Affixes: Affixes are word parts that are “fixed to” either the beginnings of words (prefixes) or the ending of words (suffixes). The word disrespectful has two affixes, a prefix (dis-) and a suffix (-ful).
Action: Everything that happens in a story.
Age Equivalent Scores : In a norm-referenced assessment, individual student’s scores are reported relative to those of the norming population. This can be done in a variety of ways, but one way is to report the average age of people who received the same score as the individual child. Thus, an individual child’s score is described as being the same as students that are younger, the same age, or older than that student (e.g. a 9-year-old student my receive the same score that an average 13-year-old student does, suggesting that this student is quite advanced).
Alliteration: The repetition of initial consonant sounds used especially in poetry to emphasize and link words as well as to create pleasing, musical sounds.
Allomorph: An alternative manifestation of a morpheme (a set of meaningful linguistic units). Allomorphs vary in shape or pronunciation according to their conditions of use, but not as to meaning. In English, the negative prefix in has several allomorphs, such as INcapable, ILlogical, IMprobable, IRreverent.
Allophone: A phonetic variant of a phoneme in a particular language. For example, [p] and [pH] are allophones of the phoneme /p/; [t] and tH] are allophones of the phoneme /t/.
Allusion: A reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art to enrich the reading experience by adding meaning.
Allusion: A reference to a well-known person, place, event, literary work, or work of art to enrich the reading experience by adding meaning.
Alphabetic Principle: Understanding that spoken words are decomposed into phonemes, and that the letters in written words represent the phonemes in spoken words when spoken words are represented in text.
Analogy-based Phonics: In this approach, children are taught to use parts of words they have already learned to read and decode words they don’t know. They apply this strategy when the words share similar parts in their spellings, for example, reading”screen” by analogy to “green.” Children may be taught a large set of key words for use in reading new words.
Analytic Phonics: In this approach, children learn to analyze letter-sound relationships in previously learned words. They do not pronounce sounds in isolation.
Anecdotal Records: An informal, written record (usually positive in tone), based on the observations of the teacher, of a student’s progress and/or activities which occur throughout the day.
Answering Questions: Shows students how to recognize what kinds of information is needed to answer questions. For example, students might learn that some questions require the synthesis of information from across a text.
Antagonist: The person or force that works against the hero of the story.
Antonym: A word which is the opposite of another word. Large is the antonym of small.
Article: A complete piece of writing, as a report or essay, that is part of a newspaper, magazine, or book.
Assessment: Using data to determine abilities and knowledge about a particular topic. A distinction should be drawn between a test, which is just a tool used in assessment, and assessment.
Atlas: A book of maps
Autobiography: A writer’s story of his or her own life.
Automaticity: A general term that refers to any skilled and complex behavior that can be performed rather easily with little attention, effort, or conscious awareness. These skills become automatic after extended periods of training. Examples of automatic skills include driving a car through traffic while listening to the radio, sight-reading music for the piano, and reading orally with comprehension. With practice and good instruction, students become automatic at word recognition, that is, retrieving words from memory, and are able to focus attention on constructing meaning from the text, rather than decoding.
Balanced Literacy: An approach to reading instruction that strikes a compromise between Phonics approaches and Whole Language approaches — ideally, the most effective strategies are drawn from the two approaches and synthesized together.
Basal Reader: A kind of book that is used to teach reading. It is based on an approach in which words are used as a whole. The words are used over and over in each succeeding lesson. New words are added regularly.
Base Words: Words from which many other words are formed. For example, many words can be formed from the base word migrate: migration, migrant, immigration, immigrant, migrating, migratory.”
Biography: A writer’s account of some other person’s life.
Blending: Combining parts of a spoken word into a whole representation of the word. For example, /p/ /oo/ /l/ can be blended together to form the word POOL.
Book Talk: When a teacher (or media specialist) gives a brief talk about a particular book to generate interest in the book.
Comprehension Strategies: Conscious plans or sets of steps that good readers use to make sense of text. There are six strategies that have been found to have a solid scientific basis for improving text comprehension.”
Character: One of the people (or animals) in a story.
