TExES Science of Teaching Reading Study Guide
The TExES Science of Teaching Reading (STR) exam is required by the state of Texas for teacher candidates wishing to become certified in early childhood (Pre-K to 3rd grade), core subjects (Pre-K to 6th grade), and English Language Arts and Reading/Social Studies (4th to 8th grade). Specifically, the computer-administered exam covers content pertaining to Pre-K through 6th grade literacy instruction.
Candidates will have four hours and 45 minutes to answer all the TExES exam questions which consist of 90 selected-response questions and one constructed-response question. Questions on the TExES Science of Teaching and Reading will examine topics in reading pedagogy, reading development, and assessment. The following TExES STR study guide can help test takers become familiar with the domains and TExES competencies for teachers that will be evaluated on the TExES exam schedule booked. There are four domains and 13 competencies in this exam.
|TExES Science of Teaching Reading Study Guide (293)|
|Reading Pedagogy||13% (~15 questions)|
|Reading Development: Foundational Skills||43% (~48 questions)|
|Reading Development: Comprehension||24% (~27 questions)|
|Analysis and Response||20% (1 constructed-response question)|
Candidates will need to demonstrate their specific knowledge and skills in teaching reading. This also includes being able to assess students' reading abilities.
Foundations of the Science of Teaching Reading
Test takers need to be familiar with state guidelines in the field of reading as well as current research concerning reading instruction. They should understand that the way students think and listen mutually informs their reading and their verbal and written communication skills. They should also know the typical phases and benchmarks within both reading progression and orthographic development.
Candidates should also be aware of unique challenges for special populations of students. They need to be able to recognize signs of learning disabilities or potential reading/writing difficulties. Test takers also need to be familiar with unique challenges for gifted students and those who are learning the English language.
Examinees will have to apply their understanding of the primary elements of reading instruction, including planning and adapting lessons to meet students' needs. For instance, they should recognize the value of analyzing students' strengths (assets) and planning lessons that meet students where they are to help them get to the next level of understanding.
They need to be familiar with educational technology and understand terms associated with linguistics and language acquisition (e.g., phonology, morphemes, and syntax). They should also know the importance of encouraging families to participate in students' reading pursuits.
Foundations of Reading Assessment
The next competency within this domain of TExES 293 helps to ensure that test takers are familiar with the various kinds of reading assessments available, which include informal methodologies, screenings, and the formative and cumulative types. They need to know the different parts and limitations of each kind of assessment as well as how to develop and use the assessments to measure student progress.
After studying assessments, candidates need to be able to analyze results and know best practices for relaying these results to different stakeholders. They should also be able to identify the need for any student accommodations and should be familiar with ways to obtain them.
Reading Development: Foundational Skills
In order to test candidates' knowledge of reading development, they will first be tested on their understanding of basic reading skills. They will need to demonstrate their knowledge of these skills and effective ways to teach them.
Oral Language Foundations of Reading Development
Test takers must know how to assess oral language skills in students and be able to analyze results of assessments. They need to be able to identify any signs of language delays and select supporting resources and/or interventions.
Candidates need to understand the importance of spoken language development in the reading process and base their instruction on research-based findings in the field. Test takers also need to understand how culture, background, home language, and other factors influence this development. They should be familiar with the four different categories of English proficiency (according to Texas proficiency standards) as well.
Phonological and Phonemic Awareness
Examinees will have to choose appropriate and effective teaching strategies that help students build their skills and understanding in phonology and phonemics. Strategies include demonstrating concepts with manipulatives or applying differentiation techniques. This also means being familiar with evidence-based research in the field and knowing the differences between phonology, phonemics, and phonics.
Questions will examine test takers' knowledge of the assessments used to measure student performance in this area. Candidates should also understand that the development of these skills may look different for students whose first language is not English.
Print Concepts and Alphabet Knowledge
Test takers will need to know about reading instruction focused on print elements (e.g., book drawings and covers) and recognize the importance of using predictable or repetitive texts. They should understand how the alphabetic principle in phonics plays a role in literacy development and should know best practices with different formats in lessons to help students develop these skills.
Candidates will also need to be familiar with strategies developed by research in the field, including articulatory modeling and feedback and teaching common sounds for letters. They need to know that there are many languages that do not follow English alphabetic patterns or phonetic rules, which can impact literacy in students who speak another language.
Phonics and Other Word Identification Skills
Test takers need to know research-based tools for teaching phonics, another important part of literacy instruction. They need to be familiar with skills and concepts such as:
- Automatic decoding
- Reading fluency
- Common sight words (high-frequency)
- Vowels and consonants (patterns, combinations, blends)
- Homographs (identifying their differences in sound and meaning)
- Homophones (knowing differences in spelling based on context)
- Conventions in mechanics (spelling, suffixes/prefixes, punctuation)
Candidates need an understanding of the strategies for teaching systematic phonics and word patterns. Other topics covered in this competency may include techniques for reinforcing basic reading skills, assessments to measure phonics skills, and state standards for phonics skills.
