Reading Instruction Competency Assessment 2007

Dear CLAD Teacher Credential Candidates & Fellow Educators,I provide you with this list of links to instructional modules and resources published on my website to help you prepare for the RICA examination. The RICA Standards have been recently revised (2008). Click here for the link to the 2008 RICA Content Standards.The focus of these on-line materials is to better prepare you for teaching ALL California's readers and writers, but especially language minority students who are classified as limited English proficient. Twenty-five percent of California's students are classified as English language learners (ELLs) and 33% of all students in grades K-3 are classified as limited in English proficiency. Consequently, literacy instruction must address the particular characteristics and challenges of these learners.

This study guide for RICA includes three parts:

Global study questions for organizing your RICA preparation
Online resources sponsored by professional literacy organizations with discussion groups, research, and aids for teachers.

Below, I have listed each domain and subdomain of the RICA with links to relevant Power Point slide shows and web pages to help you review the important concepts that may appear on the test. These on-line lessons for CLAD credential candidates will help you to become better teachers of our culturally and linguistically diverse student population.

I have included numerous resources for bilingual teachers and CLAD teachers to gain information about methods and approaches for teaching Spanish reading. These are included here because there is a high level of transferability between Spanish and English orthography. This is the basis of a biliteracy approach to teaching Spanish-speaking children to read in their native language. Spanish reading is taught in transitional bilingual education programs and dual immersion programs.

For information about how to register for the RICA with the National Evaluation Systems, click here. I hope that you find these resources useful. I encourage you to e-mail me with your questions and comments. Good luck on the RICA!


Domain 1: Planning, Organizing and Managing Reading Instruction Based on Ongoing Assessment (1) Conducting ongoing assessment of reading development

(2) Planning, organizing, and managing reading instruction

Domain 2:  Developing Phonological and Other Linguistic Processes Related to Reading

(3) Phonemic awareness

(4) Concepts about print


(5) Systematic, explicit phonics and other word identification strategies

(6) Spelling instruction

Domain 3: Developing Reading Comprehension and Promoting Independent Reading

(7) Reading comprehension

(8) Literary response and analysis

(9) Content-area literacy

(10) Student independent reading

(11) Relationship among reading, writing, and oral language

(12) Vocabulary development

(13) Structure of the English language


These are questions to orient teacher credential candidates to the over-arching issues and program design aspects of the RICA domains. They represent a starting point and a summary and conclusion to test yourself for global understanding and application of the RICA content areas.

  1. What is meant by a balanced approach to literacy instruction?  Describe the components of a balanced literacy program. What components of a balanced literacy program must be in place to address the particular needs of language minority students?
  2. What is phonemic awareness?  What are the theories about why is PA important in teaching children to read and write? How does phonemic awareness relate to the alphabetic principle and phonics? Name some strategies for developing students' phonemic awareness. Can phonemic awareness transfer from a child's native language to English?  What areas of phonemic awareness may need special attention in the case of bilingual learners?
  3. How and when do we teach vocabulary? When it is effective and appropriate to pre-teach vocabulary directly before reading a text? What vocabulary teaching strategies are particularly appropriate for L2 learners of English?
  4. Define structural analysis. What is its purpose? What facts and information about the history and structure of English does a teacher need to know in order to provide explicit instruction in structural analysis? What concepts of structural analysis apply to Spanish and English?
  5. What are some of the impediments to full comprehension of written text? Describe strategies for aiding students' comprehension of text. Are the same strategies applicable to narrative text and literature as compared to expository (content-area) text?  Elaborate on the similarities and differences between narrative and expository text reading tasks.
  6. Describe the components of an effective spelling program. How do these components parallel the developmental sequence or stages children go through in learning to spell? What is the current perspective on the use of word lists for spelling?
  7. What is the role of performance assessment in a balanced comprehensive approach to literacy instruction?  What types of reading performance should be assessed? Describe tests and instruments that are commonly used and/or commercially available for each type of assessment. Beyond the instruments that are commercially available, what tools for assessment can a teacher employ to provide a complete picture of a particular student's reading performance?
  8. In what ways are instruction in oral language, reading and writing linked? What is taught in an effective writing instruction program?  What is the writing process and what is its role in a balanced literacy program?

Literacy Organizations and Resources
Literacy Volunteers of America
Reading is Fundamental (RIF)
United States Department of Education America Reads
National Institute for Literacy
Learning to Read