read the background information given to you and attempt to use specific terms from the question.

Let’s say you are given a scenario where a third grade student has read a passage aloud, and his teacher is taking a running record. You are shown an example of the running record and are asked to:

“Use your knowledge of word identification strategies, and identify one of Jonathan’s strengths and one of his weaknesses.”

Be sure to:

  • cite specific evidence from the information you were given
  • demonstrate an understanding of the field
  • demonstrate the depth of your understanding of the subject area (reading instruction)
  • NOT simply recite factual information

Your responses will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • Purpose: the extent to which the response achieves the purpose of the assignment
  • Subject knowledge: appropriateness and accuracy in the application of subject knowledge
  • Support: quality and relevance of supporting evidence
  • Rationale: soundness of argument and degree of understanding of the subject area

Reading Instruction

This section tests your knowledge of the multiple approaches to and components of reading instruction. This includes but is not limited to:

  • flexible grouping
  • text complexity
  • differentiation

Let’s discuss some concepts that may appear on the test.

Flexible Grouping

Flexible grouping is an instructional strategy that divides students into groups based on different factors that are determined by the teacher. Using common sense when grouping is important, and a teacher should always choose the most effective method to deliver instruction.  

Flexible groups can be:

  • student or teacher led
  • organized according to skill level or need
  • varied in size
  • cross-class or cross-grade level

Flexible grouping provides students with the opportunity to work with other students, but it also provides teachers with the opportunity to deliver specific and differentiated instruction to a targeted group of students.

Text Complexity

Text complexity is a system that determines how challenging a text is for a child at their specific reading level.

There are three factors used to determine complexity of a text:

  • qualitative measures– includes text structure, knowledge demands, language clarity, and levels of meaning
  • quantitative measures– usually measured by Lexile level
  • reader and task- the motivation, interest, and background knowledge of an average reader at a particular grade level

Students will read through a text sequence, and as they do so, they will acquire vocabulary as well as gain a deeper comprehension of more difficult texts in a given set. Sequenced texts are a great tool for teachers to use so that students are able to progress in a way that is clear and beneficial to their overall fluency and reading development.

Differentiation

Differentiation is an effort by a teacher to meet the specific academic needs of each student in his/her class. Students enter classrooms with varying levels of proficiency, so it is critical that teachers meet students where they are at in their learning.

Teachers can differentiate instruction by adjusting the:

  • content- what the student is expected to learn (leveled reading materials, spelling lists, reading buddies, small group instruction, etc.)
  • process- activities that support students acquiring the content (passion projects, leveled activity centers, offering manipulatives, etc.)
  • expected products- the way students demonstrate mastery of the content (create a puppet show, write a poem, allow students to work independently or in a group, etc.)
  • learning environment- the way the classroom is set up (providing spaces for group and independent work, establishing routines, allowing students to sit where they learn best, providing materials that represent various cultures/backgrounds, etc.)

Getting the Help You Need

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Subarea I: Foundations of Reading Development Practice Questions and Answers

Subarea I: Foundations of Reading Development

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Ready? Let’s go!

Question 1

Phonological awareness is the ability to identify:

  1. syntax.
  2. phonics.
  3. individual words, sounds, and syllables.
  4. individual sounds.

Correct answer: 3. Phonemic awareness, not phonological awareness, is the ability to identify individual sounds, divide words into individual sounds, and blend together sounds. Phonics is recognizing sounds and the corresponding letters. Syntax relates to the rules that guide the building of words into phrases, clauses, and sentences.

Question 2

A kindergarten teacher is creating a unit on tigers to focus on the letter “T”. Which of the following activities best contributes to the students’ understanding of this alphabetic principle?

  1. Brainstorming words that begin with the first letter of the students’ names
  2. Creating a rhyme or song that explains how to spell the word “tiger”
  3. Giving students a collection of pictures and having them label the objects that begin with the letter “T”
  4. Cutting out pictures of objects that begin with the letter “T”, from an assortment of pictures that only begin with the letter “T”, and pasting them into a collage.

