Praxis Elementary Education Prep—Phonics and Word Recognition - dummies

Praxis Elementary Education Prep—Phonics and Word Recognition

By Carla C. Kirkland, Chan Cleveland

The Praxis Elementary Education exam contains questions on teaching phonics and helping students to recognize words. You’ll be tested on your familiarity with techniques such as shared reading, instant recognition, and running records.

When readers can look at a printed word and say it out loud, they are decoding it. Beginning readers learn to recognize, or decode, many words, including word families and high-frequency words. So, having learned to read cat, readers may learn other words in the at family, including bat, fat, hat, mat, sat, and that. Written language games involving rhyme can help students learn phonics.

High-frequency words are often sight words; that is, readers need to decode them by sight rather than rely on how the sounds in the words are put together. Such words as the, you, and said are examples of frequently used words that readers learn by sight. A strategy that may work here is shared reading, where students read along with the teacher, or, once initial learning has taken place, where students read in peer groups. Once students have a firm basis, independent reading can serve as a helpful strategy.

In addition to memorizing high-frequency words and using the strategy of instant recognition, students may use different context clues—in a text itself—to help them know what they’re reading. These clues may be semantic, based on the general meaning of the story or sentence; syntactic, based on word order in a sentence; and picture or symbolic, based on illustrations.

You can keep track of a student’s word-recognition skills by using a running record. Here, following along as a student reads, the teacher makes a mark or note above each word to show whether it was read correctly or not. The teacher then arrives at the student’s accuracy rate using this formula: (total words read – total errors) / total words read × 100. To analyze the results, use these text terms and percentages:

  • Independent. The student can read 95 to 100 percent of the text.
  • Instructional. The student can read 90 to 95 percent of the text.
  • Frustrational. The student can read less than 90 percent; the text is too difficult.

Practice question

  1. In a first-grade class, the teacher checks each word as a student reads. Out of 200 total words, the student makes 34 errors. Which category is the student in?
    A. Running record independent
    B. Running record instructional
    C. Instant recognition instructional
    D. Running record frustrational

Answer and explanation

  1. The correct answer is Choice (D).
    A total of 200 words read – 34 errors = 166. 166 / 200 = 0.83. Multiplied by 100, this decimal = 83 percent, which is below 90 percent and in the running record frustrational category. Choice (A) would require the percentage to be from 95 to 100 percent. Choice (B) would require the percentage to be from 90 to 95 percent. Choice (C) refers to a category that does not exist. The formula pertains to a running record.