Syllabication and Morphemic Analysis Skills
Test takers should be familiar with credible, vetted strategies and grade-level state standards for teaching the different kinds of syllables, compound words and words with several syllables (and their spelling), and analysis of word units and structures (i.e., morphemes). With an understanding of how to create an effective plan of instruction, candidates should be able to gather data from assessments and choose activities that help address students' needs.
This competency will also test examinees' knowledge of research instruction, such as making use of hardcopy and online resources to explore words in terms of spelling, pronunciation, number and division of syllables, and etymology. Questions may also examine test takers' understanding of interventions available for these skills.
Candidates will need to know effective practices for helping students grow in their reading fluency. This means understanding concepts related to fluency, including reading rate (words per minute) and accuracy. Test takers should be familiar with various factors that may detract from reading fluency, such as:
- Limited vocabulary
- Difficulties with sight words
- Lack of phonics understanding
- Confusion with textual content
- Difficulties with rhythm and intonation (prosody)
Test takers must also know how to use assessments to measure reading fluency and select appropriate instructional plans that best meet the needs of students based on the results. They also need knowledge of the reading fluency continuum laid forth in the Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines and Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
Reading Development: Comprehension
The next part of TExES 293 focuses on the skills associated with reading comprehension. Test takers need to understand how comprehension skills grow and how to teach comprehension with different types of texts.
Test takers should be familiar with a range of tools and techniques that can be used to increase students' vocabulary, such as frequent and gradual exposure to words and diverse reading selections. They also need to be able to assess the skill levels and ongoing progress of students in this area.
Candidates should understand how vocabulary knowledge influences reading comprehension, independent reading abilities, and speaking skills. They also need to be familiar with the three tiers or levels of vocabulary (daily use, basic educational use, and industry- or subject-specific use) and the requirements for choosing appropriate words to conduct word study.
Test takers must have knowledge of strategies for teaching students to decipher word meaning on their own, such as using context clues and breaking down the structure of words.
Test takers need to know recommended measures to help students grow in their abilities to read and comprehend complex texts. These measures can include administering assessments, addressing misconceptions, and basing instruction and interventions on assessment results.
Examinees will need to be able to identify related literacy factors that impact comprehension, including decoding abilities, vocabulary level, and exposure to similar texts. In addition, they should be familiar with strategies such as providing students with access to a wide range of text types, which can go hand in hand with encouraging self-supported reading skills.
Test questions may ask about the influence of background or content knowledge on reading comprehension as well as the three levels of understanding with respect to reading a text (literal, inferential, and critical or evaluative). Candidates should know the importance of exposing students to different literary genres and informative works.
Comprehension of Literary Texts
Continuing to build upon the knowledge and skills in reading comprehension development, candidates also need to understand the theory and practice of teaching comprehension skills that are specific to literary works. Based on assessment data, test takers must be able to select appropriate texts and identify effective teaching strategies, such as showing how to find key parts of a text and encouraging critical thinking skills.
Test takers will need to know practices and approaches for teaching students how to analyze a literary text in terms of the following:
- Genre within children's folklore or literature
- Plot events
- Figurative language
Comprehension of Informational Texts
This competency focuses on testing candidates' ability to teach reading comprehension of informational texts. Similar to the above competency, test takers need to know how to review assessments to recommend instructional plans in this area. They should be familiar with standards and expectations for selecting a variety of text types and formats, such as electronic texts and works that are intended to be persuasive.
Examinees need to be familiar with strategies for teaching students to analyze informational pieces in terms of elements such as:
- Central ideas
- Supporting details
- Intended audience
- Structure and organization
- Graphics and formatting
For instance, strategies may focus on teaching students how to notice formatting features, how to identify steps laid out in a procedural text, or how to describe different viewpoints within a text during discussions or group reading sessions.
Analysis and Response
The final domain of TExES Science of Teaching and Reading consists of one competency, ''Analysis and Response,'' and it contains the constructed-response question of the exam. This section will evaluate test takers' ability to create a 400-600-word written response to student assessment data. This assessment data and information will pertain to reading development and reading comprehension. Therefore, this final domain aims to test candidates' ability to apply their knowledge to real-world scenarios.
Test takers will need to know how to analyze student reading data and draw conclusions from the results. They will have to communicate their findings, such as noticing that a student is falling behind in one or more of the fundamental reading areas or observing an issue in how the student is understanding the reading material. They also need to ensure that their information is accurate and backed.
Based on these findings, test takers need to be able to suggest necessary interventions or changes to instruction to help students improve. The data should support these recommendations that are made to promote student progress.
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