Correct answer: 3. Cutting out pictures of objects…” is incorrect because it focuses on a variety of pictures of objects that begin with the letter “T” and not the connection between the name of the objects and their connection with the letter “T”. “Brainstorming words…” is incorrect because it does not focus on the letter “T”. It is better to teach the alphabetic principle one letter at a time and focus on one letter in context. Creating a rhyme or song, while a helpful spelling activity, does not promote the students broad understanding of the letter “T”.

Question 3

Most students in Mr. Powers’ kindergarten class can identify two or more words that rhyme. Which of the following phonemic skills is most appropriate for the teacher to address next?

  1. Pronouncing all the sounds in words that contain two or three phonemes
  2. Blending the final consonant sounds in words
  3. Naming the beginning sounds in words
  4. Blending the initial consonant sounds in words

Correct answer: 3. This is the appropriate next step in phonemic awareness.

Question 4

A first-grade teacher notices several students are having difficulty understanding and mastering phonological and phonemic awareness skills. Which of the following assignments would best provide opportunities for students to work on these skills at home?

  1. Writing the alphabet on notebook paper
  2. Playing word games and sound games with family members
  3. Pointing out vowels and consonants when reading words aloud
  4. Listening to stories on tape or at a home computer

Correct answer: 2. Word games and sound games allow students to hear individual sounds in words. This is the best answer.

Question 5

A teacher notices that students are having difficulty decoding words like “moon”, “groan”, and “boat”. Which of the following areas of instruction should the teacher plan to support students’ decoding skills?

  1. Phoneme blending
  2. Vowel digraphs
  3. Word syllabication
  4. Open syllables

Correct answer: 2. Vowel digraphs are two vowels that make one sound. All the words listed have two vowels that make one sound, which can be difficult for students to properly pronounce and thus, properly understand the word.

Question 6

A teacher wants to develop reading fluency in his first-grade class. Which of the following would be the most effective activity to enhance the students’ reading fluency?

  1. Rereading stories that were used during a guided reading activity
  2. Engaging in a literacy discussion group in the library
  3. Reading a book or essay on a level above the students’ independent reading levels
  4. Creating a graphic organizer after reading a student-chosen book

Correct answer: 1. Students acquire reading fluency and comprehension from books read during guided reading lessons with the teacher. Repeated readings from familiar books improve reading fluency.

Question 7

A kindergarten teacher begins each class by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The teacher has a poster with the words to the Pledge of Allegiance and taps each word as the class recites the Pledge. By tapping the word on the poster in correlation with reciting the word, the teacher is best demonstrating which of the following?

  1. Concept of print
  2. Decoding
  3. Phonological awareness
  4. Alphabetic principle

Correct answer: 1. The concept of print is the awareness of print in the everyday environment with an emerging understanding of how printed language works. In this example, the teacher points to the words as she says them, allowing the students to understand the correlation between the spoken and written words.

Question 8

Which of the following activities would best help a teacher assess a student’s understanding of the alphabetic principle?

  1. Have the student participate in a readers’ theater
  2. Have the student use letter tiles to create words
  3. Have the student use context clues to decode unknown vocabulary words
  4. Have the student blend the phonemes of a word

Correct answer: 2. This is the best activity to demonstrate the alphabetic principle. The alphabetic principle is the understanding that words are made up of individual letters that represent sounds. Using letter tiles to create words demonstrates students’ understanding that letters combine to form words.

Question 9

How many phonemes are in the word “hat”?

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4

Correct answer: 3. A phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that can be used to make one word different from another word. In the word “hat” the sounds /h/, /a/, and /t/ are all distinct phonemes.

Question 10

Which of the following statements is best supported by research?

