Study Guide

Elementary Education (Grades 1–6)
Sample Multiple-Choice Questions

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Field 197: Language and Literacy (Grades 1–6)

Each multiple-choice question has four answer choices. Read each question and its answer choices carefully and choose the ONE best answer.

During the test you should try to answer all questions. Even if you are unsure of an answer, it is better to guess than not to answer a question at all. You will NOT be penalized for choosing an incorrect response.

Objective 0001
Understand foundations of research-based literacy instruction and assessment and apply knowledge of emergent literacy development.

1. The Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy include teaching students at the fourth-grade level how to use context, Greek and Latin roots, and reference materials to promote vocabulary acquisition. Which of the following statements best explains how these strategies contribute to students' overall reading development and will help them develop college and career readiness in vocabulary?

  1. Students need to develop a variety of independent word-learning strategies to deal with the volume of new words they will encounter in wide reading.
  2. Students need to develop an awareness of new words they may encounter in their reading so that they will be able to retain them effectively in the future.
  3. Students need to develop an ability to spell and properly pronounce words that they may need to apply in their future speaking and writing endeavors.
  4. Students need to develop knowledge of a range of discipline-specific words so that they are prepared to study a variety of fields or to pursue different careers.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
Contextual analysis, structural analysis, and the use of reference materials are all powerful word-learning strategies. Students will encounter thousands of unfamiliar vocabulary words throughout their school years and beyond. To achieve academically across the curriculum and communicate effectively in their future careers, students need to be able to both comprehend and use these words effectively. Time constraints make it impossible for teachers to explicitly teach students every grade-level academic word they need to know, let alone all the words they will need in the future. Therefore, to ensure that students are college and career ready, teachers must help students develop a repertoire of strategies for determining the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary they will encounter across the curriculum and beyond the classroom.

Objective 0001
Understand foundations of research-based literacy instruction and assessment and apply knowledge of emergent literacy development.

2. A first-grade teacher is working with a small group of emergent readers and would like to promote their ability to identify the final consonant sound in spoken words. Which of the following student activities would best promote achievement of this goal?

  1. writing all the words they know that end in the same final sound and reading the words aloud
  2. circling the last letter of each word on a list of grade-level words and saying the letter's name aloud
  3. saying aloud the words depicted on picture cards and sorting the cards by the last sound in each word
  4. reading a simple grade-level poem aloud and segmenting the onsets and rimes of the final word in each line
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
To identify final consonant sounds in spoken words, the students need to be able to isolate, or segment, those sounds. In the picture sorting activity described, the teacher is having students isolate the final consonant sound of each pictured word, thereby providing the students with practice in phonemic segmentation and final sound identification. In order to sort each card accurately, the student must focus on the final sound of the word represented by the picture. The use of picture (word) sorts for developing and practicing phonemic awareness skills is a best practice with emergent readers because it promotes learning through multiple modalities. Students see the picture, say the name of the pictured word, and must listen carefully to its sounds. Then they physically sort the cards by sound categories (e.g., the last sound in the word).

Objective 0002
Apply knowledge of decoding and fluency development.

3. Which of the following sets of words would be most appropriate to use for assessing third-grade students' ability to use structural analysis skills to decode words?

  1. closed, living, held
  2. contestant, logically, correlation
  3. bunnies, cities, animals
  4. unhappy, daytime, noiseless
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
Structural analysis (sometimes called morphemic analysis) is the analysis of the meaning-bearing elements (i.e., morphemes) in a word to help determine the word's pronunciation and meaning. Unhappy, daytime, and noiseless are all words that can be divided easily into meaningful parts, or morphemes, and are also words that are appropriate to use as example words with third-grade students. The word unhappy can be divided into two component morphemes—the prefix un- (meaning "not") and the root word happy. The word noiseless can also be divided into two component morphemes—the suffix -less (meaning "without") and the root word noise. The word daytime is a compound word, which is a word that consists of (usually two) component morphemes, each of which is a word (i.e., day and time). Students' ability to divide words into morphemes and to analyze the meaning of the morphemes in order to determine a word's overall meaning is helpful in supporting their decoding skills, fluency, vocabulary development, and comprehension. Proficiency in this type of analytic skill is a third-grade expectation according to the Illinois Learning Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy: Foundational Skills.

Objective 0003
Apply knowledge of development in vocabulary, academic language, and reading comprehension.

