Praxis Elementary Education Exam—Literature and Informational Text - dummies

Praxis Elementary Education Exam—Literature and Informational Text

By Carla C. Kirkland, Chan Cleveland

The Praxis Elementary Education exam covers questions on literature and informational text—that is, fiction and nonfiction. You will therefore need to be familiar with the different genres of writing.

The comprehension of text is a process that occurs over time. It is not a destination as much as it is a journey for students in schools. Each of the foundational reading skills must be taught individually, with explicit and direct instruction, but they must also be incorporated into larger chunks of meaning and instruction. These instructional units immerse students into genres of writing. There are only two types of writing, or text: fiction and nonfiction.

  • Fiction is all work that is imaginative in nature. This includes literature, poetry, drama, fables, and myths. If it is not real and did not really occur or cannot occur, it is made up, or fiction. Generally, fiction is read for the purpose of enjoyment.
  • Nonfiction is all work that is real. This includes a huge range of work that is informational, or expository, in nature such as textbooks, speeches, reports, documentaries, and so on. Generally, nonfiction is read for the purpose of acquiring information about a topic.

Students will have standards for both types of writing throughout their academic career. Specific instructional practices must be taught that address the specific text formats and features of each type of writing, so that students can comprehend the text. Even if they can read the words fluently, if they are unsure how to read a pamphlet, for example, comprehension may suffer because the information is formatted differently.

However, certain strategies and skills do apply to both types of writing. Both types of writing must be understood through a process of identifying the main idea and details, the summarizing of ideas, and the retelling of those concepts. Construction of the meaning of the text is generally understood when students can complete all of those tasks about any given text, whether fiction or nonfiction. The only exception might be with some types of poetry.

Practice question

  1. A brochure is an example of what genre of literature?
    A. fictional poetry
    B. fictional narrative
    C. nonfiction expository
    D. research expository

Answer and explanation

  1. The correct answer is Choice (C).
    Brochures are nonfiction, in that they give real and true information. Expository is writing that is informative in nature. Choices (A) and (B) are incorrect in that they are fictional in nature, meaning the information is creative and not true as regards to events and information that is usable and correct. Choice (D) is incorrect because research expository would be text that is more descriptive in nature than a brochure, such as a nonfiction book, essay, and so forth.