PRAXIS II Reading Specialist Exam (5301)

The PRAXIS II Reading Specialist Exam (5301) is designed for individuals who will supervise reading teachers in grades K-12. You will be given two hours to complete this exam. There are two sections, an 80 question multiple-choice section and a two-part essay section. The test can be broken down into the following categories:
Assessment and Diagnostic Teaching – 20 multiple-choice questions
Reading and Writing Development – 45 multiple-choice questions
Leadership Skills and Specialized Knowledge of Pedagogical Principles and Instructional Practices – 15 multiple-choice questions
Professional Learning and Leadership – 1 essay question
Analysis of Individual Student Case Study – 1 essay question

Assessment and Diagnostic Teaching
This section will include subjects such as the characteristics and uses of assessment and screening measures for evaluating students’ language proficiency and reading skills, and the use of assessment data to plan reading instruction.

Reading and Writing Development
This section includes subjects like the development of oral language and oral communication skills, the development of phonological awareness, how to promote students’ understanding of concepts of print and basic phonetic principles, word-analysis skills and vocabulary development, the development of reading fluency and reading comprehension, reading comprehension strategies for fiction and poetry, and writing and reading as tools for inquiry and research.

Leadership Skills and Specialized Knowledge of Pedagogical Principles and Instructional Practices
This section of the exam will include questions about the specialized knowledge and skills required to perform the role of a reading specialist, leadership roles of the reading specialist in organizing and supervising reading programs and promoting staff development, and strategies for communicating and collaborating with all members of the educational community to address the goals of the reading program.

PRAXIS II Reading Specialist Practice Questions

1. What is the most effective way to increase vocabulary?

A. Reading
B. Conversations
C. Watching television
D. Listening to the radio
E. Going to the movies

2. Which of the following is a tool that helps students learn vocabulary?

A. Vocabulary lists
B. Dictionary
C. Thesaurus
D. Glossary
E. All of the above

3. What do the “funny squiggles” (i.e., words) on the page do for a child?

A. Tell stories
B. Give directions
C. Help solve problems
D. Improve vocabulary
E. All of the above

4. Which of the following is not a direct result of using a clarifying table?

A. Core concept captured
B. Supporting ideas recognized
C. Increases vocabulary
D. Details reported
E. Connections made

5. Why is background knowledge important to reading comprehension?

A. Expands vocabulary
B. Helps integrate new data
C. Makes connections
D. Helps make revisions in understanding
E. All of the above

Answer Key For Reading Specialist

1. Answer: A

Print exposure is the amount of time a person spends reading. He can read fiction and nonfiction books, school and local newspapers, entertainment and news magazines, and professional and scientific journals. No matter the source, reading has lasting cognitive consequences. Research shows reading, not oral language, is the most effective way to increase one’s vocabulary at any age.

Conversations between adults contain fewer advanced words than a book for preschoolers. Television scripts and radio commentary is the same, as are programs devoted even to hard news coverage. Why? Because oral language is very repetitive, and people seldom venture out of their verbal comfort zone. Good reading skills are essential to learning, no matter what the subject being studied. So in order to improve and increase vocabulary, students need to read from a variety of sources. Making sure reading material on interesting subjects is available encourages students to read for fun, to gain knowledge, and ultimately improves their vocabulary.

2. Answer: E

No matter how many vocabulary lists are passed out, reviewed and tested on, there is no way a teacher can teach students every word he may encounter, so it is important to introduce them to the dictionary and thesaurus and the glossary of terms found in many books. Students should receive instruction in how to use these reference books and where to find the glossary. They should also be able to dissect a word into its various parts.

The root of the word can be from another language (about sixty percent of English was taken from Latin or Greek). The base word is the foundation from which other words are made. The affixes are attached to words at the beginning (prefix) and the end (suffix). Knowing common root and base words and what prefixes and suffixes mean, as well as how they are used helps students decipher the meaning of complex and unfamiliar words.

3. Answer: E

A student’s ability to clearly express his thought and ideas in writing is related to his reading fluency and can be directly attributed to his vocabulary. Print awareness includes the realization that those words he sees in the books and magazines that adults read to him are made with pens, pencils, and the printer attached to the computer on the desk in the den. The child gradually begins to understand those funny squiggles on the paper tell his favorite stories, give directions on how to make chocolate chip cookies, and help solve problems, like putting his new bike together. When he practices “writing,” a child is learning to distinguish the difference between words and pictures, a major step toward reading comprehension. As the child’s ability to write improves, his reading fluency improves as well.

4. Answer: C

A clarifying table is a tool to separate a topic into manageable parts by taking notes in a systematic way that helps retention and comprehension. The core concept is captured, supporting ideas are recognized, clarifying details are reported, and connections to previous learned material are made. The steps to teaching the clarifying table are as follows:

  • I DO IT: Using an example, the teacher explains the components.
  • WE DO IT: The teacher and class construct a table together to help students grasp the concept.
  • YOU ALL DO IT: Students are divided into small groups to create their own tables.
  • YOU DO IT: Each student creates a table for his particular topic.

This elaboration tool can be used in any class to develop reading skills, improve note taking, and prepare for tests. It can be used as a:

  • PARAPHRASING TOOL: while reading to take notes for discussions and review for tests
  • NOTE-TAKING TOOL: identify key ideas and interesting details to use for review
  • OUTLINE TOOL: gather information, organize ideas, and plan the structure of any written assignment

5. Answer: E

While background knowledge includes word recognition, its primary meaning is information about and understanding of the world and its social and cultural influences. This knowledge foundation comes from being read to as a young child and reading for pleasure away from assigned school tasks. Since most struggling readers don’t read unless they have to, students should be allowed to select topics and media they find interesting and relevant.

If a student feels more comfortable reading magazines and newspapers instead of books, he should be encouraged to do so. Any reading contributes to basic background knowledge, expands vocabulary, and improves fluency. Participating in group discussions helps students activate their background knowledge, which helps them integrate the new data with previously acquired information, make connections between the two, and make any necessary revisions in understanding. Teachers can help students in this process by conducting “think aloud” sessions, encouraging self-questioning, and explaining the relevance to their world.