Texas Reading Specialist Certification Study Guide & Practice Test

TExES 151 Reading Specialist Certification Exam

The Texas Examinations of Educator Standards (TExES) exams measure a candidate's knowledge of a specific area of teaching to gain licensure. The TExES reading specialist exam, then, assesses a candidate's knowledge of the four domains of professional knowledge that entry-level professionals need to perform the job well. The exam content is based on the TExES reading specialist exam framework and the questions may concern the teaching of students from grades EC to 12. The majority of the exam covers literacy components, with the rest of the exam content quizzing a candidate's knowledge of assessment, student need, and professional knowledge. A successful reading specialist certification exam is a necessary step toward becoming a licensed reading specialist in the state of Texas.

This exam is a 5 hour computer-administered exam with 100 selected-response questions that must be taken at one of many available TExES testing centers within Texas and around the country.

Practice tests give you a better idea of the topics you have mastered and those you should keep studying.

Registering for the TExES 151 Exam

Candidates must register for the TExES 151 exam online through the official website. There is an exam fee of $116 to register. Once this is done, candidates can review available TExES reading specialist exam dates at the testing site of their choice. All appointments are first-come first-served and are available depending on the opening hours of the chosen testing site. Candidates can reschedule their appointment time with at least 48 hours notice. All reading specialist exam candidates can retake the exam after 30 days but are limited to 5 attempts in accordance with the TExES exam retake policy.

There are accommodations available for any candidates with disabilities, health-related needs, or who are nursing mothers. These accommodations require pre-approval and may require a request form as well as additional paperwork to be submitted to the Texas Education Administration (TEA) during TExES registration.

Preparing for the TExES 151 Exam

A study plan can help support a candidate as they prepare for test day. A good TExES Reading Specialist study guide can structure this preparation even more. There are both print and digital study guides available. All of these should help test-takers in knowing what to expect of the form and content of the exam. The TExES Study guide offers structured preparation through sample questions, review of test competencies and domains, and ideally a practice test.

A good TExES reading specialist practice test is a graded test candidates can take that is as close as possible to the final exam. Reviewing their results can show candidates their strengths and weaknesses. Print practice tests are self graded from a key, whereas digital practice tests are often automatically graded. For example, if they have a high score on the multiple-choice questions from subtest 1 compared to the other subtests, a candidate could decide to focus their studies on those other subtests. A TExES practice test can also help a candidate focus on how to manage their time during the exam to grow their possible score.

TExES 151 Format

The TExES reading specialist exam is composed of 100 selected-response questions. Test takers have a period of 5 hours to take this exam. It is a computer-adaptive test that can be taken at a testing center in Texas or elsewhere in the country.

There may be two types of selected-response questions on the exam, single questions and clustered questions. The single-question format may show a question or statement that needs completing, or perhaps a table, quote, or graphic. The candidate would need to closely read the provided sample and then evaluate the likely answer from 4 possible options: A, B, C, or D. A clustered question, however, contains a stimulus of any format and two or more questions about that stimulus.

The TExES 151 exam may contain questions that are used only to evaluate the efficacy of the test itself. These will not be counted toward a candidate's final scaled score.

Competencies on the TExES 151 Exam

The TExES reading specialist exam is based on 4 knowledge domains, each with their own approximate percentage of questions. All domains contain competencies that are composed of discrete skills that may be assessed during the final exam. These competencies cover all possible grades, from early childhood to the final year of high school. The 4 domains are:

  • Instruction and Assessment: Components of Literacy
    • This domain contains 8 competencies and covers the largest portion of the exam with approximately 57% of the exam.
  • Instruction and Assessment: Resources and Procedures
    • This domain contains 2 competencies and comprises approximately 14% of the exam questions.
  • Meeting the Needs of Individual Students
    • This domain also contains 2 competencies and is approximately 14% of the exam.
  • Professional Knowledge and Leadership
    • Again, this domain comprised approximately 14% of questions and contains 2 competencies.

This becomes a total of 14 competencies for the TExES reading specialist exam, which are expanded below by each domain.

Instruction and Assessment: Components of Literacy

The 8 competencies within this domain involve approximately 57 questions in the exam.

  • Competency 1: Oral language development
  • Competency 2: Phonological and phonemic awareness
  • Competency 3: Concepts of print and the alphabetic principle
  • Competency 4: Word identification
  • Competency 5: Fluency
  • Competency 6: Comprehension
  • Competency 7: Vocabulary Development
  • Competency 8: Written Language

All of the 8 competencies within this domain focus on instructional aspects of being a reading specialist. As such, they all share many skills for each competency's theme. Candidates should have a good grasp on the technical and theoretical aspects of each of these themes.

For all competencies, candidates should have knowledge of milestones and age-appropriate instruction, as well as research-based instructional progressions and any strategies and material that support cultural and linguistic diversity. They will need to know when student delays or differences are a cause for additional assessments and intervention.

Some of these components require a detailed understanding of required student reading skills and any textual or contextual factors that may affect student learning. All of these components stress a research and evidence-based practice for the reading specialist. Candidates need to know how to use this evidence to support students of all ages as they acquire these 8 component areas through instruction and assessment.

Instruction and Assessment: Resources and Procedures

The 2 competencies within this domain involve approximately 14 questions in the exam.