Characterization: Techniques a writer uses to create and develop a character by what:
- He/she does or says,
- other characters say about him/her, or how they react to him/her
- the author reveals directly or through a narrator.
Choral Reading: Sometimes referred to as unison reading. The whole class reads the same text aloud. Usually the teacher sets the pace. Choral reading helps with the ability to read sight words and builds fluency.
Chunking: Reading by grouping portions of text into short, meaningful phrases.
Climax: The high point in the action of a story.
Clitic: A language element with word-like status or form that resembles a word. A Clitic usually cannot be used on its own as a word in a construction. Clitics are usually phonologically bound to a preceding word or a following word.
Cloze: This is a method of assessment wherein a word is eliminated from a passage, and the child’s task is to use the context of the passage to fill in the blank with an appropriate word. Different cloze tasks focus on different skills; a cloze assessment can be used to test reading comprehension, language comprehension, vocabulary, syntax, and semantics. When the child is given options (multiple choice) from which to select the appropriate word for each blank, the assessment is typically described as a “modified cloze task.”
Comedy: Writing that deals with life in a humorous way, often poking fun at people’s mistakes.
Comprehension Strategy Instruction: The explicit teaching of techniques that are particularly effective for comprehension strategy instruction. The steps of explicit instruction include direct explanation, teacher modeling (“”think aloud””), guided practice, and application. Some strategies include direct explanation (the teacher explains to students why the strategy helps comprehension and when to apply the strategy), modeling (the teacher models, or demonstrates, how to apply the strategy, usually by “”thinking aloud”” while reading the text that the students are using), guided practice (the teacher guides and assists students as they learn how and when to apply the strategy) and application (the teacher helps students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently).”
Conflict: A problem or struggle between two opposing forces in a story. There are four basic conflicts:
- Person Against Person: A problem between characters.
- Person Against Self: A problem within a character’s own mind.
- Person Against Society: A problem between a character and society, school, the law, or some tradition.
- Person Against Nature: A problem between a character and some element of nature-a blizzard, a hurricane, a mountain climb, etc.
Consonant Blend: Two or three consonants grouped together; each sound is retained (heard). Example: st and scr.
Consonant Cluster: A group of consonants that appear together in a syllable without a vowel between them.
Consonant Digraph: two or more consonants grouped together in which the consonants produce one sound. For example: sh and ch.
Consonant: a letter and a sound. Consonants are the letters of the alphabet except for the vowels a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y and w.
Content Word: A word which has lexical meaning such as a noun or a verb (as opposed to a function word).
Context Clues: Sources of information outside of words that readers may use to predict the identities and meanings of unknown words. Context clues may be drawn from the immediate sentence containing the word, from text already read, from pictures accompanying the text, or from definitions, restatements, examples, or descriptions in the text.”
Cooperative Learning: Cooperative learning involves students working together as partners or in small groups on clearly defined tasks. It has been used successfully to teach comprehension strategies in content-area subjects.”
Criterion-Referenced Assessment: This is a type of assessment in which a child’s score is compared against a predetermined criterion score to determine if the child is performing acceptably or unacceptably. Rather than comparing the child’s performance against the performance of her peers (as would be the case with a norm-referenced assessment), the criterion or “acceptable score” is set by the author of the assessment. Each child’s score, then, is either above or below the criterion score.
D.E.A.R: Drop Everything and Read. A time set aside during the school day in which everyone (teachers and students) drop everything and read.
Deciphering: Using knowledge about graphophonemic relationships to sound-out regular words. Some argue this is accomplished through a process known as “reading by analogy.”
Decodable Texts: Texts which do not contain irregular words. Also, these texts are usually designed to reinforce certain “rules” that have previously been taught in phonics lessons.
Decoding: Using knowledge of the conventions of spelling-sound relationships and knowledge about pronunciation of irregular words to derive a pronunciation of written words.
Deep Orthography: A writing system that does not have consistent or one-to-one correspondence between the phonemes in speech and the written code. English is an example of a deep orthography — no phoneme is consistently represented by the same letter in all words, and only one letter (the letter v) consistently corresponds to a specific phoneme. Examples of shallow orthographies would include Spanish and Finnish.