4. A fifth-grade teacher periodically has students analyze short science and social studies passages that are written at or slightly above grade level. First, the teacher underlines key words, phrases, and sentences on copies of the text. The teacher then has pairs of students read the passage and ask each other clarifying questions about the underlined elements. Finally, the students paraphrase each of the underlined elements in their own words and use these to construct a written summary of the passage. These activities best demonstrate the teacher's awareness of which of the following factors affecting reading development?

  1. the benefits of guided practice in reinforcing students' word-learning strategies
  2. the role of academic language in supporting students' comprehension of complex texts
  3. the influence of prior language experiences on students' reading comprehension
  4. the importance of selecting texts for students according to multiple dimensions of text complexity
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
In order to be able to comprehend and learn from increasingly complex content-area texts, students must be able to understand academic language (i.e., the vocabulary and language structures used in oral and written academic discourse). Since most students do not encounter academic language often in everyday speech, they need repeated exposure to and opportunities to use academic language in various contexts in class. In the scenario described, the teacher has students use close-reading strategies (e.g., asking clarifying questions, paraphrasing) with challenging passages to provide them with practice constructing meaning from complex text, with the final product being a written summary of the passage. By breaking down the summarization task into different steps, the activity scaffolds students' ability to deconstruct and clarify the meaning of complex words, phrases, and sentences in an academic passage in order to make meaning of the passage.

Objective 0003
Apply knowledge of development in vocabulary, academic language, and reading comprehension.

5. A sixth-grade English language learner has grade-level literacy skills in Spanish and grade-level fluency skills in English, but the student struggles to comprehend academic texts in English. In an intervention designed to address the student's reading-comprehension difficulties in English, which of the following strategies would be most important for the teacher to focus on first?

  1. developing the student's familiarity with common text structures used in English academic texts
  2. promoting the student's ability to use a cognate strategy to understand academic vocabulary in English
  3. providing the student with systematic, explicit instruction in phonics and other decoding strategies in English
  4. helping the student relate new content encountered in academic texts to the content of texts previously read in English
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
Studies show that unless students know 85–95% of the words in a text they are reading, their comprehension will be compromised. Therefore, it is important to provide explicit vocabulary instruction to English language learners to promote their reading comprehension. Cognates are words in two languages that share common historical roots and that therefore have retained similar spellings and meanings. Because of the strong influence of Latin and French on the development of English, a little over 80% of the words found on academic word lists in English have Latin or Greek origins. Logically, this means that most of these words have Spanish cognates, as Spanish is descended from Latin and also shares many of the same borrowed words from Greek. Therefore, a sixth-grade English language learner who has grade-level literacy skills in Spanish would significantly improve his/her English academic vocabulary and comprehension of English academic texts by being taught to look for cognates in the texts. In addition, the teacher's assistance with cognate recognition will promote the student's awareness of connections between the two languages (i.e., positive language transfer), thereby supporting the student's application of background knowledge to his/her reading in English.

Objective 0004
Apply knowledge of skills and approaches for developing comprehension and analysis of literary and informational texts.

6. Read the passage below; then answer the question that follows.

Before students begin reading an informational article about penguins, a teacher conducts a think-aloud while scanning the article. The teacher's think-aloud appears below.

The title of this article tells me that I'm going to read about penguins. I've seen cartoons about penguins, and we read the book Mr. Popper's Penguins in class. Those were funny stories, but they weren't about real penguins. I think this article is going to be about real penguins because I see photographs of real penguins. There are captions under the photographs. If I read the captions, I can probably find out the names of the penguins in the photographs. That way when I read about different kinds of penguins in the article, I'll be able to see what they look like. I also see a chart. It has drawings of 17 species of penguins. Wow! I didn't know there were so many kinds of penguins! The chart tells where each type of penguin lives. I can look at the chart while I'm reading the article.

The teacher's approach will promote students' learning primarily by:

  1. motivating students to conduct research on a topic related to penguins.
  2. promoting students' ability to analyze how graphic features relate to the article.
  3. activating students' background knowledge about types of penguins.
  4. familiarizing students with general academic and domain-specific vocabulary.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
The teacher's purpose for using a think-aloud strategy is to reveal to students the thought process behind completing a comprehension task. By verbalizing this thought process, the teacher demonstrates how students can use graphic features to support and supplement information provided in the text of the article. The think-aloud will promote students' ability to understand how each text feature relates to the article, as well as their ability to use the text features to support comprehension.

Objective 0005
Apply knowledge of writing development and the writing process.

