Strategies For Mastering MTEL Reading Comprehension

Mastering MTEL Reading Comprehenshion
Learning Strategies / MTEL

Strategies For Mastering MTEL Reading Comprehension

The MTEL Communication and Literacy Reading Subtest can be very challenging for prospective educators.  The exam consists of seven reading passages which are each followed by six multiple-choice questions for a total of 42 questions.  Even though these are “open book” (the answers are given) questions, they are difficult.  Test-makers use the way the passages are written, the content, the questions, and the answer choices (especially!) to make things tough on test-takers.  Those who struggle with reading comprehension, trick questions, or test-taking confidence or anxiety are particularly at risk for repeated failure. 

We at joinETI.com work on two general issues when approaching reading comprehension exams to ensure student success: the main idea and the question types.

Main Idea

It stands to reason that understanding reading passages is the key to a reading comprehension exam. The primary goal of any reading task is understanding what you are reading—comprehending the passage. The necessity of this goes even deeper and more is nuanced than most would expect. Understanding what “main idea” is and what it isn’t is critical; many students confuse “main idea” with “topic” or other concepts covered on the exam. There are Main Idea and Detail questions after every MTEL Communication and Literacy Reading Subtest passage. Understanding how the test makers use attractors—trick answer choices written to confuse test takers—to mislead students into picking wrong answers on these Main Idea questions is critical.

The main idea will not announce itself to you in MTEL passages. An active and aggressive approach is necessary. To better comprehend what you read and prepare for the questions, we teach a structural approach to finding the main idea. Many people cannot identify a topic sentence in a paragraph when it is not the first sentence, so we discuss how to use the structure of paragraphs—topic sentences, main points, development and detail sentences—to identify the main idea. You must actively and aggressively search for these components of the paragraph to understand what you’re reading. We teach the differences between “A-shaped” and “V-shaped” paragraphs and the many other shapes they can come in. If you have any kind of reading issue from dyslexia, to decoding, fluency, or reading comprehension disabilities and/or test-taking anxiety, this method works. There is no magical secret. Your hard work and this logic-based program guarantee success.

Question Types

The second most important aspect of passing this exam is understanding the question types. As mentioned above, there are 6 questions after each passage. These questions follow a pattern. The first question of each section is a “Word Meaning” question; the second, “Main Idea and Detail”; the third, “Writers Purpose”; followed by “Idea Relationships,” “Critical Reasoning,” and “Outlining/Summarizing.” Understanding the nature of each type and this specific pattern allows us to take advantage of the test-takers for once! There are actually several kinds of question that you can get right without even reading the passage. These questions are often very confusing for test-takers until they learn these tricks. Questions like “opinion or fact,” “author’s point of view,” “likely audience,” and “author’s objectivity” questions are actually very simple if you know what the test-makers are looking for.

In our programs, each question type is reviewed and practiced, so you can master each and take the exam with confidence and pass this challenging exam.

Available services for the Communication and Literacy Reading MTEL

joinETI.com has a self-paced Recorded Lectures program, individual tutoring, and live Zoom classes available for this and several other MTEL programs.  Click here to learn more about them and our other MTEL preparation programs. 

We have guaranteed our MTEL preparation services since starting in 1999.  If you are struggling with earning your license because of an MTEL, try our programs and get out of “MTEL hell.”

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