Derivational Affixation: The process of adding affixes to roots or bases in order to vary function or modify meaning. Derivational affixation transforms a stem or word from one part of speech to another (from one word class to another). For example, the verb HIT can be modified with the affix -ER to become the noun HITTER. BRIGHT, plus -LY changes from an adjective into an adverb.
Dialogue: The conversations that characters have with one another.
Digraph: A group of two successive letters whose phonetic value is a single sound. For example, EA in BREAD, CH in CHAT, or NG in SING.
Diphthong: A gliding monosyllabic speech sound that starts at or near the articulatory position for one vowel and moves to or toward the position of another. For example, oy in TOY or ou in OUT.
Direct Vocabulary Learning: When students learn vocabulary through explicit instruction in both the meanings of individual words and word-learning strategies. Direct vocabulary instruction aids reading comprehension.
Drama: Also called a play, this writing form uses dialogue to share its message and is meant to be performed in front of an audience.
Duet Reading: When a skilled reader and a weaker, less-skilled reader reads the same text aloud. The skilled reader may be a peer, older sibling, parent, or teacher. Duet reading builds confidence and fluency.
Easy Reader: A short book with appropriately short text. The illustrations amplify the text.
Echo Reading: When a skilled reader reads a portion of text (sometimes just a sentence) while the less-skilled reader “tracks.” The less-skilled reader then imitates or “echoes” the skilled reader.
Embedded Phonics: In this approach, children learn vocabulary through explicit instruction on the letter-sound relationships during the reading of connected text, usually when the teacher notices that a child is struggling to read a particular word. Letter-sound relationships are taught as part of sight word reading. If the sequence of letter-sounds is not prescribed and sequenced, but is determined by whatever words are encountered in text, then the program is not systematic or explicit.”
Emergent Reader: An emergent reader: has print awareness, reads in a left-to-right and top-to-bottom progression, uses some beginning and ending letter sounds, may tell the story from memory, may invent text, interprets/uses picture clues to help tell the story, is beginning to use high-frequency words.
Encyclopedia: A book that contains information on many subjects; or comprehensive information in a particular field of knowledge; usually arranged alphabetically.
Environmental Print: Print that is all around us: street signs, labels on cans or jars, handwritten notes, etc.
Essay: A short piece of nonfiction that expresses the writer’s opinion or shares information about a subject.
Exposition: The part of the story, usually near the beginning, in which the characters are introduced, the background is explained, and the setting is described.
Expository Writing: Text that explains an event, concept, or idea using facts and examples.
Fable: A short story that often uses talking animals as the main characters and teaches an explicit moral or lesson
Falling Action: The action and dialogue following the climax that lead the reader into the story’s end.
Fantasy: A story set in an imaginary world in which the characters usually have supernatural powers or abilities.
Fiction: A literary work whose content is based on the imagination and not on fact.
Figurative Language: Language that has meaning beyond the literal meaning; also known as “figures of speech”, including:
- Simile: comparison of two things using the words “like” or “as,” e.g. “Her smile was as cold as ice.”
- Metaphor comparison of two things essentially different but with some commonalities; does not use “like” or “as,” e.g. “Her smile was ice.”
- Hyperbole: a purposeful exaggeration for emphasis or humor.
- Personification: human qualities attributed to an animal, object, or idea, e.g. “The wind exhaled.”
Flashback: Interruption of the chronological (time) order to present something that occurred before the beginning of the story.
Fluency: Fluency is the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with proper expression and comprehension. Because fluent readers do not have to concentrate on decoding words, they can focus their attention on what the text means.”
Fluent Reader: A fluent reader: reads quickly, smoothly, and with expression; has a large store of sight words; automatically decodes unknown words, self-corrects.
Folktale: A story originally passed from one generation to another by word of mouth only. The characters are usually all good or all bad and in the end are rewarded or punished as they deserve.
Foreshadowing: Important hints that an author drops to prepare the reader for what is to come, and help the reader anticipate the outcome.
