Reading Study Guide for the PRAXIS Test

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General Information

About the Test

The PRAXIS Reading test measures basic reading knowledge that is necessary for a beginning teacher. Not only will you need to be able to read and digest a great deal of content during your studies, but you will also, someday, need to teach critical reading techniques to students. To do this, you’ll need to be an expert, yourself!

You will be given “stimulus material” for use in answering the questions on this test. These passages range from one sentence to about 200 words long. Their sources are also varied: print and electronic media, fiction and non-fiction, fact and opinion pieces, and “visual representations,” which would include graphs, tables, and charts. There are one to seven questions about each passage or “stimulus.”

Tips and Tricks

This study guide will provide you with an outline of the basic skills in good reading, but, to be really effective, they need to be practiced as often as possible. Get in the habit of reading with a highlighter and/or pen and paper beside the text. Make notes as you read, such as: “inference here: it must have been a sunny day” or “character trait shown: this guy was stingy” and underline or highlight the part of the text where you found evidence of your note’s contents.

This type of practice will make answering questions on the PRAXIS much easier. And if you do this for every concept in this guide, as it applies to your reading material, you should find yourself with a very good PRAXIS Reading Test score.

Key Ideas and Details

There is a great emphasis on the ability to locate evidence in the text on modern reading tests. Not only do you need to answer “yes or no” questions, but you must also locate evidence for your answer. You should make notes about all of the following things while reading, if they apply to that text.

Details in the Text

Authors give all sorts of helpful information when they write. Some things are explicitly stated and others require the reader to make inferences using what is explicitly stated. Other times, authors purposely leave out conclusions and leave those to the reader. Consider all the following types of author information when reading, making notes, and answering the questions on this test.

Explicit Statements

Explicit statements are expressed clearly and are directly stated. For example, “Alice was born in Moscow, Russia.” This statement tells exactly where Alice was born, and every reader would know this fact after reading the sentence. There would be no confusion about it.


Inference occurs when the reader uses information in the text to determine something that is not directly stated. For example, “The pond is frozen.” From this statement, the reader can infer that the content of the passage containing this statement takes place in winter.

Inconsistencies in Text

Inconsistencies in the text occur when the author contradicts something that was previously stated. For example, at the beginning of a text, when describing the character, the author writes, “Mary is a vegetarian.” Then, halfway through the text, if the author wrote, “Mary is at McDonald’s eating a cheeseburger,” this would be an inconsistency in the text.

Distinctions Made by the Author

Distinctions made by the author can include differences among characters, events, or ideas. For example, there could be differences in goals, beliefs, personalities, or values among characters. In each case, the author would give specific information about these traits that show the distinctions.

Gaps in the Text and Missing Conclusions

A gap in the text happens when the author chooses not to address something. For example, the story may begin with the protagonist starting a new school. In that case, the gap would be everything that happened to the protagonist before going to this new school.

A missing conclusion is when the author leaves the ending of a story up to the imagination of the reader. Perhaps, the last sentence of the book is, “Emma continues the search for her long lost mother.” The reader must then imagine whether or not Emma finds her mother.

Overall Meaning

There is always a reason for an author to write, and this reason can be identified in several ways. Here are some of the things you should glean from purposeful reading of a text.

Central/Main Idea or Theme

The main idea is the topic of the reading. The main idea can be either explicitly stated or it may be implied. Supporting details give the reader information about the main idea of the text. For example: “Today, I bought my daughter a new jacket. The jacket is pink and has a purple zipper. On the back of the jacket, there is a graphic of a panda eating bamboo.” In the example, the first sentence contains the main idea while the next two sentences contain supporting details.

Summary or Paraphrase of Text

A summary or paraphrase of a text should include the main idea of the passage. It also includes only the most important supporting details. A summary will not include minor details or opinions about the original text.

Author’s Purpose

An author may have up to three purposes for writing a text. These include: persuasion, giving information, and entertaining the reader. An author can have more than one purpose for writing. A text could, for example, give information in an entertaining way that is intended to persuade the reader to do a certain thing.

Interaction of Details

Besides providing support for the theme, details in the text can interact with each other. These details can include characters and their traits, events, and ideas. This interaction can form additional support for the author’s message.

How Details Interact

Details interact to create a story. Details about a character work together to get a character through problems they face. Setting details interact with the character’s details to help the reader picture what is going on in the story.

Why Details Interact

Details interact to make a good text. If the details are separate and are never related to each other, the text would be disjointed and difficult to picture. The details in a text must interact which each other to create a cohesive story/essay that people want to read.

Pairing Interaction with the Author’s Points

When the author is making a point in a text, he or she will give details that support that main point. If, for example, the author wrote, “Alice has decided to never have children,” the reader would expect to see details concerning the reasons for this decision.


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