1 240Tutoring Reading Comprehension Study Material This information is a sample of the instructional content and practice questions found on the 240Tutoring PRAXIS II Middle School English Language Arts (0049) Study Guide. This information is meant to help prepare individuals for the PRAXIS II Middle School English Language Arts exam, as well as provide a preview for the quality of resources provided by 240Tutoring. For more preparation material, please visit the study guide enrollment page. All materials and content contained on and any files published thereon are the intellectual property of 240Tutoring, Inc and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed, or displayed without the written permission of 240Tutoring, Inc. All content contained in this document is the intellectual property of 240Tutoring, Inc and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed, or displayed without the written permission of 240Tutoring, Inc
2 Reading Comprehension There is a tremendous difference in word calling and comprehension. Students must be able to read for meaning and understanding if they are to succeed in school and life. A few key terms relating to comprehension and assessment are: Expository text Factual material that describes and discusses something or tries to persuade. Some examples are biographies, magazines, and newspapers. The structure of expository text includes: o Problem-solution o Details about a topic, person, event, or idea o Cause and effect relationships o Categorizing lists o Sequencing as in historical events o Comparison likenesses and differences Literal comprehension Understanding of the facts such as stated main idea or specific details. Inferential comprehension Understanding parts of what is read without it being stated explicitly. Examples are determining cause and effect, drawing conclusions and making predictions. Evaluative comprehension The ability to analyze the text by questioning whether it is fact or opinion, if there is faulty reasoning, determining if there is faulty/confusing reasoning, character development or use of language. Mapping Using graphic organizers/mind maps to organize information from written text. Mapping can be used in many different content areas and with technology. Metacognition Thinking about what you are thinking. This is what happens when you are self-monitoring your own understanding of what you are reading. Narrative text This usually refers to stories and can be in any format including novels, dramatic plays, song, speech or writing. The story grammar of narrative texts typically include: o Characters o Settings o Themes o Conflicts o Plots o Resolution.
3 Technical vocabulary Vocabulary that is specifically related to a content area such as photosynthesis in science or democratic government in social studies. Assessments: o Criterion-referenced state tests Tests in which a standard has been set for the test taker to achieve in order to pass the test. o Norm-referenced tests Tests which compare an individual s performance/achievement to a group called the norm group. It is important to know who is in the norm group in order to determine the meaning of the test results. o Curriculum-Based Reading Assessments/Unit tests Tests that are based on the curriculum that has been or is being taught. The learning goals for this kind of test should be closely aligned with what has been taught. o Informal Reading Inventory An individual assessment based on listening to a student read passages and/or word lists, or the student reads silently followed by questions in order to determine specific needs. Comprehension skills o Develop schema Determining a structure of background knowledge that a reader has about what is being read or written. o Determine main idea - What is the story mostly about? o Make predictions Was my prediction a good one? What made me think that would happen? o Determine cause and effect, either stated or inferred What caused that to happen toward the end of the story? What was the effect of? o Decide between fact and opinion What were some of the facts in what I read? What were opinions? o Make generalizations We read that this and happened several times in the reading. Therefore, that must mean that o Summarize text Pulling together (synthesizing) important information from the text and putting this information into students own words - paraphrasing. o Visualize by making mental pictures about what is happening as in narrative text or steps in a process in expository text. o Develop questions and then ask themselves their own questions about what they are reading. o Develop self-monitoring, a form of meta-cognition thinking about thinking. I don t quite understand this part of what I just read. I need to reread look up this word in a dictionary or glossary ask someone for help.
4 Strategies that teachers can use to enhance students comprehension are: Make available continuing opportunities for students to read both orally and silently, from more interesting and challenging books/materials. A variety of genres should be provided and explained so students will understand the likenesses and differences. Genres at this level should include historical fiction, fables, tall tales, limericks, plays biographies, autobiographies, tragedy, and comedy. Materials that promote cross cultural understanding should be included in these reading materials. Provide many opportunities for students to choose books that are interesting and enjoyable to them for their own reading and/or to be orally read to them. This is critical to developing lifelong readers and learners. Provide time for discussions about what has been read either between the teacher and students or among student groups. Along with this, it is important to have students write on a daily basis; many teachers do this as a response to reading, in student journals, or on the internet if available. Provide practice with different types and levels of questions such as open-ended, literal, interpretative, and test-like questions (true-false, multiple choice, short answer). Review strategies of what to do before, during and after reading as explained in Competency 002. Provide instruction and practice in comprehension strategies such as previewing, self-monitoring (meta-cognition), visualizing, and retelling as well as more challenging aspects of word analysis. Model and teach strategies to increase students reading comprehension including: o Linking the content of the text to students lives or prior knowledge; o Connecting related ideas, themes or topic across different texts; o Engaging students in guided and independent reading; o Directing students how to generation questions about the topic of the text; o Guiding students to apply the knowledge from what they have read in the text. Read aloud to students and then provide for discussion about what was read, its genre and other genres, and discovering new vocabulary. Follow-up activities are also helpful in practicing/modeling/re-teaching comprehension strategies. Communicate with families about the need to listen to and read with their children. Provide practice in identifying elements (sometimes called story grammar) of narrative text such as setting, characters, plot, themes, sequence, problem, and solution. Teach students a varied ways to respond to texts: making connections within and between texts, offer their own observations as to what was read, speculate/hypothesize about what was read and what it means, interpret what the text means (in the eyes of the readers), and raise/develop questions about the texts. Teach students by explicit practice about organization of expository text: that it may include headings and sub-headings, graphs, charts, pictures, illustrations and words in bold. They should be able to locate the glossary (if available). By looking for these organizational cues, students can preview the expository text.