Free Verse: Poetry that does not conform to a regular meter or rhyme scheme. Poets who write
in free verse try to reproduce the natural rhythms of spoken language.
Function Word: A word which does not have lexical meaning, which primarily serves to express a grammatical relationship (e.g. AND, OF, OR, THE).
Generating Questions: Generating questions involves teaching students to ask their own questions. This strategy improves students’ active processing of text and comprehension. For example, a student might be taught to ask main idea questions that relate to important information in a text.
Genre: A type or category of literature marked by conventions of style, format, and/or content. Genres include: mystery, fantasy, epic poetry, etc.
Glossary: An alphabetical listing of difficult, technical, or foreign terms with definitions or translation; usually found at the end of a book.
Grade Equivalent Scores: In a norm-referenced assessment, individual student’s scores are reported relative to those of the norming population. This can be done in a variety of ways, but one way is to report the average grade of students who received the same score as the individual child. Thus, an individual child’s score is described as being the same as students that are in higher, the same, or lower grades than that student (e.g. a student in 2nd grade my earn the same score that an average fourth grade student does, suggesting that this student is quite advanced).
Grapheme: A unit (a letter or letters) of a writing system that represents one phoneme; a single symbol that has one phonemic correspondent within any particular word.
Graphic and Semantic Organizers: Graphic and semantic organizers summarize and illustrate concepts and interrelationships among concepts in a text, using diagrams or other pictorial devices. Graphic organizers are often known as maps, webs, graphs, charts, frames, or clusters. Semantic organizers are graphic organizers that look somewhat like a spider web where lines connect a central concept to a variety of related ideas and events.”
Graphophonemic: Refers to the sound relationship between the orthography (symbols) and phonology (sounds) of a language.
Guided Reading: A context wherein the teacher interacts with small groups of students as they read books that present a challenge. The teacher introduces reading strategies, tailoring the instruction to the needs of the students. When the students read, the teacher provides praise and encouragement as well as support when needed.
Historical Fiction: A made-up story that is based on a real-time and place in history, so fact is mixed with fiction.
Homograph: Two words that have the same spelling but different meanings and/or origins and may differ in pronunciation. Example: “the bow of a ship” and “a hair bow”.
Homonym: A word that has the same spelling or pronunciation as another but different meanings and/or origins. See homograph and homophone.
Homophone: Two words that have the same pronunciation but differ in meaning or spelling or both. Example: pause and paws.
Humor: The quality of a literary or informative work that makes the character and/or situations seem funny, amusing, or ludicrous.
Indirect Vocabulary Learning: Refers to students learning the meaning of words indirectly when they hear or see the words used in many different contexts – for example, through conversations with adults, through being read to, and through reading extensively on their own.”
Ideograph: A graphic symbol that represents an idea instead of a spoken word, a single morpheme, or a lexical item. In a phonetic system, the symbol represents the sounds that form its name. Sometimes children’s writing contains idiographs, but there is no known writing system that is composed entirely of idiographs.
Idiom: A phrase or expression that is (usually) not taken literally. For example, “Don’t let the cat out of the bag” means to not tell something one knows, to keep silent.
Independent Reading: Students self select books to read. A student’s “independent reading level” is the level at which the student can read with 96-100% accuracy.
Index: An alphabetical listing that gives page numbers or books where information can be found.
Intrinsic Phonics: Phonics taught implicitly in the context of authentic reading activities.
Irony: A technique that involves surprising, interesting, or amusing contradictions or contrasts. Verbal irony occurs when words are used to suggest the opposite of their usual meaning. An irony of situation is when an event occurs that directly contradicts expectations.
Language Experience Approach: Also referred to as LEA. An approach to literacy instruction in which students orally dictate texts to a teacher (or scribe). The text is then read aloud by the teacher as the students read along silently. Students are then encouraged to read and re-read the text, thus building fluency. The experiences that serve as stimuli/sources for the dictated text can vary from literature discussions to field trips. Generally, the approach involves: a shared experience, discussion, oral dictation, reading, and re-reading. After the shared experience, the scribe helps the student write about the experience. The approach works not only with beginning readers, but non-native speakers of English, and adult learners as well. LEA is not a new approach; It has been studied and used for decades.
