Below, you will find an attempt at an exhaustive list of concepts that make up the foundation of essential student knowledge for success on any Reading, Writing, and NOW some MATH standardized tests. THIS IS ALL ABOUT TESTING – not life in general. I say that because, well, for instance, writing for a standardized writing test is in no way similar to writing for a project your boss will some day give you. Life is a ‘nother’ story all together.

My own personal experience has uncovered the fact that practice makes preparedness. After all, perfection is the great myth of our time. If I practice at what I may confront, then it is likely that I will be prepared for what I actually come up on.

Each of the listed concepts is accompanied by at least (I hope) two reputable web based practice tools. A tool could be:

  • a handout to be printed and used,
  • a presentation to be viewed, shared, summarized, reviewed, discussed with a partner
  • an interactive practice module to go through, get a score and report back to me,
  • etc.

The resources provided here should be click-ready; if you find one that is not working, please notify me on the Visitors Study Hall page. Thanks!!

Here we go . . .

Here are some generic resources for reading, writing, and math.

Alliteration: The repetition of initial sounds in neighboring words (Source).

Examples of alliteration are:

  • Betty the bug bit Bob the boy;
  • Peter piper picked peppers;
  • Silly sally sat soaked in summertime.
  • Alliteration or Simile – Choose whether each statement is an alliterative phrase, simile or neither.

Analogy: The Webster’s Revised Unabridged DIctionary tells us that an analogy is “A resemblance of relations; an agreement or likeness between things in some circumstances or effects, when the things are otherwise entirely different. Thus, learning enlightens the mind, because it is to the mind what light is to the eye, enabling it to discover things before hidden.” And goes on to say that its “specific meaning is a similarity of relations, and in this consists the difference between the argument from example and that from analogy” [[analogy. (n.d.). Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary. Retrieved July 22, 2008, from website:]]

Antonym: A word that expresses a meaning opposed to the meaning of another word, in which case the two words are antonyms of each other. (Source).

Author’s Point of View: The author’s attitude or opinion about the subject; the viewpoint from which something is written.

Author’s Purpose: What the author is trying to accomplish through the wrong.

Cause and Effect: Cause – The reason, or motive, for an action; why something happens; and Effect – The result, or consequence, of an action.

Chart: A group of facts about something, set up in the form of a diagram, table, graph, etc.

Characters and Character Development:

  • Characters are people or animals who take part in the action of a literary work. Character is also defined as the qualities and/or traits that define an individual’s personality.
  • There are most simply two types of characters: Dynamic, and Static. Characters can also be described as flat, and round.
    • Dynamic Characters – These characters are usually at the center of dramatic stories, struggle with the main conflict, and evolve or change in some way over the course of the story.
      • Many tests will ask you to describe how the main character changed through a story.
    • Static Characters – Static means unchanging, hence static characters do not evolve or change over the course of the story.
  • Character Development: The ways in which a character changes, or grows, throughout the course of literary work (a dynamic character changes; a static character does not change)

Conflict: The “problem” in a story which triggers the action; struggle between two opposing forces. Conflict is the essence of fiction. It creates plot. Conflicts can be described as internal and/or external.

  • There are 4 different types of conflict we might find in a piece of writing, music, art of some kind.  Some teachers see, for instance, ‘Man vs Technology’ as a conflict all it’s own. I do not. All conflicts that you can discover in a piece of art – be that art written, photographic, painted, sculpted (or real life) can be explained into one of these four types – but only if you really think it through and provide a logical argument. Otherwise, you end up creating new types of conflict categories, and that could lead to a very confusing situation. The FOUR types of conflict are:
    • Man versus Man – This type of conflict pits one person against another. This is an external conflict.
    • Man versus Nature – This type of conflict presents a run-in with the forces of nature. On the one hand, it expresses the insignificance of a single human life in the cosmic scheme of things. On the other hand, it tests the limits of a person’s strength and will to live. This is an external and internal conflict
    • Man versus Society – This type of conflict presents a scenario whereby the values and customs by which everyone else lives are being challenged. The character may come to an untimely end as a result of his or her own convictions. The character may, on the other hand, bring others around to a sympathetic point of view, or it may be decided that society was right after all. This can be described as internal and/or external.
    • Man versus Self (or Internal conflict) – Not all conflict involves other people. Sometimes people are their own worst enemies. This type of conflict presents an internal conflict – a good test of a character’s values. Does he give in to temptation or rise above it? Does he demand the most from himself or settle for something less? Does he even bother to struggle? The internal conflicts of a character and how they are resolved are good clues to the character’s inner strength.
    • Now, THIS IS IMPORTANT. Often, more than one kind of conflict is taking place at the same time. In every case, however, the existence of conflict enhances the reader’s understanding of a character and creates the suspense and interest that make you want to continue reading.
  • Here are some resources to help you learn to uncover the Central Problem or CONFLICT; the primary struggle faced by the main character in the plot of a literary work.

