FCAT Skills for Successful Reading Comprehension
FCAT tests a student’s ability to apply various skills to the reading process. Cluster 1: Words and Phrases
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases • The student should select and use strategies to understand words and texts, and to make and confirm inferences from what is read, including interpreting diagrams, graphs, and statistical illustrations. • Content/focus • Analyze words/text • Context • Conclusions/Inferences • Interpret graphical information
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Context Clues • You will be asked vocabulary questions on the FCAT, and these questions have you figure out a word’s meaning by looking at the context of the word—that is, the words and sentences around it. • Without a context (and a dictionary), it’s difficult to figure out the meaning of challenging words. • For example, try defining these words: • Feigned • Illicit • Morbid
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Context Clues cont’d. • With a context (when the word is surrounded by other words in a sentence), it is easier to figure out its meaning. • For example, determine the meaning of the word based on the word’s context: • Keith feigned being sick, so he could stay home from school. Feigned means _________________ • The thief kept his illicit wealth locked in a closet in the basement. Illicit means ____________________ • After watching the sad movie, the teenager was plagued with morbid thoughts. Morbid means __________________
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Context Clues strategies cont’d. Strategies for determining the meaning of a word from its context: 1. Comma clues – Commas are used to link concepts. When you see a comma, it indicates that a clue is being given to help you determine the word’s meaning. • For example: Cockatiels, small gray Australian parrots, make excellent pets. OR One witness was convicted of perjury; that is, he lied under oath. [Notice the word clues are set off by commas.]
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Context Clues strategies cont’d. 2. Context clues – Certain linking words can provide keys to the meaning of a word. • Synonym clues – Your word may be similar to another word in the sentence. Look for these clues: and, so, completely, thoroughly. • Rusty and unreliable, the old car was thoroughly in need of a glemgebog. • Glemgebog probably means “overhaul” or” repair.” • Antonym clues – Your word may be the opposite of another word in the sentence. Look for these clues: but, nevertheless, despite, though, although, in spite of, on the other hand, however. • Although Scott likes potatoes, his sister Margie snargles them. • Snargles probably means “hates.” • Cause and effect clues – Your word may have a causal relationship with another word. Look for these clues: because, as a result of, led to. • Because the singer was so popular, the audience blemmled when she appeared. • Blemmled probably means “screamed” or “cheered.”
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Context Clues strategies cont’d. 3. Charge clues (connotations – the positive, negative, or neutral associations surrounding a word)– Context clues and an understanding of the sentence as a whole should tell you whether the tested word has a positive or negative “charge.” • Some words have a charge all by themselves: • Disgusting has a negative word charge; lovely has a positive word charge; table may not have a charge (it’s usually neutral). • Some words have a charge based on the context of the sentence: • Every time I think of her, my heart is filled and my soul sings. • Word Charge can help you on the FCAT: • If you know that a mystery word has a positive charge, you can eliminate any answer choices that are ____ or ____. • If you know that the mystery word should have a negative charge, you can eliminate any answer choices that are ____ or ____. • If the mystery word is fairly neutral, you can eliminate any answer choices that have strong ____ or ____ charges.
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Context Clues strategies cont’d. 3 Tips: • Look for Context Clues in the sentence. • Use commas to link the word to the rest of the sentence. • Use Word Charge to predict whether the word is positive, negative, or neutral.
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Context Clues strategies cont’d. • Putting them all together (the 3Cs): • There are three things that will help you figure out the definition of a word: context, comma, and charge. Although at first my coach intimidated me, he turned out to be a nice, relaxed man who cared about his team. Clue Word: Although indicates contrast ? Comma clue – the result of the sentence is not what was expected. Word charge: This is what the coach was like—so what did the writer think he would be like?
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Interpreting graphical information • Let’s take a look at what we need to do when interpreting graphs, charts, etc. There are 3 simple steps: • Read the title (to know the topic/subject of the graphic) • Read the main headings (to know what the author is trying to illustrate) • Go to the questions [Read the questions being asked.]
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Interpreting graphical information Detected Primary Drinking Water Constituents (mg/L unless specified) Title Headings Questions • According to the table, which element is contaminating the water to an unsafe level? • What kind of article might this table accompany?
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Interpreting graphical information cont’d. • Let’s look at some more charts…[Obtain the handouts on interpreting graphical information.]
Cluster 1: Words and Phrases – Making Inferences • An inference is an educated guess based on textual evidence. • The way an inference question is worded can tell you a lot about the kinds of connection you should make to the passage. • See the following chart:
Cluster 1 (Words & Phrases) &Cluster 4: (Reference & Research): Making Inferencesand Synthesizing • Let’s take a look at what we need to do when interpreting graphs, charts, etc. • [Obtain the handouts on interpreting graphical information.]
Reading Between the Lines Making Inferences Or Drawing Conclusions
Inferences are: • Logical conclusions not directly stated by the author • Based on clues from text and personal connections made by the reader • Logical conclusions made with the mind, not the heart • “Reading between the lines” • “Putting two and two together”
Inferences are not: • Explicitly stated in the text (you cannot find the answer on the page – the answer is in your head) • Based on opinion
Inferences come from: • Clues in the text • Knowledge you already have from experience or prior knowledge
(or personal experiences) Inferences = textual clues + background knowledge
Example: You see a manatee in one of Florida's coastal rivers. You notice that it has several deep scars on its back. Background knowledge: you know many motorboats cruise the waterway. Inference: A motorboat propeller caused the scars.
Steps to help readers infer meaning: • Ask yourself a question (I wonder what . . . I wonder why . . . I wonder how . . .) OR Choose an inference-type question from the test. • Consider textual evidence left by the author that may represent important clues that pertain to your question. • Think about what you know about the evidence. • Using clues in the text and your backgroundknowledge about the topic, try to answer the original question.
Read the short story on page 188 1. Question: - Thieves attempted to steal a Tyrannosaurus Rex in northern Montana. I wonder: why would someone steal bones? 2. Textual evidence: - Residents raised $55,000 for a museum to house the fossil.
- the fossil must be valuable (it has historical value and monetary value) 3. Background knowledge: - thieves steal items of value - museums hold historical artifacts and items of value 4. Therefore:
FCAT tests a student’s ability to apply various skills to the reading process. Cluster 4: Reference and Research
Cluster 4: Reference and Research • Locates, gathers analyzes and evaluates written information for a variety of purposes including research projects, real-world tasks, and self-improvement. Analyzes the validity and reliability of primary source information and uses the information appropriately. Synthesizes information from multiple sources to draw conclusions. • Content/focus • Analyze/evaluate information • Validity/reliability of information • Synthesizes information (from multiple sources and within text)
Cluster 4: Reference and Research – Gathering, Analyzing, and Evaluating Information from Different Sources • On the FCAT, you will be asked questions about the validity and reliability of an author’s claims in a passage. • For instance, what makes a particular author qualified to write about a subject? Or what does the author use to support the main points of the essay? (For instance, does the author use personal opinions, common knowledge, or expert opinions?)
Cluster 4: Reference and Research – Gathering, Analyzing, and Evaluating Information from Different Sources Cont’d.