Language Comprehension: This term should refer to understanding language in any of its forms, but in the vernacular, it has come to be synonymous with listening comprehension. When people use the term “language comprehension,” they are typically not referring to sign language, written language, semaphore or smoke signals. Typically, the term is reserved for describing spoken language.
Latent: Something which is present but invisible, or inactive but capable of becoming active or visible, so a child may have latent knowledge of a concept, meaning the child understands the concept, but has not had an opportunity to demonstrate that understanding.
Learning Log: A document wherein students write entries (usually short and ungraded) which reflect upon a lesson, activity, event, discussion, presentation, or experiment.
Leveled Text: Books are “leveled” (i.e. placed in a certain category) based on the criteria of the person or entity leveling the books. Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, the developers of Guided Reading, advocate these stages: Emergent Readers (Levels A-E); Early Readers (Levels F-J); Early Fluent Readers (Levels K-P); and Fluent Readers (Levels Q-W). Individual titles of books are then given a “level” based upon certain criteria. The Lexile Framework is another such tool. Lexile measures reader ability and text difficulty by the same standard. The leveling of texts allows teachers to match books with an individual student’s reading ability.
Lexical: Refers to the words or the vocabulary of a language as distinguished from its grammar and construction.
Lexicon: Often called the “mental dictionary,” the lexicon is a representation of all knowledge a person has about individual words.
Listening Comprehension: Understanding speech. Listening comprehension, as with reading comprehension, can be described in “levels” — lower levels of listening comprehension would include understanding only the facts explicitly stated in a spoken passage that has very simple syntax and uncomplicated vocabulary. Advanced levels of listening comprehension would include implicit understanding and drawing inferences from spoken passages that feature more complicated syntax and more advanced vocabulary.
Literacy Centers: Stations or areas where literacy activities are set up for use. Centers may also be portable wherein the student takes the “center” to his or her desk. Examples of literacy centers: Reading the Room (a small area where students may obtain a flyswatter, pointer, large glasses, etc. that they can use to “read” the room as them walk around). Writing Centers which have available various types of paper, writing utensils, stamps, etc. For younger children the Writing Center may contain materials which they can use to form letters or words such play dough, fingerpaint, a flat piece of velvet, etc.
Literacy: The ability to read, write, communicate, and comprehend.
Literature Circles: Student-led book discussion groups. Students choose their own reading material and meet in small, temporary groups with other students who are reading the same book. The teacher acts a facilitator. Literature Circles by Harvey Daniels (Stenhouse Publishers) is considered by many to be the definitive guide on the subject.
Logograph: A writing system wherein each spoken word in the language is represented by a unique symbol. Chinese is an example of a logographic writing system.
Look-Say: An approach to reading instruction that emphasized memorization of whole words. Graded word lists were used to teach children to memorize words as wholes, and every year, children added to their repertoire of “familiar” words.
Main Idea: The point the author is making about a topic. Topic and main idea are not the same.
Matthew Effect: Borrowed from a line in the Bible’s Book of Matthew — the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. In reading, this describes the difference between good readers and poor readers — while good readers gain new skills very rapidly, and quickly move from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” poor readers become increasingly frustrated with the act of reading, and try to avoid reading when possible. The gap is relatively narrow when the children are young, but rapidly widens as children grow older.
Metacognition: The process of “”thinking about thinking.”” For example, good readers use metacognition before reading when they clarify their purpose for reading and preview the text.”
Metalinguistic: Language and terminology used to describe language and the component parts of language.
Metaphor: A figure of speech in which two things are compared by saying one thing is another.
Modeled Reading: Wherein the teacher reads aloud a book which is above the students’ reading level. Students may or may not have a copy of the text with which to follow along. The purpose of modeled reading is to demonstrate a skill or ability such as: fluency, fix-up strategy, think aloud.
Monitoring Comprehension: Readers who monitor their comprehension know when they understand what they read and when they do not. Students are able to use appropriate “”fix-up”” strategies to resolve problems in comprehension.”
Mood: The feeling a piece of literature is intended to create in a reader.
