OAE Foundations of Reading Ultimate Guide and Practice Test
Preparing to take the OAE Foundations of Reading exam?
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OAE Foundations of Reading Quick Facts
This exam is designed to test your content knowledge in order to ensure that you are prepared to teach reading to students. The exam will test you on reading development, reading comprehension, and reading assessment and instruction. It will also determine whether you are able to integrate knowledge when working with texts.
Scores on the test take into account all subareas. This is good news for you, because if you are weaker in one subarea, you can make it up by doing well in another subarea.
Exam scores range between 100 and 300. In order to pass, you’ll need to score at least a 220.
The amount of time that you will need to study depends entirely upon your existing content knowledge and your ability to retain information. We suggest using our practice test to decide which areas you need the most help on.
Once you can identify the content that you need extra help with, focus on those areas. Also, keep in mind that it’s better to spend an hour or two studying each day than to cram for the test. By using this strategy, you are more likely to retain information.
Remember, when it comes to studying for the Foundations of Reading exam, there’s no such thing as knowing the content too well. Since it’s better to be safe than sorry, spend plenty of time studying. Then, you’ll be ready to test like a rockstar!
What test takers wish they would’ve known:
- Make sure to bring your government-issued ID. If you forget to bring your ID, you will be unable to take the test.
- Be sure not to bring any prohibited materials when you go to take the test. Prohibited materials include cell phones and even scratch paper. It’s not a good experience to have your score voided over an error like that!
- If you have difficulty with a question, flag it and move on to one that you can answer more easily. You can return to any question at any time.
- It’s better to guess than to leave a question blank! You will not be penalized for an incorrect answer, so any guess is better than no response. Return to any difficult questions that you flagged before completing the test. Eliminate any obviously incorrect choices, and guess from the rest.
- It’s not wise to try to save time by skimming over the instructions. If you read carefully, you’ll avoid the risk of missing important information which could impact your score.
- During written assignments, make sure that you respond to all of the assignment and read back over what you’ve written. Many test-takers catch their own mistakes that way!
- Relax. It is just an exam. We’re sure that we can get you to where you need to be.
Information and screenshots obtained from NES.
Subarea I: Foundations of Reading Development
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
- Word Analysis
So, let’s start with Phonological and Phonemic Awareness.
Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
This section tests your ability to work with phonemes, which are the smallest unit of spoken words. In order to pass this portion of the exam, you’ll need to understand how phonemes are blended to make words, as well as how words can be segmented into individual phonemes. You will be tested on your ability to promote phonemic and phonological awareness in readers and to distinguish between different phonemes.
Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.
Phonological awareness is a foundational skill that includes recognizing and using units, or parts of spoken language. Parts include words, but also syllables, onsets, and rimes. Children who have phonological awareness are able to recognize words with the same initial sound like ‘mom’ and ‘monkey.’
Phonological awareness has four levels:
- word awareness
- syllable awareness
- onset-rime awareness
- phonemic awareness (more on this below)
Children who lack the four levels of phonological awareness do not have the necessary skills to read.
Strategies that promote phonological awareness in an early elementary classroom include:
- playing games
- singing songs
- nursery rhymes
- reading aloud- Make sure to emphasize sounds, engage students with questions about patterns/rhyming while reading, and help students make the connection between individual sounds and spoken words.
It is important to remember that phonological awareness is the ability to hear the sounds of spoken words, not understand the meaning, so this has to come before children can read and comprehend written language. Children need many opportunities to play with letters and sounds to develop strong phonological awareness skills.
A phoneme is the smallest unit of spoken language and combine to make syllables, then words. Phonemic awareness is a skill that includes the ability to recognize specific sounds (phonemes) in spoken words. For example, the word ‘cat’ has three phonemes: /c/ /a/ /t/.
Phonemic awareness is the foundation for spelling and word recognition and is one of the greatest predictors of how well a child will read during his/her first few years in school.