Compare: To examine in order to observe or discover similarities and differences. AND Contrast: To show differences – ways in which two or more things are not the same.

Conclusion: A reasonable outcome that one can predict based on one’s own knowledge, combined with the information obtained from the text; it is related to the information that is given in the text but may not be directly stated in the text.

  • Trailblazing Conclusions – Students develop a sense of ending by using closure and thought-provoking statements. (Author – Laurie Ayers)

Context Clue: Using information surrounding a word or phrase (ie, words, phrases, sentences, or syntax) that gives clues to its meaning.

  • Pre/Post Test in Context Clues
  • Take the quiz/test.
    • Read each item.
    • Then click the box for your answer.
    • Then PRINT your page.
    • THEN get the answers.
    • AND THEN, man oh man, turn it in.
    • FINALLY!

Get some Practice with Word & Phrase Meanings in context.

Devices of Persuasion: Strategies that a writer uses to convince a reader of something; common persuasive techniques include the following:

  • Devices of Persuasion (in general)
    • How are They Selling It? – Students read three advertisements and evaluate the type of persuasive writing being employed.
    • A presentation called Effective Persuasion Presentation from Perdue University can help you be a better persuader and help you understand how others may be trying to be persuasive. Great Presentation.
    • Persuasion Presentation  that is pretty thorough and straight to the point. It’s a bit slow on the slide transitions.
  • Here’s the master list of devices
    • Snob Appeal
    • Bandwagon : Suggests that one should do or believe something because all or most people do or believe it.
    • Testimonial : An expert or famous person gives a personal “testimony” about a product or idea.
    • Plain Folks : Ordinary people are often used to persuade others. This usually works because people tend to believe others who seem to be similar to themselves
    • Emotional Words : Uses words that appeal to a person’s emotions rather than to his/her ability to reason. These words can be very general at times (ugh!, blah! beautiful, glory).

Dialogue: Conversation between characters in a story, work of nonfiction, novel, or play.

Diagram: A drawing that shows how an item is made or how it works.

Difference: The way in which two or more things are not the same. For more on this go to Compare AND Contrast above . . .

ELEMENTS OF FICTION – THIS IS A BIGGIE ! ! ! – There is a good deal of discussion on what components must be included in the list of essential elements of fiction. I have decided to include the following 7 items in my short list of essential elements of fiction:

  1. Setting – as defined by the time the story takes place, the places/locations the story takes place, and the cultures the story revolves around.
  2. Character – I would ike to switch ‘cultures’ (from SETTING) to this element, but technically, this element is concerned with the actual character’s personalities in terms of their spiritual, emotional and mental make up.
  3. Point of View
  4. Plot
  5. Conflict
  6. Symbolism
  7. Theme

Fact VS Opinion: Fact: A statement that can be proven or tested to be true or false; Opinion: A belief or conclusion held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof (

Fiction is that which comes from a writer’s imagination; it is not factual but may be based on facts, real experiences, with people, in places, with things and/or ideas the writer has known or invented. There are many different kinds of fiction. Here is a short list of types of fiction, or genres:

  • Historical Fiction
  • Science Fiction/Fantasy
  • Mystery
  • Myths
  • Legends
  • Fairy Tales/Fables
  • Romance
  • Women’s Fiction
  • Suspense/Thriller
  • Western
  • Horror
  • Young Adult

Figurative Langauge (IN GENERAL): Check these links for a wide variety of activities on literary concepts: similes, metaphors, alliteration, onomatopoeia, personification, and hyperbole, connotation, imagery.

  • Read about and get some parctice with Figurative Language.
  • Figurative Language – SCROLL DOWN once you go to this link. You’ll find each term with a definition and an example with links to further practice. Some of the links are dead or were not working properly at the last check (2/2/2008).
  • Figurative Language Quiz – This link will open a new window where you will take a Quia quiz on literary terms such as alliteration, simile, metaphors, personification, connotation and imagery
  • Literary Devices Quizzes – Work on similes, metaphors, personification, slang/dialect and allusions – Matching |Concentration | Flashcards
  • Watch a web-based presentation on figurative langauge (SImile, Metaphor, personification, alliteration, and onomatopoeia (DOWNLOAD IT).