Moral: The lesson a story teaches.
Morpheme: The smallest unit of meaning in oral and written language.
Morphology — An examination of the morphemic structure of words; an appreciation of the fact that words with common roots share common meanings, and that affixes change words in predictable and consistent ways.
Mystery: A novel, story, or play involving a crime or secret activity and its gradual solution.
Myth: A traditional story intended to explain some mystery of nature, religious doctrine, or cultural belief. The gods and goddesses of mythology have supernatural powers, but the human characters usually do not.
Narrative Text: Text which conveys a story or which relates events or dialog. Contrast with expository text.
Narrative Writing: Generally, writing about an event in a personal way.
Narrator: The person or character who actually tells the story, filling in the background information and bridging the gaps between dialogue.
Non-Fiction: True writing, based on factual information.
Nonword: A string of letters which cannot be pronounced and which has no meaning. For example, MCVRI or HEGZT.
Norm-Referenced Assessment: This is a type of assessment that allows an individual child’s score to be compared against the scores of other children who have previously taken the same assessment. With a norm-referenced assessment, the child’s raw score can be converted into a comparative score such as a percentile rank or a stanine.
Novel: A book-length, fictional prose story. Because of its length, a novel’s characters and plot are usually more developed than those of a short story.
Nuclear Syllable: A syllable that carries maximum prominence, usually due to being stressed. For example, in the word ADDICT either AD is the nuclear syllable (if it is a noun) or DICT is the nuclear syllable (if it is a verb).
Onomatopoeia: The formation of a word by imitating the natural sound associated with the object or action. For example, the “crack” of the bat, or the “twang” of the guitar strings.
Onset and Rime: Onsets and rimes are parts of monosyllabic words in spoken language. These units are smaller than syllables but may be larger than phonemes. An onset is the initial consonant sound of a syllable (the onset of bag is b-; of swim is sw-). The rime is the part of a syllable that contains the vowel and all that follows it (the rime of bag is -ag; of swim is -im).
Onset-Rime Phonics Instruction: In this approach, children learn to break monosyllabic words into their onsets (consonants preceding the vowel) and rimes (vowel and following consonants). They read each part separately and then blend the parts to say the whole word.”
Orthography: the written letters or symbols of a language.
Over-differentiation: The practice of representing a single phoneme, syllable, or morpheme with two or more symbols in a writing system. For example, the sound /k/ can be represented by C, CH or K. Also called under-representation;
Pattern Books: Also referred to as predictable books. Books which use repetitive language and/or scenes, sequences, episodes. Predictable books allow early readers to predict what the sentences are going to say, thereby increasing enjoyment and helping to build vocabulary.
Periodical: Another word for magazine.
Phoneme Addition: In this activity, children make a new word by adding a phoneme to an existing word. (Teacher: What word do you have if you add /s/ to the beginning of park? Children: spark.)”
Phoneme Blending: In this activity, children learn to listen to a sequence of separately spoken phonemes, and then combine the phonemes to form a word. (Teacher: What word is /b/ /i/ /g/? Children: /b/ /i/ /g/ is big.)”
Phoneme Categorization: In this activity, children recognize the word in a set of three or four words that has the “”odd”” sound. (Teacher: Which word doesn’t belong? bun, bus, rug. Children: Rug does not belong. It doesn’t begin with a /b/.).
Phoneme Deletion: In this activity, children learn to recognize the word that remains when a phoneme is removed from another word. (Teacher: What is smile without the /s/? Children: Smile without the /s/ is mile.)”
Phoneme Identity: In this activity, children learn to recognize the same sounds in different words. (Teacher: What sound is the same in fix, fall, and fun? Children: The first sound, /f/, is the same.)”
Phoneme Isolation: In this activity, children learn to recognize and identify individual sounds in a word. (Teacher: What is the first sound in van? Children: The first sound in van is /v/.)
Phoneme Segmentation: In this activity, children break a word into its separate sounds, saying each sound as they tap out or count it. (Teacher: How many sounds are in grab? Children: /g/ /r/ /a/ /b/. Four sounds.)”