5 Provide modeling and practice of text organization: by cause and effect relationships, chronological time order sequence, problems and how to solve them, or reasons for events to happen (as cause-effect in science). Model and provide guided practice on thinks-aloud when teaching comprehension strategies. Thinks aloud is when the teacher verbalizes thought processes in determining how why-when and where. Have students develop reading journals in which they respond to what they have read, either with drawings and text or just text. The teacher can use the journals as one type of assessment to help determine strengths and weaknesses of students and assist with planning instruction. Model and practice various instructional strategies to enhance student comprehension: linking texts to their own lives, culture, or prior knowledge; connecting related issues across different texts ( I read about this in.last week. ); guiding students to develop questions about what they have read. Model and practice reading for pleasure and provide time during class for this type of reading in order that it will help equip students for lifelong learning. Teach literary concepts/terms that are related to drama: playwright, theater, stage, act, dialogue, analogy, and scene. (6-8) Teach how to distinguish between various literary forms: stories, poems, myths, fables, tall tales, limericks, plays, biographies, and autobiographies. Also, for 8 th grade tragedy and comedy are included. Know and understand grade level English Language Arts state curriculum standards in order to determine needs for adjustments in instruction. Utilize ongoing informal (including observation and verbal responses) and formal assessment in order to determine students needs, strengths, interests, and a need for intervention. Assessments might include end of chapter or end of unit tests, vocabulary tests, screening devices, criterion-referenced state tests, curriculumbased assessments, informal reading inventories, etc. for all students including those who are English Language Learners. Utilizing various testing measures can help determine a need for intervention because of developmental delays, learning problems, and/or speech delays. Ongoing assessments also can determine student progress and help the teacher adjust instruction. Formal, end-of-year assessments are given to inform parents, teachers and administrators as to student progress and also plan for future curriculum or instructional needs. Listen to students read passage from a grade level textbook in order to determine if they are reading on grade level: students should have difficulty with no more than (1) one word out of 10 words in middle grades.
6 Practice Question The following are 240Tutoring PRAXIS II Middle School English Language Arts practice questions. These and many others can be found in our PRAXIS II Middle School English Language Arts Study Guide. Please find the answers and explanations after the practice questions. 1. Mrs. DeLaCruz teaches a mixed ability fifth grade class with a number of students that have English as a second language. She is finding it challenging for her students to understand the connotative meaning of many words and visual images. What is connotative meaning? A. The meaning derived from the use of a chart or graph B. The meaning resulting from the use of a rubric C. The meaning derived from various hints, suggestions, or feelings D. The clear specific meaning often derived from a dictionary 2. Mrs. DeLaCruz has found that denotative meaning of a word or visual image is somewhat easier for these students. Denotative meaning is: A. the meaning resulting from the use of a rubric. B. the meaning derived from various hints, suggestions, or feelings. C. the clear specific meaning often derived from a dictionary. D. the meaning derived from the use of a chart or graph. 3. By the time students are in upper elementary, teachers expect the students to be fluent in reading which comes from having and using a large repertoire of word identification skills. Reading fluency involves: A. denotative meaning, understanding narrative text, and rate of reading along with using state norms. B. rate, accuracy, and intonation, along with state norms. C. understanding connotative meaning along with the rate and accuracy of reading. D. using structural cues, syntax and semantics. 4. In order for a sixth grade teacher to best help enhance her students with the ability to analyze and identify new, unknown and irregular words, she must re-teach and model a variety of skills. What are some of the word identification skills that she will use in order to best help her students? A. Decoding, blending, structural analysis and sight word vocabulary B. Decoding, blending, and understanding narrative text. C. Blending, determining denotative meaning, and structural analysis D. Mapping, structural analysis, and sight words
7 5. Mrs. Snow, an eighth grade social studies teacher, wants to determine if the reading from the textbook and some outside reading is on the correct level for her students. She asks the English teacher what she can do to find out if the materials are on the instructional reading level, in particular with several students who are have English as their second landuage. The English teacher explains that it is most important for: A. students to select what they want to read aloud and then to look over the pages. B. students to read aloud a passage of 80 words while the teacher counts to see if they make more than 8 errors in their reading. C. students have a brief introduction to new vocabulary before being asked to read aloud. D. the teacher or a partner read the passage first and then ask the specific students to read the same passage. 