The five levels of phonemic awareness (starting from the most basic) are:
- Developing an awareness of sounds.
- Matching phonemes- Being able to identify words that begin with the same sound.
- Isolating phonemes- Being able to isolate a sound from within a word.
- Blending phonemes (/c-a-t/ to cat)
- Segmenting phonemes (cat to /c-a-t)
- Manipulating phonemes- Being able to change or move sounds in a word. This includes isolating beginning sounds, changing beginning sounds, isolating final sounds, and changing final sounds.
Strategies that promote phonemic awareness:
- Direct children’s attention to the sounds in words.
- Teach children how to segment and blend sounds (more on this below) and combine that instruction with instruction in letter-sound relationships.
- Keep instruction fun and playful avoiding drills and basic memorization.
- Use group instruction to encourage interaction between students.
- Encourage student’s curiosity about language, sounds, and letters, and encourage them to experiment with different parts of language.
Phoneme blending is the skill of listening to individual sounds and putting the sounds together to make a word. Blending can be taught by asking students to sound out words as they read. For example, a beginning reader will sound out “cat” with the sounds of the letters: /k/ /a/ /t/. Readers should be encouraged to sound out letters, then put the sounds together to form and recognize a word.
Another way to teach students how to blend is to place pictures of objects in front of students. Very slowly sound out the names of the objects in the pictures (i.e. /ppppllllaaaannnntttt/). Then, ask students to guess which word you are saying. Because you will be speaking so slowly, students will have to think about the individual phonemes that make up the word.
Concepts of Print and the Alphabetic Principle
This section tests your knowledge of teaching students to read print words and to understand the relationship between print words and spoken words. In order to do well on this section of the exam, you must be able to identify ways to teach students to recognize letters and their corresponding sounds. You’ll also need to have an understanding of how readers learn to track print and which strategies help them learn this skill.
Here are some concepts that you may see on the test.
Environmental print describes functional text that is seen throughout daily life. For example, if a toddler sees the McDonald’s golden arches and says, “McDonalds!” The toddler can not read the word McDonalds, but the child has learned that the golden arches are a symbol that represent McDonalds. Once a child is aware of environmental print, that is a sign that his/her brain has developed enough to assign a label to a sign, which means he/she is ready to assign a sound to a letter. This is important because it is the initial stage of developing print awareness for the earliest readers.
Examples of environmental print include:
- Store signs/logos (Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens, etc.)
- Restaurant signs (Taco Bell, McDonalds, Chilis, etc.)
- Street signs (Stop signs, crosswalk symbols, etc.)
The alphabetic principle is the idea that there are reliable relationships between print letters and spoken sounds. This principle is important for emerging readers who need to be able to associate written words with spoken language. Making the connection between the letters on a page and the words that they speak allows children to read.
Single sounds/letters should be taught separately from combinations, such as /sh/ and /ch/. Beginning with single letters helps keep students from becoming confused. You should also be sure to help students differentiate between similar-sounding letters, such as “b” and “p.”
It is also best to avoid teaching students to read similar-looking letters at the same time, such as “m” and “n.” This practice will make it easier for your students to differentiate between letters.
Directional tracking, or tracking, refers to the way we read and write English: horizontally from left-to-right. This is an essential component of written English and it is important that developing readers see and process all letters and words in order from left-to-right. Children naturally scan the whole page to acquire as much information as possible, so it is very important to teach tracking as early as possible.
Strategies that promote directional tracking include:
- Model and demonstrate tracking by putting your finger under words when reading to children.
- Start teaching this skill as early as possible.
- Require very young readers to track using their pointer finger.
- Children need to use their finger to track while reading when they begin to process phonologically. The process is not a natural one, so it is important to add the physical movement to tracking. The kinetic process helps engrain the left-to-right process and also helps new readers focus on sounds within a word. Eventually children will outgrow tracking with their finger and will master directional tracking. At this point students can stop using the finger motion.
