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Study Guide

Field 221: Multi-Subject: Teachers of Childhood
(Grade 1–Grade 6)
Part One: Literacy and English Language Arts

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Sample Selected-Response Questions

Competency 0001 
Knowledge of Literacy and Language Arts

1. Which factor is most frequently the underlying cause of children's early difficulty in learning to read?

  1. limited general background knowledge
  2. weak phonological processing skills
  3. immature knowledge of syntax
  4. poor visual acuity
Enter to expand or collapse answer. Answer expanded
Correct Response: B. This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of individual variation in literacy development, including knowledge of specific reading difficulties, and knowledge of cognitive, behavioral, environmental, social, cultural, technological, and linguistic factors affecting language and literacy development. Convergent research has shown the most commonly occurring cause of early reading difficulty is weak phonological processing skills. Beginning reading instruction focuses on the development of automatic decoding skills that support the continuing development of reading comprehension, conceptual knowledge, and vocabulary development. When beginning readers have weak phonological processing skills, they have limited knowledge of the component phonemes in spoken words and thus have difficulty connecting letters in printed language to the component sounds and spoken words they represent.

Competency 0002 
Instruction in Foundational Literacy Skills

2. As an integral part of planning reading instruction, a fifth-grade teacher provides students with opportunities to interact with objects or illustrations related to important content in planned texts. For example, during an earth science unit, before students read an informational passage about the effects of pollution on the ecosystem of a vernal pool, the teacher arranges a guided class visit to a vernal pool in the area. Which statement best explains a research-based rationale for this practice?

  1. Literacy activities that appeal to multiple intelligences promote the reading motivation of all students.
  2. Multisensory approaches are effective for reinforcing print-based skills.
  3. A text-rich environment plays an important role in the literacy development of elementary readers.
  4. Background knowledge is an important factor in reading comprehension.
Enter to expand or collapse answer. Answer expanded
Correct Response: D. This question requires the examinee to demonstrate knowledge of the role of background knowledge in text comprehension and strategies for planning a content-rich, text-rich classroom environment and for promoting independent reading in a wide range of text types and genres to support text comprehension through the development of academic background knowledge. Background knowledge is prior knowledge about a topic that supports reading comprehension and learning new concepts. In the scenario described, the teacher ensures that students have concrete experiences that build background knowledge directly related to the topic of the planned reading assignment. Students will then be able to draw on this prior knowledge when they read the text, supporting and enhancing both their literal and inferential comprehension of the material.

Competency 0003 
Instruction in English Language Arts

3. Students in a sixth-grade class are preparing to read Laurence Yep's novel  start italics Dragonwings end italics , in which the narrator leaves his home in China as a young boy to join his father in California. Over the course of the novel, the father and son confront racial prejudice, experience the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and forge a friendship. Before students begin the novel, they write in their reading journals about a time when they felt like strangers in a strange land. The assignment will most likely enhance students' ability to

  1. visualize the novel's characters and setting
  2. draw conclusions about the novel's central themes
  3. predict events that lead to the novel's climax
  4. understand the perspective of the novel's narrator
Enter to expand or collapse answer. Answer expanded
Correct Response: D. This question requires the examinee to apply knowledge of developmentally appropriate, research- and evidence-based assessment and instructional practices to promote students' development of independent strategies that support reading of literature with purpose and understanding (e.g., making and verifying predictions, visualizing, making connections). Writing about a time when they felt like strangers in a strange land will help students relate their personal experience to that of the narrator of  start italics Dragonwings end italics . When students can draw connections between themselves and the narrator, they will be more engaged with a novel whose unfamiliar setting might make it challenging. Attempting to draw connections between their own feelings and experiences with those of fictional characters is an independent strategy that will support students' ability to read literature with greater purpose and deeper understanding.