  1. Guessing at words is a strategy that helps students develop decoding skills
  2. Decoding skills should be taught in relation to a student’s reading ability
  3. Students must first learn decoding skills, then learn phonemic awareness skills
  4. Students should be taught how to analyze words prior to writing words

Correct answer: 2. Students should be taught decoding skills at the level of their reading ability. If students are taught skills above their reading ability, they will not likely be able to utilize those skills.

Subarea II: Development of Reading Comprehension

Subarea II: Development of Reading Comprehension

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Ready? Let’s go!

Question 1

A sixth-grade teacher is presenting a unit about propaganda to her students. The teacher shows various propaganda advertisements and asks the students to detect faulty reasoning among the advertisements. Which of the following levels of reading comprehension is primarily being targeted in the lesson?

  1. Literal
  2. Inferential
  3. Evaluative
  4. Appreciative

Correct answer: 3.  Literal comprehension requires students to understand plot elements and details about the text. Inferential comprehension requires students to read between the lines of the text to make inferences about cause and effect, moral lessons, or themes to predict what may happen next. Appreciative comprehension requires students to develop their own opinions and feelings about a piece of text. Evaluative comprehension includes the skill of detecting faulty reasoning. Students must apply the information they receive with previous understanding, experience, and knowledge to make judgments about the text.

Question 2

Mrs. Jones is a fourth-grade reading specialist and has been asked by a number of teachers how to enhance the comprehension skills of their students, especially with expository text. She explained that it can enhance students’ comprehension of this kind of text by having them focus on certain elements of expository text.

Which one of the below elements is NOT a part of expository text?

  1. Headings and subheadings
  2. Graphs, charts, and pictures
  3. Plot, setting, and characters
  4. Words in bold and/or with definitions

Correct answer: 3. These are some of the elements of narrative text.

Question 3

Which of the following best describes the primary purpose of having a student retell a story?

  1. Measuring the student’s level of comprehension
  2. Measuring the student’s vocabulary development
  3. Determining the student’s fluency rate
  4. Determining the student’s oral reading progress

Correct answer: 1. Having a student retell a story allows the teacher to assess how well the student understood the story.

Question 4

While previewing a text, a fifth-grade student identifies the words “because”, “then”, and “therefore”. Which of the following comprehension skills is the student primarily using?

  1. Determining text structures
  2. Identifying perspective and bias
  3. Identifying text features
  4. Recognizing the genre of the text

Correct answer: 1. The words “because”, “then”, and “therefore” are used to separate and transition between texts and help establish a structure to the text.

Question 5

Which of the following activities would most help Mr. Hanson’s students understand inferential comprehension?

  1. Mr. Hanson asks how the antagonist could tell other characters that the protagonist had evil intentions
  2. Mr. Hanson has various students verbally summarize the narrative based on the different characters’ perspectives supported by statements in the book
  3. Mr. Hanson asks each student to write down what they think is the main theme of the narrative
  4. Mr. Hanson has various students explain the effects of different events in the narrative

Correct answer: 4. Inferential analysis is identifying what the author means in a writing. Inferential analysis includes interpreting figurative language, drawing conclusions, predicting outcomes, and determining the mood. Determining the effects of events in a narrative is an inferential exercise.

Question 6

Mrs. Mathers is reading aloud with her class. As she reads she periodically stops and asks students questions about the text to clarify important plot developments and to explain the main ideas in the text. Which of the following is Mrs. Mathers most likely trying to accomplish?

  1. Scaffolding reading instructions with previously read texts
  2. Engaging students’ interest in reading
  3. Monitoring students’ comprehension of the text
  4. Encouraging students to imagine themselves in the story

Correct answer: 3. Mrs. Mathers’ questions are gauging the students’ comprehension of the text. Her questions directly relate to and assess how well students comprehend the concepts of the text.

Question 7

Which of the following words should a teacher use to demonstrate structural analysis for vocabulary development?

  1. Dog
  2. Maintain
  3. Unknown
  4. Develop

Correct answer: 3. Unknown is the best option for structural analysis because it contains a prefix and root word that can be deconstructed.