This section tests your knowledge of common spelling patterns, sight words, blending sounds, and teaching students to interpret words in text form. It will also assess how well you are able to determine the literacy of individual students. During this section, you will also be asked questions about teaching fluency.
Let’s look at some concepts that are guaranteed to come up on the test.
Automaticity, or automatic word recognition, refers to the skill of being able to quickly and accurately recognize written words, but does not refer to reading with expression. Automaticity is NOT the same skill as fluency. Automaticity is a necessary skill to be a fluent reader, but it is not the only skill needed to read fluently. Automaticity is built by repeated practice identifying words, and is essential for reading success. When children are learning to read, they might read accurately, but slowly. A student needs to recognize words automatically and rapidly to be a successful reader.
Decoding versus Encoding
Decoding and encoding are total opposites, yet they’re just like two peas in a pod. Decoding refers to the process of reading – translating words into sounds and ideas. Encoding refers to building words with sounds.
Both skills are crucial for literacy; students who are proficient in English can both read and write. When you think of decoding, just think of breaking a code. After all, that’s what reading is – breaking the code of letters and their patterns. When you think of encoding, you know that it refers to the skill of writing.
Over time, readers will hone their skills of decoding and encoding. Repetitively reading the same text is a great way to have students sharpen their decoding skills. Directing students to write a word multiple times is a strategy to help them to build their encoding skills.
Reading fluency develops over time and through a lot of practice. Readers in the earliest stages of reading development will read slowly and their reading will sound very labored because these students are still learning basic decoding skills. As students practice, they begin to assign and blend letter sounds more quickly into words which is when fluency begins to develop.
Fluency has three components:
- Accuracy- reading words correctly.
- Automaticity- recognizing words automatically and rapidly.
- Prosody- using the appropriate expression when reading and not sounding robotic. Prosody also includes reading punctuation correctly, such as pausing for a comma, period, and inflecting for exclamation and question marks.
A reader needs all three of these skills, and the ability to use them effectively to be considered a fluent reader. A child has to be able to decode quickly (automaticity) so that he/she can read fluently with accuracy, automaticity, AND prosody. With out automaticity and fluency, and child can not comprehend what he/she is reading. Fluent readers are able to focus the majority of their energy on the content rather than spending most of their energy simply decoding words. If children are not fluent in their reading, their reading progress is hindered, and they begin to get frustrated with reading.
Strategies to promote fluency include:
- Model fluent reading.
- Have students read while following along with an audio book.
- Practice sight words using games like bingo.
- Practice paired or buddy reading where students read to a partner while the partner follows along, then roles switch.
- Practice choral reading where a whole group or class reads the same thing aloud at the same time. The teacher sets the pace.
- Give students many opportunities to read on their own at their independent reading level.
- Repeated reading
- Give students time to read and re-read the same text.
- Have students read orally in a small group with the opportunity to correct and guide if necessary.
Common Word Patterns
Word patterns are predictable patterns of sounds (consonants and vowels) that form words.
CVC- A consonant is followed by a vowel and another consonant to create a syllable, usually with a short vowel sound (bed, pin, rug).
CVCC- Here you have words that end with two consonants (fast, card, ding).
CVVC- This pattern of words has two vowels between consonants that create one or two sounds (door, hair, read).
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 (hole, code, bone).
Understanding word patterns strengthens a child’s phonological and phonemic awareness which, in turn, strengthens a child’s reading fluency.
Here are some strategies for helping students decode words that follow common patterns:
- Listen for sounds in words.
- Play “I Spy”- Pick an item in the room and say, “I spy a h-a-t.” Students will need to blend the sounds to figure out the object.
- Make a word wall chart for each pattern and as words are introduced talk about the pattern and add them to the wall.
- Play bingo with words from different patterns. For example if you’re working on CVC words, you would play a bingo game with CVC words.