7. Read the draft paragraph below from a student's informative essay; then answer the question that follows.

1Kites were probably invented in China during the fifth century. 2The first known kites were made of a bamboo frame covered with silk or paper. 3They were usually flat rectangles, and unlike modern kites, they did not have tails. 4______________________________ 5People used kites to measure distances, to test the wind, and to communicate. 6There is an ancient Chinese story about a Chinese emperor who used a kite to send a message for help when he was trapped by rebel soldiers. 7Some kites could actually carry warriors into the air and over enemy territory.

Which of the following sentences, if inserted as Sentence 4, would most effectively support a logical development of ideas in the paragraph?

  1. In some countries, making and flying kites is an art.
  2. Early South Sea Islanders attached fishing nets to kites.
  3. Early kites were made to fulfill practical purposes.
  4. Kites have been used to learn about aerodynamics.
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: C.
The paragraph focuses on the history of kites. To effectively support a logical development of ideas in the paragraph, Sentence 4 should provide a logical transition between the physical description of the first kites in Sentences 2 and 3 and the examples of how early kites were used that follow in Sentences 5, 6, and 7. The sentence "Early kites were made to fulfill practical purposes" provides such a transition by showing the connection between how kites were made and how they were used.

Objective 0005
Apply knowledge of writing development and the writing process.

8. With the goal of guiding students' revision of their writing, a teacher wants to provide meaningful feedback on students' first drafts during one-on-one conferences. Which of the following approaches would be most effective for the teacher to use to achieve this goal?

  1. highlighting text that needs extensive revision and asking students to describe how they plan to rewrite the highlighted text
  2. identifying errors in grammar and mechanics and showing students examples of correct usage of standard writing conventions
  3. using academic language and domain-specific terms when discussing students' drafts and evaluating students' writing performance
  4. commenting on a draft's strengths before making explicit suggestions for improving the draft to meet specific criteria
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: D.
Feedback is most constructive when it is explicit and timely. Explicit feedback should be based on clear criteria, such as those in a writing rubric, and should indicate how close students have come to meeting that criteria. Explicit feedback should include specific details about what students need to do to meet the next level of performance (e.g., use transitional words or expressions to clarify relationships between ideas, add sensory details to make descriptions more vivid, vary sentence structure to increase readers' interest). By offering explicit feedback between the draft and revision stages and by basing that feedback on a rubric, the teacher can successfully provide students with the opportunity and guidance they need to revise their writing.

Objective 0006
Apply knowledge of the development of speaking and listening skills.

9. A first-grade teacher has invited a naturalist from a local wildlife center to give a presentation on migratory birds to the class. The teacher is concerned that students may have difficulty sustaining attention during the presentation due to their unfamiliarity with the topic. In advance of the presentation, the teacher leads a class discussion to determine what students already know about migratory birds and then reads aloud from a recent newspaper article on the topic. Which of the following additional steps by the teacher would be most effective for promoting students' active listening during the presentation?

  1. preteaching challenging vocabulary that is relevant to the topic
  2. reminding students of established guidelines for polite listening
  3. displaying colorful photographs of migratory birds in the classroom
  4. showing students the presentation outline provided by the speaker
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: A.
The teacher prepares students for the presentation by helping them relate new knowledge to previous knowledge. By pre-teaching challenging vocabulary that is relevant to the presentation topic, the teacher provides students with additional relevant background knowledge. Students can then apply their newly acquired knowledge of domain-specific vocabulary to enhance comprehension during the presentation.

Objective 0006
Apply knowledge of the development of speaking and listening skills.

10. Read the transcript of a student's oral book report below; then answer the question that follows.

What is your favorite food? If it's pizza, you should read this book. You probably know that pizza is from Italy. But did you know that kings and queens used to eat it? This book is full of interesting facts. They used to eat it with mozzarella cheese and red tomatoes just like we do now. When people from Italy came to live in the United States they missed pizza. That's why we have pizza in the United States. This book will make you hungry. It even has recipes. You can learn how to toss pizza dough in the air and spin it around.

Given the evidence presented, the student needs instructional support in which of the following oral presentation skills?

  1. engaging the audience
  2. sequencing ideas logically
  3. expressing opinions clearly
  4. using precise language
Answer and Rationale
Correct Response: B.
The student's oral book report engages the audience by asking questions ("What is your favorite food?" "But did you know that kings and queens used to eat it?"). The student's opinions are clearly expressed ("If it's pizza, you should read this book," "This book is full of interesting facts," "This book will make you hungry"), and the student uses precise language ("mozzarella cheese," "red tomatoes," "toss," "spin"). However, the student needs instructional support with sequencing ideas logically. By re-sequencing and adding sentences, as well as by adding appropriate transitional words and phrases, the student can better organize ideas and clarify the relationships between them.