Question 8

Mr. Brand is wanting to promote the vocabulary development of his students. Which of the following strategies would best align with current research on promoting vocabulary development among students?

  1. Mr. Brand should identify new words in the textbook lesson and create a vocabulary list for students
  2. Mr. Brand should introduce new words and their definitions without incorporating the words into the instruction until students show mastery of the vocabulary
  3. Mr. Brand should introduce new vocabulary words by incorporating them into multiple aspects of instruction and in various contexts
  4. Mr. Brand should introduce and focus on fifteen vocabulary words or less each week

Correct answer: 3. Introducing new vocabulary words by introducing them in a variety of contexts and in instruction is the best way to promote vocabulary development among students.

Question 9

Since very young children (age birth-4) learn oral language through family and friends, the early childhood teacher should first establish a common language among all the students.  This can be achieved through:

  • labeling items throughout the room.
  • pointing to words while reading picture books.
  • creating a Word Wall comprised of words the students supply from prior experience.
  • prioritizing state curriculum words.
  1. I and II
  2. II and III
  3. III and IV
  4. I and IV

Correct answer: 1. I. This is one of the correct answers. It is an excellent strategy to use with Early Childhood students in order to help establish a common language among all students.  Labeling items allows all students to refer to all items with the same language. II. This is also a correct answer. This gives all students the same context clues for language.

Question 10

Which of the following statements best reflects the relationship between oral language development and reading comprehension?

  1. Reading comprehension must be developed prior to fluency in oral language being achieved
  2. Reading comprehension is positively affected by promoting oral language
  3. Development of phonological awareness does not impact reading comprehension
  4. A large oral vocabulary has no impact on reading comprehension

Correct answer: 2. This is correct. The better individuals understand oral language skills, the better they understand reading comprehension skills.

Subarea III: Reading Assessment and Instruction

Subarea III: Reading Assessment and Instruction

Now, let’s look at a few practice questions in each area to see how these concepts might actually appear on the real test.

Ready? Let’s go!

Question 1

Which of the following is a similarity between a norm-referenced assessment and a criterion-referenced assessment?

  1. They both formally assess a test-taker’s knowledge in a specific area
  2. They both provide assessment scores in reference to a larger demographic
  3. They provide assessment scores by percentile ranks
  4. They are graded only by judging if the student’s answer is correct or incorrect

Correct answer: 1. A criterion-referenced assessment is an assessment used to tell if a student has learned the material, but it is not necessarily designed to adjust current or future instruction. A norm-referenced assessment ranks a student’s performance with the student’s peers; norm-referenced assessments are designed to rank students based on test performance. Both assessments will assess a student’s knowledge in a specific area, but the purpose of the exams are very different.

Question 2

Which of the following is the best definition of qualitative evaluation of text complexity?

  1. Qualitative evaluation analyzes the level of meaning, structure, language conventionality, clarity, and knowledge demands of a text
  2. Qualitative evaluation analyzes the readability measures and other scores of text complexity
  3. Qualitative evaluation analyzes the reader variables, such as motivation, knowledge, and experience of a reader
  4. Qualitative evaluation should not be used in analyzing text complexity

Correct answer: 1. Text complexity is simply how challenging text material is for the students at their specific grade level. Determining text complexity is important in proper assessment of students because the level will help the teacher understand how best to interpret students’ assessment scores. Qualitative evaluation of text complexity measures the qualitative dimensions of a text, such as the level of meaning, structure, language conventionality, and knowledge demands. Qualitative evaluation of text complexity seeks to understand how difficult a text is for the reader.

Question 3

Which of the following is the best way to assess the fluency skills and reading levels of sixth-grade students?

  1. Having students read aloud to determine how fast they can read a text
  2. Having students read silently and write down unfamiliar words
  3. Having students read aloud for one minute and count the number of words read correctly
  4. Having students read silently and answer questions that follow the reading

Correct answer: 3. The students must read aloud for a teacher to assess their reading fluency. How fast the students read does not, by itself, determine the students’ fluency and reading levels. The teacher needs to identify the number of words read correctly while the students read aloud, not silently.