This section tests your ability to recognize prefixes and suffixes and to determine their meanings. You will also need to draw upon your knowledge of morphemes, homographs, and root words. It is also important that you are able to identify context clues so that you can direct students to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words.
Here are some specific concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.
All readers are unfamiliar with some words. When we read a new word, we use the words around it to determine what it means. The same idea goes for unfamiliar phrases, such as idioms, that are foreign to us.
Take a look at the following text:
“That dog is horrible! We all know what a bad dog he is.”
In this example, the synonym “bad” can help students determine the meaning of the word “horrible.” Let’s look at how different context clues can also help students to determine the meaning of the same word:
“That dog is horrible! He chews the rug, barks, and gets the house dirty.”
In this case, there is no synonym to help the reader determine the meaning of “horrible.” However, students can use the other information in the text to infer that the “horrible” dog is bad.
Beginning readers may also need to determine the meaning of entire phrases which are unfamiliar. Consider the following text:
“Henry was so tired. He couldn’t wait to hit the sack for the night. Going to bed sounded like a great idea.”
“Hit the sack” is an idiom, which obviously is not meant to be taken literally. A student who is unfamiliar with this phrase can use the clues in the text to determine that it actually means to go to bed.
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 bonus has two vowels (o,u) and can be broken into two syllables:
Syllabication is helpful as a word identification strategy when students begin reading multisyllabic words. It his helpful that students are familary with different syllable patterns so that they will have strategies to divide a word into syllables, and then use blending to pronounce the whole word.
The strategy uses three questions:
How many vowels do you see?
Are they together or apart?
How many syllables will there be?
For example, a student is using syllabication to read the word planet.
How many vowels do you see? 2 (a and e)
Are they together or apart? Apart
How many syllables will there be? 2 (pla-net)
Homographs are often confused with homonyms and homophones.
It is important for students to be able to identify homographs so that when they are reading and writing, they are saying the word correctly as well as in the right context. Students need to use context clues when reading to differentiate between meanings of homographs when reading.
For example, if a student reads the sentence:
The dog had to wind it’s way down a mountain.
The student needs to understand the word wind is a homograph with multiple pronunciations and meanings. If the student is unaware of this, and only knows one meaning for the word, the student might think the dog somehow traveled in the air down a mountain rather than understanding that actually the dog just took a path down the mountain that was not straight.
And that’s some basic info about Subarea I: Foundations of Reading Development.
Subarea II: Development of Reading Comprehension
Subarea II accounts for about 27% of the exam.
This subarea has three objectives:
- Comprehension and Imaginative/Literary Texts
- Comprehension and Informational/Expository Texts
So, let’s start with Vocabulary.
This section tests your knowledge on vocabulary strategies, the oral and written comprehension of words, non-literal language, and foreign words and abbreviations commonly used in English. You should also be able to identify the difference between standard written English and commonly spoken English. You will also be tested on your ability to use grammatically correct language and to identify academic language from informal language.
Let’s discuss some concepts that will more than likely appear on the test.
A word map (example below) is a graphic organizer that supports vocabulary development. In the example below, a student would:
- Put an unfamiliar vocabulary word in the center of the map.
- Define the word in his/her own words,
- List synonyms of the word.
- Use the word meaningfully in a sentence.
- Draw a picture of the word.
Word maps are important in developing student’s reading comprehension because as students become more familiar and comfortable using academic vocabulary, the student will become a much more fluent reader and writer.
Academic vocabulary refers to words that are commonly used in the classroom. Academic vocabulary should almost always be used in the academic setting, but is not typically used in conversations outside the classroom.
Some examples of academic vocabulary:
Students need frequent, extensive, and varied reading experiences so that they are given every opportunity to develop academic language and vocabulary. The more a student sees, talks about, and uses academic vocabulary, the more comfortable the student will be when reading or working independently.
English Language Learners, or ELLs, will often times need more intensive instruction and practice when developing academic vocabulary.
The following strategies are great to use when helping ELLs develop academic language and vocabulary:
- Encourage students to read a variety of texts.