Phoneme Substitution: In this activity, children substitute one phoneme for another to make a new word. (Teacher: The word is bug. Change /g/ to /n/. What’s the new word? Children: bun.)”
Phoneme: The smallest units of sound that change the meanings of spoken words. For example, if you change the first phoneme in bat from /b/ to /p/, the word bat changes to pat. English has about 41-44 phonemes. A few words, such as a or oh, have only one phoneme. Most words have more than one phoneme. The word if has two phonemes /i/ and /f/.
Phonemic Awareness: Phonemic awareness is the ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words. An example of how beginning readers show us they have phonemic awareness is combining or blending the separate sounds of a word to say the word (“”/c/ /a/ /t/ – cat.””).
Phonemic Ideal: An orthography which represents each phoneme with a unique grapheme or letter.
Phonetic Writing: A system that uses a unique symbol to represent each phone (sound) of the language or dialect, such as the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).
Phonics through spelling: In this approach, children learn to segment words into phonemes and to make words by writing letters for phonemes.
Phonics: Phonics is a form of instruction to cultivate the understanding and use of the alphabetic principle, that there is a predictable relationship between phonemes (the sounds in spoken language) and graphemes, the letters that represent those sounds in written language and that this information can be used to read or decode words.”
Phonogram: Also referred to as rime or word family. All the sounds (after the onset) from the vowel to the end of the word.
Phonological Awareness: Phonological awareness covers a range of understandings related to the sounds of words and word parts, including identifying and manipulating larger parts of spoken language such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes. It also includes phonemic awareness (see above) as well as other aspects of spoken language such as rhyming and syllabication.”
Plot Line: The planned action or series of events in a story. There are five parts: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.
Plot: The action that makes up the story, following a plan called the plot line.
Poetry: A literary work that uses concise, colorful, often rhythmic language to express ideas or emotions. Examples: ballad, blank verse, free verse, elegy, limerick, sonnet.
Point of View: Perspective from which the story is told. Includes the following:
- First-person: narrator is a character in the story; uses “I,” “we,” etc.
- Second-person: narrator outside the story; uses “he,” “she,” “they”
- Third-person limited: narrator tells only what one character perceives
- Fourth-person omniscient: narrator can see into the minds of all characters.
Polyphone: A word which is spelled the same as another word, but which sounds different when pronounced. For example, you can WIND a watch, and the WIND blows hard.
Predictable Books: Also referred to as pattern books. Books which use repetitive language and/or scenes, sequences, episodes. Predictable books allow early readers to predict what the sentences are going to say, thereby increasing enjoyment and helping to build vocabulary.
Prefix: An affix that is added to the front of a word and changes its meaning. For example: un being placed in front of the word developed.
Print Conventions: The rules of print. For example: In the West one reads from left to right and moves from the top to the bottom of the page. Research shows that three of the most important and fundamental concepts students need to learn to become readers are: knowledge of the alphabet, phonemic awareness, and conventions of print.
Prior Knowledge: In which the reader has prior to engaging in the lesson or reading. Sometimes referred to as schema. It is important to activate prior knowledge before the lesson or reading. This allows students to connect what they are learning/reading with what they already know. Additionally, a discussion of prior knowledge alerts the teacher to gaps in the students’ knowledge and/or misconceptions the students have. In which the
Prose: A literary work that uses the familiar spoken form of language, sentence after sentence.
Protagonist: The main character in a story, often a good or heroic type.
Pseudohomophone: A pseudoword, which when pronounced, sounds like a real, familiar word. For example, the pseudohomophone BRANE sounds like the real word BRAIN.
Pseudoword: A pronounceable string of letters which has no meaning; also called invented words, nonsense words, or made-up words. For example, MIVIT, HEASE, and MIVE are all pronounceable, but don’t mean anything.
R- Controlled Vowel: When a vowel is followed by the letter r and this causes the vowel sound to be altered. For example: her.
Reader’s Workshop: In a reader’s workshop the teacher begins by presenting a mini-lesson on a reading skill or concept. Students are then given uninterrupted time to read their various texts. Afterward students respond to what they have read in a reader response journal or reading log. Many reading workshops also include time for sharing.