Question 4

A first-grade teacher reads a story aloud while the students echo the words the teacher has read. Which of the following approaches to reading instruction is the teacher using?

  1. Readers’ workshop
  2. Shared reading
  3. Round-robin
  4. Guided reading

Correct answer: 2. Shared reading is an activity where students participate in the reading of the text while being guided or supported by the teacher. This question is a great example of a shared reading activity.

Question 5

Mr. Harper wants to assess his students’ reading fluency by listening to each student orally read a section from a selected text. Which of the following would NOT be a good indicator for Mr. Harper to use in assessing the students’ reading fluency?

  1. How clear students are able to pronounce words
  2. Consistency of the students’ reading rate
  3. Students’ accuracy of word identification
  4. The variation in students’ reading intonation

Correct answer: 1. This is the least appropriate assessment indicator because how clearly students can pronounce words can depend on a variety of factors that are not related to reading fluency.

Question 6

A third-grade teacher assigns students into groups of three and instructs them to read a literary excerpt with each member of the group taking turns to read different parts of the section. As the students read to each other, the teacher walks around the room and stops by each group to ask questions to the students. Which type of assessment is the teacher using?

  1. Diagnostic
  2. Informal
  3. Formal
  4. Standardized

Correct answer: 2. Informal assessments are not data driven, but rather content and performance driven. The results from the tests do not have statistical significance to justify conclusions from them.

Question 7

Mrs. Taff, an upper elementary reading specialist, wants to promote instructional reading strategies with general classroom teachers. Therefore, Mrs. Taff begins several weeks of after school in-service by teaching the staff how to guide their students in what to do before, during, and after reading.

The next step that Mrs. Taff teaches is what should be done by the students during the time they are reading. One of the most important steps is to:

  1. visualize what the text is about and then begin to form questions.
  2. ask a partner or someone in a small group how to pronounce unknown words.
  3. have the teacher hold a book discussion about what is being read.
  4. build their schema about the topic with the aid of the teacher.

Correct answer: 1. Visualization, or seeing in your mind in the form of pictures, what they are reading, enables students to be more likely to understand the text. Also, if a student can form intelligent questions about the text, it shows their basic understanding of what they have read.

Question 8

Which of the following would be most important in classroom assessment?

  1. Every stage of higher level thinking on each assessment
  2. Personal reflective journals
  3. Formative and summative
  4. Personal opinion

Correct answer: 3. Every stage of higher level thinking on each assessment is incorrect. The kinds of questions on the test depend on what is being tested. Personal opinion is incorrect. Even though teachers use their education and expertise along with their opinion in developing assessments, it is important to use a variety of types of questions based on the obvious strengths and needs of the students. Journals can sometimes be used for informal assessment purposes. However, if a journal is called a personal one, that is what it should be so students don’t have to worry about everything they write in them.

Question 9

Having students orally read a book while keeping track of how many words they cannot pronounce is an effective way to assess which of the following?

  1. Formative assessment
  2. Criterion-referenced state test
  3. Independent reading level
  4. Summative assessment

Correct answer: 3. This is the correct answer. Students in grades 1-6 should have difficulty with no more than 1 word out of every 20 words. Older students can assess their own independent reading level.

Question 10

During a decoding exercise of rhyming words, a first-grade teacher noticed Billy could not decode new words when particular suffixes were added to the word. Billy would most benefit from which of the following instruction?

  1. Isolating the initial sounds of the words
  2. Increasing understanding of vowel digraphs
  3. Sounding out the words
  4. Counting the syllables in the words

Correct answer: 3. Sounding out the word, otherwise known as blending phonemes, will help Billy sound out the root word and then identify the suffix. This will help Billy separate the root word and the suffix to help Billy decode the word.

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