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Praxis II: 5015 — Study Guide

by | May 10, 2012 | Education

I took the Praxis II: 5015 (Elementary Education: Instructional Practice and Applications) recently and wanted to share with you some terms/concepts I found particularly useful to know!

Though this guide is based off the Praxis II: 5015 test, it is also pertinent to the Praxis II: 0011 (5011), 0012 (5012), and 0014 (5014) tests.


Language Acquisition


Digraph — A pair of characters used together to represent a single sound (phoneme). (e.g. “sh”)

Dipthong — Going from one vowel to another without discernible difference.

Onset — The consonant sound that comes before the first vowel in a syllable (e.g. “c” and “b” in “cabby” or the “sw” in “swim”). Not all words have onset (e.g. “eat”).

Rime — The entire syllable excluding the onset (e.g. the “im” in “swim”).

Blend — Weaving individual sounds together to produce a word (e.g. “t-o-p”).

Phonemes — The smallest units of sound (e.g. the sounds associated with individual letters). (E.g. “Egg” has two phonemes — the sound for “e” and the sound for “gg”). (E.g. “Wish” has three phonemes — the sound for “w”, “i”, and “sh”).

Alphabetic Principle — Each phoneme should have its own distinctive graphic representation.

Phonemic Awareness — The awareness that individual letters have specific sounds associated with them (and that sounds make up words). (A child with phonemic awareness would soon learn that by breaking a word into letters and “sounding out” each letter, the overall word can be pronounced.)

Phonics — The association of sounds with writing (either with letters or groups of letters — e.g. “ing”).

Phonological Awareness — The awareness that words are made up of sounds. (and that these sounds can be taken individually or grouped together into units. E.g. phonemes vs syllables).




Emergent Literacy — When a child uses books and writing materials to pretend to read/write, even though they do not actually know how to read/write.

Guided Reading — The teacher gives the students a structure for and tells them the purpose of their reading, as well as a structure for how to respond to the text.

Round-Robin Reading — Students take turns reading from a book.

Echo Reading — The teacher reads a line from a book and the students repeat it.

Choral Reading — Students read aloud at the same time as the teacher.

Fill-in-the-Gap Reading — Teachers read from a book and pauses occasionally to the have students chime in with the appropriate rhyming or predictable word.

Shared Reading — Echo, choral, or fill-in-the-gap reading.

Big Books — Books that are very large, with large print and pictures.

Decode — Look at written text and “translate” it into spoken sounds.

Sight Words — Words that a student recognizes on sight, rather than first having to sound them out.

Fluency — How well a student is able to read something. (E.g. Are they slow readers who constantly have to slow down/stop to sound out words?)




Encode — Take spoken sounds and “encode” them as written words.

Narrative Writing — Writing that tells a story (e.g. has a plot). Has chronology (experiences time).

Descriptive Writing — Writing that describes something to the senses (e.g. a description of a meadow). Designed to affect the reader’s emotions.

Persuasive Writing — Writing that tries to convince the reader of something.

Expository Writing — Writing that tries to inform the reader of something (e.g. giving directions to a house). It doesn’t care if the reader uses the information or has their minds changed, it’s just giving it to them.




Cloze Procedure — Students fill in missing words based on context (e.g. fill-in-the-blank sentences).

Rubric — A method of scoring work (e.g. an essay) using a numerical value (e.g. 1-5), where each value is associated with certain characteristics.

Formative Assessment — Assessing a student’s understanding as you teach a unit (e.g. through homework, in-class activities, journal writing, etc.).

Cumulative Assessment — Assessing a student’s understanding at the end of a unit (e.g. through a Unit Test).

Criterion-Referenced Test — Students are tested to see how much of a subject (the criterion) they actually understand (as compared to a specific learning objective and not to other students).

Norm-Referenced Test — Students are tested to see how much of a subject they understand as compared to other students in their age group.




Reciprocal Teaching — The teacher models a concept. The students then form groups and take turns leading small-group discussions about the concept to each other.

Cooperative Teaching — Teachers join together (cooperate) to teach a concept.

Scaffolded Instruction — Teachers provide temporary support to a student who is not ready to perform a task independently. As the student gains confidence/skill, this support is slowly taken away until the student can function independently.

Modeling — The teacher demonstrates how to do something, then has the student do it. (I.e. “I do it; I do it, you help; You do it, I help; You do it”) (I.e. “I do it; We do it; You do it.”)

Inquiry Teaching — Students are encouraged to ask questions, and the teacher (rather than answering them) simply asks more questions.

Think-Pair-Share — The teacher asks a question, and the students think about it. Then they pair up to discuss their thoughts. Then they share their conclusions with the class.

Jigsaw Method — Students are assigned to a group (e.g. Group 1). They then leave this group and form a new group (Group 2). No two students from Group 1 can be in the same Group 2. Each of these new groups is given a topic to become an “expert” on. The students talk among themselves and do research, etc., to become as knowledgeable as they can about their topic. Students then return to their original group and teach the others what they’ve learned.

Wait Time — By pausing (for about a minute) after asking a question, teachers will generate longer and more thoughtful answers from their students.




Auditory Learners — Learn best through verbal instruction.

Visual Learners — Learn best by seeing (e.g. reading a textbook, watching a demonstration).

Kinesthetic/Tactile Learners — Learn best by doing (e.g. hands-on activities).

Cooperative Learning — Students are put in groups to complete a task/learn a concept.

Bloom’s Taxonomy — Learning is a process involving (in order):

  • Knowledge — Obtain information.
  • Comprehension — Understand the information obtained
  • Application — Use the information in different situations
  • Analysis — Analyze the information so you understand sub-parts, and see how it compares to other information
  • Synthesis — Combine the information with previously-learned information to come up with new information/conclusions
  • Evaluation — Use the information to make the best judgement possible about something




Peer-Tutor — A student who understands a certain concept helps those who are struggling.

Cross-Age Tutor — An older student helps a younger one

Divergent Thinking — Students explore many possible solutions to a problem (e.g. brainstorming). This process is often creative and there is no one right answer.

Grand Conversation — A conversation between all the students in a class directed by the students. The teacher observes but does not take part.

Constructivism — Students learn by taking experiences and seeing how they fit into their view of the world (assimilating) or else by changing their view of the world to fit with their experiences (accommodating). Learning is an individual process that must be motivated by the student. Everyone learns different things from different experiences. Teachers are suppose to be facilitators (help the student reach their own understanding of a concept) not lecturers.

Story Boards — A comic-strip-like sequence of boxes where each box depicts a scene from a story. Taken in order, the boxes represent the entire story.

Concept Maps — A diagram that shows relationships among concepts. It uses boxes for concepts and arrows to show how they connect to each other.

Venn Diagram — A method of comparing and contrasting two (or more) things. Each circle represents one thing, and the characteristics of that thing go inside the circle. The overlapped parts of the circles represents overlapped characteristics.

Venn Diagram


Don’t read too much into the questions/terms on the test. For instance, if the test talks about “X deletion,” it means the deletion (removal) of X. And so on.

I found it very useful to take the practice test offered on the Praxis site within their free Praxis II: 5015 test guide. The free response samples at the end of the guide were especially helpful in preparing for that section.


* Let me know if you found my study guide helpful, and if there’s anything else you think I should add!