Genres (types) of Writing:

Graph: An illustration of quantity or amount and how it relates to another variable (examples: bar graph, circle graphs, line graphs). Check out these Math resources on QUIA.

HOMOPHONES: One of two or more words, such as night and knight, that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning, origin, and sometimes spelling.

 Hyperbole: A figure of speech in which deliberate exaggeration is used for emphasis.

Many everyday expressions are examples of hyperbole.

Idiom: Figurative phrases used in everyday language that mean more than the individual words that make them up.

Imagery: Words and phrases that appeal to the reader’s senses.

Inference: A combination of one’s own knowledge and information supplied in the text which leads to a conclusion or generalization about a subject.

Introduction: The first paragraph of an essay in which the writer hooks the reader, introduces the topic and gives the focus for the essay.

  • Trailblazing Introductions – (6 – 8) Students develop a sense of beginning by using strong leads. (Author – Laurie Ayers)

Irony: Irony comes in three forms: verbal, situational, and dramatic. Basically, irony occurs when a writer says one thing but really means something else; results when there is a difference between what appears to be happening and what is actually happening. For IRONIC practice click here. For example, when a character or reader expects or assumes one thing and the opposite is true, the writer has created irony.

  • Verbal Irony is a figure of speech. The speaker intends to be understood as meaning something thatcontrasts with the literal or usual meaning of what he says. This kind of irony includes sarcasm, overstatement, understatement.
  • Situational Irony occurs when a reader or character expects one thing to happen, but something entirely different happens. . . . Writers use situational irony to make their stories interesting or humorous, and sometimes to force their readers to reexamine their own thoughts and values.
  • Dramatic Irony is a relationship of contrast between a character’s limited understanding of his or her situation in some particular moment of the unfolding action and what the audience, at the same instant, understands the character’s situation actually to be.

Literary Form: A term used to specify the distinct types or categories into which literary works are grouped; also known as genre (examples include fiction, drama, nonfiction, poetry, short stories, and novels). See Genres.

Main Idea: The most important point that the writer makes in a reading selection; it can be stated or implied.

Major Events: The most important incidents that occur in a work of literature; the events that cause the greatest impact on the characters of a literary work; the events that make up the summary.

Map: A small-scale representation of an actual piece.

Metaphor: A comparison of two unlike things in which no words of comparison are used (example: That test was a bear!)

MATH Links: Check this out! Follow this MATH LINK, and you will find links to some MATH links. Yep, Math Help. Ok, there isn’t much math help here as far as variety, but the link I do offer is great.

Mood: The feeling the author wants to convey to the reader through a work of literature, such as excitement, anger, sadness, happiness, or pity.

Most Accurate: Most correct based on the information provided.

Nonfiction: Prose writing about real people, places, things, and ideas.

Opposing Point of Views: Opposite ideas or opinions on the same topic.

Outcome: The result of something; the way something turns out; the effect.

Personification: A figure of speech in which human qualities are attributed to an object, animal, or idea.

Plot: The sequence of events in a work of literature; the action in a story.

PRACTICE PASSAGES: Go through some practice passages  Massachusets Tests for Educator Licensure  that test basic teacher knowledge in Massachusets. You’ll find 6 short passages with 5 questions each. If they don’t pass the real thing, they don’t become teachers. The passages are on an advanced reader’s level (your level). You’ll need about 15 to 20 minutes for each passage. You will find all sorts of concepts tested, but all of them are on this list somewhere.

Primary Sources: An informational text, passage, or graphic representation such as in map, chart, photo, graph, illustration, advertisement, statistical table, letter, autobiography, works of literature, historical document, interview, or other first hand source of information. (A secondary source is derived from a primary source; they can be encyclopedias, documentary films, literary criticisms, or history books.).

Students and researchers now have greater access to primary source materials for historical research than ever before . . . now with the proliferation of electronic resources from a wide variety of web site producers, evaluation is more important than ever before. Users of web resources must now consider the authenticity of documents, what person or organization is the internet provider, and whether the electronic version serves their needs (American Library Association).

Relevant/Supporting Details: The small pieces of information that support, develop, or explain the main idea. The keyword here is relevant.