- Help students translate social language to academic language (and back). Model how to change a sentence from social language to academic language.
- Use word maps.
- Use graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams to compare and contrast ideas.
- Pre-teach vocabulary, and give students the opportunity to read, write, and talk about vocabulary.
Oral Language Development
Of course we know that reading and writing are significant components of literacy. We need to also consider that the ability to speak and listen in order to communicate effectively are just as crucial. After all, children’s language skills don’t begin on a piece of paper! Instead, these skills initially develop via oral communication.
There are five main stages of language development:
- Silent or Receptive
When learning a language, individuals initially listen and gradually begin to understand the meaning of words and phrases.
- Early Production
During this stage, learners start to use new vocabulary terms in a meaningful manner while speaking.
- Speech Emergence
At this stage, learners have a greater comprehension of words and how to orally relay meaningful phrases, sentences, and questions. They may still make errors, such as using the incorrect tense or awkwardly phrasing an idea.
- Intermediate Fluency
Learners at this stage speak with a much broader vocabulary and are able to use appropriate grammar most of the time.
- Advanced Fluency and Continued Development
During this stage, learners retain their fluency and recall the vocabulary terms that they acquired during the previous stages. They continue to hone their oral communication skills.
Here are some tips on how teachers can encourage oral language development in the classroom:
- Pose questions aloud and allow students to respond.
- Set rules for discussions, such as asking students to wait their turn to speak instead of speaking over one another.
- Give students positive feedback for speaking clearly and correctly.
- Allow students to practice using different tones when speaking.
- Ask students to incorporate new vocabulary words into conversations.
- Remind students of the correct pronunciation of words with which they have difficulty.
- Discuss the difference between formal and informal speech.
- After giving oral instructions, check for understanding by asking students to paraphrase the directions.
Comprehension and Imaginative/Literary Texts
This section tests your knowledge of teaching literature to students. In order to perform well on this section, you should know how to check for reading comprehension and how to instruct students to create summaries and to use textual evidence to reach conclusions. Other topics addressed in this section include the identification of fiction genres, figurative language, and point of view.
Let’s take a look at these concepts.
Types of Comprehension
Reading comprehension is a student’s ability to efficiently and easily read a text for meaning.
A fiction story has five main elements:
- setting- when and where the story takes place
- characters- the participants in the story
- plot- the story line
- conflict- the problem the characters face in the story
- resolution- how the problem is solved
Students should be able to identify the main elements of a fiction story so that they are able to fully follow along and comprehend the story.
An example of the main story elements in the Three Little Pigs story:
- setting- The village where the pigs live
- characters- Three pigs and the Big Bad Wolf
- plot- Three pigs want to build houses out of various materials, and a wolf tries to destroy the houses in order to eat the pigs.
- conflict- The wolf tries to blow the pig’s houses down in order to eat them.
- resolution- All the pigs end up in the third pig’s house that is made of bricks. It is very sturdy and since the wolf can not blow it down he goes down the chimney and falls into a pot of boiling water. The pigs are all safe at the end of the story.
Literary allusions are indirect references to a figure or event and are used by authors to create a unique connection between two ideas. For example:
“Our backyard is a Garden of Eden.”
This is a Biblical allusion that refers to the lush Garden of Eden described in Genesis.
Here’s another example:
“Ice cream is my diet’s Achilles heel!”
This allusion references Achilles in mythology who’s only physical vulnerability was his heel, so it refers to a vulnerability.
The best way for teachers to help students identify allusions is to:
- Help students understand what an allusion is by providing MANY examples and non-examples.
- Providing students with a variety of texts and discussing as many allusions as possible. For example, if a student isn’t familiar with the story of Achilles, he/she will not understand the connection the author is trying to make.
