Reading Tests: Common Test Question Framework ‘Giving examples’ questions These are a very common type of SATs question. For example: o How does the snail behave when it is afraid? Give two ways. When asked to give several examples of/reasons for something, try to use quite different ones. In the example below, the reasons are too similar to get two marks: o How do the texts suggest Charlie has met gorillas in his past adventures? Give two ways. 1. They know his name. 2. They say “Wake up Charlie.” Instead, try to think of two quite different reasons: 1. The Gorilla seems to know who Charlie is and wakes him by name. 2. Charlie knows how to speak Gorilla. Find and copy questions These questions ask you to select a word or group of words that show something particular. These are very common SATs questions. For example: o Look at the paragraph beginning: I had the same feeling of mystery and danger around us. Find and copy four different words from the rest of the paragraph that suggest danger. o Find and copy the group of words on page 9 where Lord John’s mood changes. It important to notice whether the question asks for individual words or a group of words. If you are asked for a word and you write a sentence or phrase you may not get the marks. For example: o Find and copy two words that show you how much Charlie admires Jakeman. 1. marvellous 2. incredible NOT: He’s an incredible inventor Word meaning questions These questions require you to show you understanding of what a word means. Regular reading and discussion will help you to build your vocabulary. o Into your pitiful shell, so brittle and thin In this line, the word brittle is closest in meaning to… shiny/soft/delicate/rough (tick box). o Look at the paragraph beginning: I do not know how long… The word unwieldy in this paragraph is closest in meaning to… fast/violent/clumsy/gentle (tick box). Author intent questions Questions that ask why the author made particular choices. For example: o Why do you think the author does not reveal what was making the noise until the end? o Why do you think the author chose to use the word ‘and’ several times in this sentence? He ran out of the room and tumbled down the stairs and threw the front door open and raved down the path and slid under the shed and shut his eyes tightly. These questions are asking about what effect the author wanted to have on the reader. Generally, start answers here with: o It makes the reader think… o It shows that… o It makes it seem… o The author wanted to show… The ‘effect of’ questions These questions are similar to author intent questions, but ask about the effect of particular decisions the writer has made or they might ask how the writer has achieved a particular effect. o Read the final paragraph of [study text]. Explain how this ending creates suspense. o How does the first paragraph suggest that the characters are in a ‘lost world’? o How does the writer emphasise the success of the ladybirds? o In the paragraph beginning, There were, as I say… Malone compares the iguanodons to different animals. How do these comparisons help the reader understand what the iguanodons look like? Be specific. You will not get marks for the answer ‘It’s a cliff hanger’ or ‘We want to know what’s going to happen’. Instead explain how the cliff-hanger is created: o By leaving us wondering why the Gorilla has rescued Charlie. Powerful word and phrase questions These are questions that ask about the effect or meaning of particular words like fluttering, grim, disconcerted etc. in their writing. It is not enough to say that the author chose them because they are powerful words. You must describe the image the words create and be precise. For example: o …in a flash... What does this tell you about the burning of rocks in space? o The word flash suggests that the rock burned very quickly. o Explain two things that the words emerald scrap suggest about the frog. o Emerald tells us the frog is like a precious stone, yet scrap tells us it is also tiny and unimportant. Pay attention to the wording of questions. Note in the question below you are being asked about how particular words would make the reader feel. o Gentle, and small, and frail. How do these words make the reader feel about the snail? o They make the reader feel sorry for the snail and want to protect it. You would not get a mark if you talked about the snail itself and not the reader’s feelings. e.g.: o It’s got a thin shell and is really delicate. Comparing ideas questions These questions ask you to discuss changes, differences, contrasts and your preferences. For example: o The mood of the characters changes throughout the extract. How does Lord John’s mood change? o Explain how the descriptions of the iguanodons in this paragraph support the idea that they were both inoffensive and brutes. o Puppy-walkers have mixed feelings when they give the puppy back for the next stage of its training. Explain why. The key for these is to mention BOTH things being compared. However and But are useful for this type of question. o At the start of the extract, Lord John is enthusiastic and full of adventure. At the end of the extract, he has begun to feel anxious and uneasy. o They were inoffensive as they let the men stare at them for ages and didn’t attack them, however, they were also like brutes as they were strong and pulled trees up with ease. o Puppies walkers feel sad to say goodbye to the puppies they have loved and cared for, but they also experience pride and satisfaction as they have helped a puppy on its way to becoming a guide dog. Layout and organisation questions You may be asked to identify these features, e.g.: o How are some of Charlie’s words emphasised in this section? Be careful that you read the question carefully and only look at how Charlie’s words are emphasised. There may be other text features nearby designed to trip you up! You may also be asked about why these layout features are used, e.g.: o Why is the word ‘cub’ written in inverted commas? o Because Mowgli is not really a cub, but a human boy being brought up by wolves. Here are some possible uses of different layout features that you may be asked about: Feature Possible purpose Ellipsis Creates suspense (…) Could show you some is stopping speaking suddenly Could show someone daydreaming. Inverted o Could show the speaker or author is commas ‘’ being sarcastic: o Dad called this ‘family fun time’. o Your so called ‘amusement’ park was awful. o To highlight an unusual word the reader might not know, or a word in a different language. o Example: o Brackets () o To give extra information. Bold o Can emphasise a word or separate writing different types of text – may be for several reasons, for example: Different font o To separate questions and Italics answers in an interview. Underlining o To separate words in a glossary from their definition. o To highlight unusual words the reader may not know. You may also be asked about how the text has been organised: o How has this text about ladybirds been organised? Tick one. The text gives facts about ladybirds, organised in different sections for each topic. The information about ladybirds is organised like a story, with additional information at the end. It starts with facts about scale insects and then explains the life cycle of the ladybird. The text gives information about ladybirds and ends with a story about scale insets. To answer these questions successfully, you need to be familiar with a wide range of books types and regularly discussing layout and organisation. Genre and text type You may be asked where you might expect to read a particular text, e.g. on the front of a newspaper; in a magazine; in a children’s fable or in a travel brochure. To answer these questions correctly, you need to be reading a wide range of text types and discussing your reading.