  • The five (+1) senses:
    • Sight
    • Sound
    • Taste
    • Touch
    • Smell
    • Thoughts/Ideas
  • Statistics
  • Facts
  • Repetition: The repeating of sounds, letters, words, or lines, which helps give poetry its meaning, form, and sound.
  • Expert Testimony (a primary source)

Resolution: The final part of a plot; the events in the story that work out the problem or the conflict.

Rhyme: The similarities or likeness of sound existing between two or more words.

Rhythm: The pattern of accented and unaccented syllables in poetry; it brings out the musical quality of language and can create a particular mood.

RUN-ON SENTENCES: an ungrammatical sentence in which two or more independent clauses are conjoined without a conjunction

Sentences: Here’s the breakdown. Links to resources are on the way. –(Under Construction)– Information sourced from

There are four sentence types in English. The first sentence type is the most common:

  • Declarative
    • A declarative sentence “declares” or states a fact, arrangement or opinion. Declarative sentences can be either positive or negative. A declarative sentences ends with a period (.).
    • Examples
      • I’ll meet you at the train station.
        The sun rises in the East.
        He doesn’t get up early.
  • Imperative
    • The imperative commands (or sometimes requests). The imperative takes no subject as ‘you’ is the implied subject. The imperative form ends with either a period (.) or an exclamation point (!).
    • Examples
      • Open the door.
        Finish your homework
        Pick up that mess.
  • Interrogative
    • The interrogative asks a question. In the interrogative form the auxiliary verb precedes the subject which is then followed by the main verb (i.e., Are you coming ….?). The interrogative form ends with a question mark (?).
    • Examples
    • How long have you lived in France?
      When does the bus leave?
      Do you enjoy listening to classical music?
  • Exclamatory
    • The exclamatory form emphasizes a statement (either declarative or imperative) with an exclamation point (!).
    • Examples
      • Hurry up!
        That sounds fantastic!
        I can’t believe you said that!

There are four sentence Kinds. (edited)All of these sentence types can also fall into four basic sentence type categories in English: Simple, Compound Complex, Compound – Complex .

  • Simple Sentences
    • Simple sentences contain no conjunction (i.e., and, but, or, etc.).
    • Examples
      • Frank ate his dinner quickly.
        Peter and Sue visited the museum last Saturday.
        Are you coming to the party?
  • Compound Sentences
    • Compound sentences contain two statements that are connected by a conjunction (i.e., and, but, or, etc.).
    • Examples
      • I wanted to come, but it was late.
        The company had an excellent year, so they gave everyone a bonus.
        I went shopping, and my wife went to her classes.
  • Complex Sentences
    • Complex sentences contain a dependent clause and at least one independent clause. The two clauses are connected by a subordinator (i.e, which, who, although, despite, if, since, etc.).
    • Examples
      • My daughter, who was late for class, arrived shortly after the bell rang.
        That’s the man who bought our house
        Although it was difficult, the class passed the test with excellent marks.
  • Compound – Complex Sentences
    • Compound – complex sentences contain at least one dependent clause and more than one independent clause. The clauses are connected by both conjunctions (i.e., but, so, and, etc.) and subordinators (i.e., who, because, although, etc.)
    • Examples
      • John, who biefly visited last month, won the prize, and he took a short vacation.
        Jack forgot his friend’s birthday, so he sent him a card when he finally remembered.
        The report which Tom complied was presented to the board, but it was rejected because it was too complex.

Sequence of Events: The order in which events occur in a work of literature; collectively known as the plot.

Setting: The time, place and conditions under which a story takes place.

Simile: A comparison of two unlike things using the words like or as (example: When he’s mad, Mr. Carter’s eyes are like charging bulls.)

Similarity: The way in which two or more things are the same.

Statistical Illustration: A graph or chart representing facts, numbers, or other data.

Statistics: Facts or data or a numerical kind which represent significant information about a given subject.

Supporting Details: Secondary sentences in a paragraph that support he main idea of the entire paragraph.

·         Read about and get some practice with Supporting Details.

Synonym: A word that gives approximately the same meaning as another word.

Theme: The statement about life or human nature a particular work is trying to convey to the reader.

Tone: The author’s attitude toward his/her subject.

Transitional Devices: Words and phrases that enhance the flow of your writing.

True: Not false; real; that which is so.

Do you know of any terms or concepts that should be, but ARE NOT, on this list? Have you identified any links on this page that are dead, broken, not working? Let me know!!

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