Comprehension and Informational/Expository Texts
This section tests your knowledge of informational text comprehension. As with reading literature, students should be coached to comprehend the text at all three levels: literal comprehension, inferential comprehension, and evaluative/critical comprehension. Readers proficient in this are able to differentiate fact from opinion, determine the author’s viewpoint, and interact with various textual features and structures.
Let’s discuss some concepts that may appear on the test.
Fact versus Opinion
The skill of recognizing the difference between fact and opinion helps students develop essential critical thinking and analytical skills when reading and listening. Generally, authors will write using fact and opinion, so it is important that students are able to distinguish when the writer is stating a fact or opinion.
Strategies to teach the difference between fact and opinion include:
- Provide students with a fact or opinion statement. Ask students to identify if the statement is a fact or opinion and ask students to explain why.
- Ask students to list five facts and five opinions about a topic, then allow them time to share.
- When reading aloud, point out facts and opinions.
- When students are reading independently, ask them to underline facts in one color and opinions in a different color.
Text features, such as indexes and glossaries, are used to enhance the main body of a text. You are probably familiar with more text features than you might have thought. Readers should know how to use text features to enhance their understanding of a text.
Here’s a list of a few common text features:
This is a section at the end of the main text that gives additional information. An appendix can help enhance the reader’s understanding of the main text.
These are the words that correspond with and describe pictures and graphs. They are usually located underneath the visuals they refer to.
A diagram is a visual created to show the parts of something or to explain how something works. It usually includes labels.
A footnote provides information in addition to the main text. It is found at the bottom of the page and is usually numbered.
A glossary is found at the back of a book. It is a list of terms and appears very similar to a dictionary.
An index is also located at the back of the book. Indexes list important topics and tell the reader which pages to navigate to in order to learn more about each topic.
- Table of Contents
The table of contents shows the chapters and/or other major sections of the book or document and provides page numbers. It is located before the main text.
Common text structures for expository (informational) text include:
- sequence– lists events in order
- description– describes a topic
- compare and contrast– explains similarities and differences between two or more places, ideas, people, or events.
- problem and solution– poses a problem and suggests a solution
- cause and effect– presents a relationship between a specific idea or event and the events that follow
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.
And that’s some basic info about Subarea II: Development of Reading Comprehension.
Subarea III: Reading Assessment and Instruction
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.
This section tests your knowledge on the ability to assess students’ reading proficiency. It will include information about formal and informal assessments and text leveling. As a teacher, you will need to instruct and support both struggling and proficient readers and provide them with data-driven goals and strategies.
Here are some concepts that may appear on the test.
Norm-Referenced versus Criterion-Referenced Assessments
A norm-referenced assessment compares a student’s performance to that of their peers. This type of assessment can be reported in percentiles (Susie scored in the 80th percentile), meaning Susie scored better than 80% of her peers. The results for a norm-referenced assessment are not given in the pass/fail format. Beginning, middle, and end-of-the-year benchmarks are good times to give norm-referenced assessments. As a teacher you are looking for students who are not performing at the same rate as their peers, and comparing their scores to figure that out. Norm-referenced assessments can be used to drive instruction.
Criterion-referenced assessment assigns a score (typically a percentage out of 100) to a student’s performance on the standards assessed. The goal of criterion-referenced assessment is to determine the percentage of standards or of a single standard that a student has mastered. Most unit assessments, end of course, and state assessments are criterion-referenced.
A running record is a way that a teacher can assess and keep a record of a student’s reading level/progress throughout the year. While a student reads a given text aloud, the teacher will listen, assess fluency, and identify errors.
There are multiple ways/systems for taking running records, but all should require the student to read aloud for a specific amount of time while the teacher listens and records specific data. The data taken should detail the student’s fluency (accuracy, automaticity, prosody.)
A student’s reading level should determine how often a running record should be taken.
- Early emergent readers- 2-4 weeks
- Emergent readers- 4-6 weeks
- Early fluent readers- 6-8 weeks
- Fluent readers- 8-10 weeks
Running records are used to assess reading level, but can also be used to check comprehension. You can use the back of the running records sheet to ask questions when the student has finished reading. You can jot down the student’s response to keep track of their comprehension. Questions that you might want to use are:
- Who is the main character?