6. Mrs. Snow also wants to provide more independent reading materials for her students. This means that she will need to listen to a number of students read aloud short passages from various reading levels. Independent reading levels are most clearly assessed by which of the following characteristic? A. Make no more than 8 errors out of every 80 words read aloud B. Make few errors when reading aloud and be able to tell some of the key points of what has been read C. Make no more than 20 errors out of every 100 words read aloud D. Make no more than 1 error out of every 20 words read aloud 7. In Mr. Blake s sixth grade English Language Arts class, he is trying to help his students increase their fluency in reading. Which of the following will most likely enhance his student s fluency levels? A. Allowing students to read only from grade level texts B. Having one student read to another from any book of their choice C. Allowing students to read repeatedly from familiar texts that are at the independent reading level D. Stopping students when they make reading errors in order to force them to analyze their mistakes and ask such questions as, Did that really make sense? 8. An eighth grade English Language Arts teacher, Mr. Miller, is being questioned by a few parents for spending time on a daily basis in reading aloud to his students. Mr. Shepherd communicates to parents on a regular basis with a class newsletter by way of . In this week s newsletter, he explains many of the positive effects of reading aloud to children. Which of the follow is the least beneficial effect from reading aloud to children? A. Improving their listening skills, including listening for specific purposes and literary forms B. Increasing their vocabulary development C. Gaining new information D. Increasing their skills in structural analysis
8 Answers and Explanations 1. Correct Answer (C)- (C) This is the correct answer. It might also include the specific, or denotative, meaning. (A) Teachers need to model and teach students how to summarize information from a chart or graph. However, this is not a connotative process. (B) A rubric is a scoring guide based on several criteria rather than being based on one number for a score. It has nothing to do with connotative meaning. (D) This can be the specific meaning of a word or visual image and is called the denotative meaning. 2. Correct Answer (C)- (C) This describes denotative meaning as it is the specific meaning of a word or visual image. (A) A rubric is a scoring guide based on several criteria rather than being based on one number for a score. It has nothing to do with denotative meaning. (B) This is connotative meaning and might also include the specific, or denotative, meaning. (D) Teachers need to model and teach students how to summarize information from a chart or graph. However, this is not a denotative process. 3. Correct Answer B- (B) This is the correct answer. These are the areas in which fluency is involved. (A) Denotative meaning is the understanding of the specific meaning of a word or image. Understanding narrative text is determining the plot, setting, characters, etc. of a story. Using state norms for determining fluency levels is important. (C) Rate and accuracy of what is being read is part of fluency. Connotative meaning is determining the various hints/suggestions of an unknown word or text, and is not a part of fluency. (D) These are a few of the ways that students can use to decode more complex words. 4. Correct Answer A- (A) This is the correct answer. These are considered major word identification competencies. (B) The first two terms are word identification skills but understanding narrative text if not one. (C) Blending and structural analysis are two word identification skills but determining denotative meaning is not; it is the understanding of the specific meaning of a word. (D) Mapping is using graphic representations/organizers to organize information. Structural analysis and sight word vocabulary are important word identification skills. 5. Correct Answer B- (B) This is the correct answer. For reading that is challenging but manageable as in many textbooks, students should not miss more than 1 word out of every 10. (A) Choosing their own book and reviewing the pages does not give any specific information about instructional reading level. (C) Introduction of new vocabulary will help in oral reading but it will not give specific information on reading levels. (D) The students might read a little better than usual with this kind of pre-reading but it does not give the teacher specific information about instructional reading level.
9 6. Correct Answer D- (D) This is the correct norm for independent reading. (A) This is the norm for the instructional reading level rather than the independent reading level. (B) This might give a general idea about independent reading level materials. However, it not a specific norm. (C) This is incorrect. They should only have 1 error out of every 20 words read aloud. 7. Correct Answer C- (C) Providing texts that are familiar and that students have read and/or heard repeatedly gives them an excellent opportunity to read with fluency and also to increase their fluency. The texts need to be at the independent reading level and it is always helpful to provide many reading activities in which students can be engaged. (A) Many students do not read with understanding at their grade level and thus become very frustrated with them. In fact, there are times that this turns students off to reading and learning. (B) If the teacher gave both students a specific purpose for listening to the other, this could be a helpful activity but not for fluency. (D) Interrupting students in the middle of their reading for every mistake they make will probably only frustrate them and certainly not help with fluency. 8. Correct Answer D- (D) Structural analysis is using the structure of a word, such as prefixes and suffixes, to help pronounce it and understand its meaning. Since the newsletter is about the effects of the teacher reading aloud to her/his students. (A) Improving listening skills is essential to enhancing students oral language development and their understanding of various types of genres such as biography, historical fiction, poetry, etc. Students must be taught to listen for specific purposes as pre-requisite to many future study skills. (B) It is clear that vocabulary can be increased just by listening to others read orally. This is true if the reader is an adult, another student who is a fluent reading, or listening through technology. Think of what vocabulary children of all ages learn by watching TV or a movie. (C) Gaining new information is one of the specific purposes of effective listening and critical to future study skills.
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