By Carla C. Kirkland, Chan Cleveland

The Praxis Elementary Education exam contains questions that test your strategies for helping students develop their fluency in English. These strategies may include using graphic organizers and making inferences.

A fluent reader can read a grade-level text with accuracy, quickness, and expression. It is important for readers to have lots of practice and feedback all along (from learning print concepts to phonemes to words) so that they can become fluent readers at their grade level.

Ultimately, fluent readers read well enough to let themselves focus on not just what the text says, but on what the text means. Fluency leads to comprehension.

There are many strategies to help students with comprehension of a passage. These strategies include the following:

  • Annotating (questioning). The student asks questions about the text, defines hard or new words, analyzes images and other figurative language, and notes main ideas and supporting details.
  • Using graphic organizers (visualizing). The student uses such tools as time lines, Venn diagrams, story webs, plot diagrams, graphs, and charts.
    The KWL chart is a specific and effective graphic organizer, where the student fills in three columns before and after reading: K = What do I know?; W = What do I want to find out?; L = What did I learn?
  • Grasping concepts with guided reading. The student silently reads a book chosen by the teacher, who helps the student and analyzes the results as necessary.
  • Making inferences (inferring). Students use prior knowledge or evidence in the text (actions, events, or facts) to make a prediction, draw a conclusion, or “read between the lines.”
  • Developing metacognition. Students start thinking about thinking. They pay attention to areas they understand or find difficult, and they are aware of why they are reading and how (for example, how quickly or slowly) they are reading.
  • Employing prior knowledge. Students comprehend better by utilizing prior knowledge they have related to the text.
  • Rereading. Students read the text again; making notes or additional notes (annotating) is a good companion strategy.
  • Retelling. Students describe what happened or what they learned in their own words.
  • Summarizing (determining importance). Students identify main ideas from supporting details.

Practice question

  1. A third-grade teacher’s students are working in groups, drawing a story web about the fable they just read. Which strategy are the students engaged in?
    A. using graphic organizers
    B. metacognition
    C. KWL chart
    D. retelling

Answer and explanation

  1. The correct answer is Choice (A).
    The students are using the story web as a visualization tool. Choice (B) involves students thinking about thinking, such as talking about parts of a text that were hard to read. Choice (C) involves making a chart before and after reading to record what a student knows, what he wants to find out, and what he learned. Choice (D) involves the students describing in their own words what happened in the story.