- Where did the story take place?
- Why did _________ happen?
- What problem did the character have?
- Who else was in the story? Tell me about ____________.
For an example of a running record sheet, check out this resource: https://www.readinga-z.com/helpful-tools/about-running-records/marking-a-running-record/
There are three different reading levels described below. Remember that while a student may read one text at a certain level, he may read a different text at a higher or lower level.
At the independent reading level, the reader has adequate background knowledge for the topic, and can interpret the text very quickly, while making few errors. This is the highest reading level. As the name implies, this is the highest level a child can read independently.
The instructional level is the highest level at which the student has adequate background knowledge, yet cannot read independently. This is the level at which you should aim to instruct your students. Most of the materials presented to students should be at this level.
The frustration level is the level at which the student does not have adequate background knowledge and/or cannot read the text at greater than 90% word accuracy. Basically, this is the level at which a material is too difficult for a student. You’ll want to avoid teaching at this level, because frustrated readers become discouraged and may give up or lose interest.
This section tests your knowledge of planning, implementing, and differentiating reading instruction. You will be asked questions about reading strategies, such as grouping students. You’ll also show your knowledge of text complexity and the promotion of reading for enjoyment and learning.
Let’s discuss some concepts that may appear on the test.
Flexible grouping is a widely used instructional strategy that separates students into groups based on factors determined by the teacher. It is important that teachers use common sense when forming groups, and a teacher should always consider the most effective method to deliver instruction.
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, which is essential in today’s classroom.
Text complexity refers to the difficulty of a text and it is usually either measured in quantitative or qualitative terms:
Quantitative complexity refers to readability measures. Different schools often promote different systems of readability measures. These measures usually assign a number or letter to a text in order to reflect its complexity. The quantitative measure is typically measured by software systems. Quantitative measures address word frequency, text cohesion, and the length of words and sentences.
The qualitative evaluation of text refers to the meaning, structure, clarity, and language complexity of a text. Unlike quantitative complexity, this measure typically involves more human interaction. This measure permeates the surface knowledge involved in interpreting the meaning of words and sentences. Qualitative measurement involves making connections and “reading beyond” the text to analyze and compare outside ideas and experiences.
A drawback to qualitative measures of text complexity is that they are more subjective and difficult to assess. Quantitative measures of text comprehension are easy to gauge with software systems, yet they do not reflect deeper interpretations of texts. You may choose to use both quantitative and qualitative measures to assess both straightforward understanding of materials, as well as the ability to draw creative conclusions and formulate new ideas.
What is differentiation? What are some examples of how differentiation can be used for reading instruction? Read through the competency above and make sure to cover all aspects of differentiation addressed.
And that’s some basic info about Subarea III: Reading Assessment and Instruction.
Subarea IV: Integration of Knowledge and Understanding
Subarea IV accounts for about 20% of the exam.
This subarea of the test contains two open-response items. You will be asked to give a written response of 150–300 words for each of the two assignments. Use your time to brainstorm, write, review, and edit your essay for each of the two items.
Each of the two items will correspond to one of the other three sections of the test: Reading Development, Reading Comprehension, or Reading Assessment and Instruction. For example, you may be asked to write about the relationship between vocabulary development and reading comprehension. You may also be asked to create an essay on the topic of differentiation.
Each essay will be given a score of 1 – 4, with 4 being the highest score. Your essay will be judged 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
Be sure to review each essay to ensure that you have met the criteria. Write clearly and for an audience of educators. Use correct and formal grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Make sure that you fully address the main point of the assignment and that you provide sufficient reasoning and evidence to support your ideas. Thinking back to the material which you just brushed up on while completing other sections of the test can help you to write detailed and logical essays which show your knowledge of the subject area.
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