  • Competency 9: Assessment
    • Candidates should understand that since instruction and assessment are reciprocal, they should monitor student progress through varied assessment instruments. They should be able to apply knowledge of reading assessments for all required purposes (screening, summative, etc.) and know how to identify reading levels, as well as understand subsequent instructional strategies. Candidates will need to know any factors that may impact a student's performance, either the text itself or other contextual information concerning the student and their life. A reading specialist also must understand standardized test concepts and issues, as well as how to communicate to stakeholders the results of such assessments.
  • Competency 10: Instructional Methods and Resources
    • As well as knowing reading/writing standards and requirements, candidates should know the theories, research, and instructional methods of effective literacy instruction. They will need to know about material selection for diversity and reading level variety, as well as understand a variety of specific literacy interventions. They should also know how to flexibly group students for literacy growth. Strategies here must include expository text comprehension such as note taking, outlining, and using graphic organizers. Candidates should also know about designing and implementing instruction for visual information analysis. Candidates may also be asked questions about the use of genres for literacy.

Meeting the Needs of Individual Students

There are approximately 14 questions for the 2 competencies in this domain.

  • Competency 11: Instruction for English Language learners (ELL)
    • This competency covers stages and patterns of students transferring literacy competencies to a second language from a home language. An important concern here is to maintain literacy in both English and in the primary language. Candidates should understand the procedures and issues of ELL assessment. They also need to apply knowledge of individualized ELL instruction, such as how to select appropriately diverse materials. They should know when interventions are required, and how to work with these other professionals. Finally, they will need to recognize the difference between language learning and reading disabilities.
  • Competency 12: Instruction for Students with Reading Difficulties, Dyslexia and Reading Disabilities
    • Candidates should understand the implications of reading difficulties, disabilities, and dyslexia and know the complex legal aspects of providing service to early childhood to grade 12 students with these issues.They will need to know how to work with other learning professionals for assessments, interventions, and evaluations. All candidates should know how to monitor a student intervention to understand when additional interventions may be needed. This component stresses evidence-based research into reading difficulties, disabilities, and dyslexia, as well as collaborative strategies to promote literacy for individual students.

Professional Knowledge and Leadership

These 2 competencies makeup around 14 questions in the exam.

  • Competency 13: Theoretical Foundations and Research-Based Curriculum
    • This competency stresses the theoretical understanding of acquiring language from various perspectives, including behaviorism, constructivism, transactional theory, and cognitive theory. Candidates should know how these theories relate to instructional practice. Interactions between readers, environments, and texts during reading are important here, as well as the numerous factors that impact reading development. They should understand social and technological trends, and have a strong grasp of research design and methodology. Candidates should also know to prepare written assessment data for accurate documentation.
  • Competency 14: Collaboration, Communication and Professional Development
    • For this competency, candidates need to know how to use skills of leadership, communication, and facilitation to create positive change in their program and instruction. They will need to know the web of professional standards that structure their practice, as well as how to communicate research and data findings to other school stakeholders. Local data may be used to prioritize professional development needs and candidates need to know how to work with other educators to implement and evaluate such development. All candidates should know how to change instructional practice through professional development, as well as procedural knowledge of mentoring and coaching other educators. Finally, this competency stresses the importance of professional activities at local, state, national, and international levels.

Expert Contributor

Amy Mayers

Amy Mayers, M.Ed. has taught middle school math for over 7 years. She is a Texas certified teacher for grades 4-12 in mathematics and has passed the TExES Math 4-8 and the TExES Math 7-12. Amy graduated with a B.S. in Mathematical Sciences from the University of Houston and a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of St. Thomas.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you become a certified reading specialist in Texas?

    Candidates need to pass the TExES 151 test to gain certification as a practicing reading specialist in the state of Texas.

  • How long does it take to become a reading specialist?

    All candidates will need to have completed an approved educator preparation program, a master's degree, two years of teaching experience, and to have passed the TExES 151 test.

  • What can you do with a reading specialist certification?

    A certified reading specialist is eligible to work in the state of Texas in public or private schools, where they can work with students of all ages, including those with developmental or disability issues.


Take a TExES Reading Specialist Practice Test Online

Exam Instructions:

Complete the practice test below to test your knowledge of TExES Reading Specialist.
Choose your answers below. Complete the 15 questions then click "See Results."

You have answered 0 out of 15 correctly.

The correct answers are highlighted with green below.

  1. The following are all examples of metacognitive strategies except
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  2. At the end of the first quarter, you are surprised to learn that one third of your students still do not understand all of the letter sounds, which means they are now behind. What did you neglect to do?
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  3. What does IEP stand for?
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  4. In which ways will students differ from one another?
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  5. Which of the following refers to words with similar meanings?
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  6. How is a formal assessment different from an informal assessment?
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  7. Which is a strategy a teacher can use to promote reading development in whole group teaching?
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  8. What is the first step ELL teachers should take if they want to propose a change to a policy?
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  9. What is a phoneme?
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  10. Which area involves processing and gathering meaning from text?
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  11. Calculate the z-score using the following data:

    Raw score is 75, mean is 50, and standard deviation is 10

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  12. If you were to read the following passage aloud, which element of prosody would be the most important to focus on?

    ''When I woke up this morning, I muttered to myself, 'I just want to go back to sleep,' but then looked at my alarm clock and shouted, 'Oh no! I'm late for school!''

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  13. What does the alphabetic principle describe?
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  14. Why are Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) designed for each individual student?
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  15. Which of the following oral language skills does not usually come until the child reaches school age?
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