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Praxis Teaching Reading – The Top 7 Things You Need to Know to Pass

Studying for the Praxis Teaching Reading exam can feel lonely, frustrating, and overwhelming.

There’s limited choice when looking for a Praxis Teaching Reading study guide. A Praxis preparation book or set of Praxis II questions alone aren’t enough to help you pass. Teacher forums and Praxis Teaching Reading practice test and book reviews aren’t helpful in actually getting a passing score.

praxis teaching reading practice test questions passing score

Many using a Praxis Teaching Reading test study guide still end up feeling isolated and frustrated. They feel they’re at a loss for what they need to know.

While a solid Praxis Teaching Reading practice test can help, practice questions don’t give you test-taking strategies, point out commonly-tested subjects, or correct misconceptions about the test.

I’m here to help fill the gap.

Here’s the top 7 things you need to know to pass the Praxis Teaching Reading 5204 or Praxis Teaching Reading: Elementary Education 5203. Apply the following review materials and preparation tips
immediately if you want to get an immediately pop in your score.

Praxis Teaching Reading Tip #1: Diversity Is Important

You expect Praxis Teaching Reading questions on assessment and phonics. But you might not expect questions related to diversity. Be sure to prepare yourself for this because it’s a subtle but important piece of the Praxis 5204 and Praxis 5203.

Here are a few ways diversity can come up on the Praxis Teaching Reading exams:

    • Understanding how kids’ environments affect ability to read.
    • Understanding how background knowledge and cultural background affect reading comprehension.
  • Choosing texts that “reflect social diversity” is a main requirement for the Curriculum Material constructed response.

Since constructed responses are worth 25% of your score, ignoring diversity could really hurt you. (See table below for a breakdown of the Praxis 5204 and Praxis 5203).

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Praxis 5204 Teaching Reading

SectionNumber of QuestionsWorth
Emergent Literacy15 multiple choice12%
Phonological Awareness14 multiple choice12%
Alphabetic Principle/ Phonics & Word Analysis14 multiple choice12%
Comprehension and Fluency30 multiple choice25%
Vocabulary17 multiple choice14%
Instructional Processes3 constructive response25%

Praxis 5203 Teaching Reading: Elementary Education


Number of Questions


Assessment & Diagnostic Teaching of Reading

22 multiple choice

1 constructive response

Reading Development

45 multiple choice

1 constructive response

Writing in Support of Reading

23 multiple choice

1 constructive response


Praxis Teaching Reading Tip #2: For Long Passages, Look At The Question First

If you take 30 minutes for constructed response, you’ve got about:

  • 1 minute per selected-response question for Praxis 5204.
  • 1 minute and 20 seconds per selected-response question for Praxis 5203.

That’s already tough. Now add in a few long passages to read, and finishing the test can feel nearly impossible.

It’s too easy to get lost in a longer passage and waste valuable time re-reading. Instead, try glancing down at the question first. When you go back and read the passage, you’ll know exactly what you’re looking for. It may only save a few seconds per question, but those seconds add up.

Praxis Teaching Reading Tip #3: Understand Reading Genres And Their Purposes For Teaching

Most sections on both the Praxis Teaching Reading and the Praxis Teaching Reading: Elementary Education might ask questions on different kinds of reading materials. You need to understand what genres of texts are helpful for different areas of teaching reading.

praxis 2 teaching reading study guide prep online

For example:

  • A short book with a lot of rhymes and similar phonetic structures can promote phonological awareness.
  • Texts that are meant to help students acquire new vocabulary should contain a few new words but be easy for students to understand in sentence structure and format.

Again, the “different kinds of texts and their various uses” can appear on the constructed response questions, meaning you can lose a lot of points if you aren’t well-versed in this area.

Praxis Teaching Reading Tip #4: “Teaching Reading” Also Means Teaching Writing

Sure, it’s a “Teaching Reading” test, but a lot of questions will relate to writing. The Praxis 5203 even has an entire subcategory devoted to how writing helps reading (Writing in Support of Reading). It’s worth a whopping 27% of your score.

Praxis 5204 Teaching Reading may not have an entire subcategory for writing, but it does heavily emphasize writing. In your studying, pay attention to the ways writing can be used as a teaching tool and as an assessment.

Praxis Teaching Reading Tip #5: Praxis 5204 and Praxis 5203 Constructed Response Questions May Ask More Than They Seem To

Constructed response question will usually give you a couple of bullet points to include in your answer. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that two bullets points means two facets to the question. Look at the example below from ETS’s Praxis 5204 Teaching Reading study companion:

Be sure to respond to both of the following:

  • Briefly describe an instructional material the teachers would use within these units to support the reading focus. Explain the criteria used to evaluate the material in meeting these instructional needs.
  • Briefly describe an activity using technology with the interdisciplinary science units. Specify how the activity supports student reading goals.

Notice that there are only two bullet points but four parts to the question. A useful trick? Rely on command verbs rather than bullet points. Generally, each sentence that starts with a command verb will include something that you must include in your response. In this example, you have:

  • Briefly describe.
  • Explain.
  • Briefly describe.
  • Specify.

And yes, leaving out the “explain” or “specify” will impact your score. A main factor in grading the constructed response is how well you answer each part of the question. Even an accurate, well-supported response that leaves out just one part of the question won’t receive a top score.

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Praxis Teaching Reading Tip #6: Constructed Response Doesn’t Mean Essay

A common misnomer for the Praxis Teaching Reading and Praxis Teaching Reading; Elementary Education constructed response section is the “essay portion.” But this isn’t exactly true.

“Essay” suggests that you need an introduction, conclusion, transitions, and body paragraphs. You don’t.

Of course, your response should still be organized, and clear. But you should focus simply on answering each part of the question; no introduction necessary. Consider this organization strategy instead:

  • One paragraph per bullet point in question.
  • Use command verbs in question (describe, explain, specify, etc.) to set up main points.
  • Follow up every main point with 2-3 sentences of evidence and rationale.

Two paragraphs with evidence and answers to every part of the question will score much higher than a five-paragraph essay that doesn’t answer the prompt or include enough support.

Links To Praxis Subject Tests Prep Tools And Tactics

Praxis Teaching Reading Tip #7: Constructed Responses Aren’t Scored For Style

Take a look at the ETS Praxis Teaching Reading study companions and their constructed response examples. Notice that even the top scoring samples aren’t fancy.

Yes, they are clear and well-written. But they are direct and to the point. They don’t waste time on eloquent turns-of-phrases or gimmicky transitions.

Some might even characterize the writing style as “choppy,” but know that this is totally okay. Graders know that you have a very limited time to answer. They aren’t looking for the most fluid, eloquent writing in the world. They just want to see that you know your stuff and can communicate it clearly.

Take Action

  • Start with the ETS Praxis 5203 or Praxis 5204 study companions.
  • Time yourself on a few Praxis Teaching Reading practice tests to see if you need to practice speeding up.
  • Look for action verbs in the constructed response questions of your Praxis Teaching Reading practice test questions.
  • Practice writing constructed responses without thinking of them as essays.

Go to: This Bizarre Epiphany Helped A Low IQ Praxis Test Taker Pass And Start Teaching Students Who Needed Her…

Author: Mark Dahlson