Reading in the Content Areas: Concerns the ability to read, write, speak about (as well as listen to) subject matter across the curriculum.
Reading Response Logs: A notebook or binder wherein students can respond to their reading. Reading response logs may take many forms. Teachers may wish to assign a prompt (or selection of prompts) which the students will then write about. Or, they can be used to document: reflections of the student, feelings about the reading, details of the text which interested the students, etc.
Reading Wars: A “war” waged primarily in the 1980s and 1990s over the best way to teach reading. On one side the proponents of phonics; on the other the proponents of whole language. Today, the general consensus among researchers and reading specialists is a balanced approach.
Realistic Fiction: Writing that attempts to show life as it really is.”
Reciprocal Teaching: Reciprocal teaching is a multiple-strategy instructional approach for teaching comprehension skills to students. Teachers teach students four strategies: asking questions about the text they are reading; summarizing parts of the text; clarifying words and sentences they don’t understand; and predicting what might occur next in the text.”
Reference: A type of book that provides information arranged for easy access.”
Repeated and Monitored Oral Reading: In this instructional activity, students read and reread a text a certain number of times or until a certain level of fluency is reached. This technique has been shown to improve reading fluency and overall reading achievement. Four re-readings are usually sufficient for most students. Students may also practice reading orally through the use of audiotapes, tutors, peer guidance, or other means.”
Resolution: The part of the story in which the problems are solved and the action comes to a satisfying end.
Rhyme: Sharing identical or at least similar medial and final phonemes in the final syllable. Because English has a writing system with a deep orthography, words can rhyme without sharing similar orthography (e.g. SUITE and MEET).
Rime: The part of a syllable (not a word) which consists of its vowel and any consonant sounds that come after it.
Rising Action: The central part of the story during which various problems arise after a conflict is introduced.
Running Records: In reading, a teacher records the child’s reading behavior as he or she reads a book. The teacher may note errors, self-corrections, substitutions, and so forth. Also known as reading assessments. Teachers generally use a standard set of symbols for recording what the reader does while reading.
Schwa: the sound “uh.” For example, the vowel sound heard at the beginning of the word alone. The schwa is represented by the symbol /a/ and any of the vowel letters (lettuce).
Science Fiction: Writing based on real or imaginary scientific developments and often set in the future.
Segmentation: Breaking down a spoken word into word parts by inserting a pause between each part. Words can be segmented at the word level (in the case of compound words), at the syllable level, at the onset-rime level, and at the phoneme level.
Semantics: the branch of linguistics which studies meaning in language.
Series: Several books related in subject, or dealing with the same characters
Setting: The place and the time frame in which a story takes place.
Shared Reading: An activity in which the teacher reads a story while the students look at the text being read and follow along. During this time the teacher may introduce print conventions, teach vocabulary, introduce a reading skill, encourage predictions, and more.
Short Story: Shorter than a novel, this piece of literature can usually be read in one sitting. Because of its length, it has only a few characters and focuses on one problem or conflict.”
Sight Word: A word in a reading lesson containing parts that have not yet been taught, but that is highly predictable from the context of the story or which the child has memorized.
Silent, sustained reading: A period of time wherein students read silently from a book or other text of their choice.
Social Promotion: Promoting a child to the next grade in order to keep the child with his or her peers and social group.
Story Structure: A reader sees the way the content and events of a story are organized into a plot. Students learn to identify the categories of content (setting, characters, initiating events, internal reactions, goals, attempts, and outcomes) and how this content is organized into a plot. Often students recognize the way the story is organized by developing a story map. This strategy improves students’ comprehension and memory of story content and meaning.
Struggling Reader: Any student of any age who has not mastered the skills required to fluently read and comprehend text which is written at a level that one could reasonably expect a student of that age to read.
Style: The distinctive way that a writer uses language including such factors as word choice, sentence length, arrangement, and complexity, and the use of figurative language and imagery.
Suffix: A group of letters added to the end of a word to form a new word. For example: when fuel is added to the word help, a new word is formed: helpful.
Summarizing: Summarizing is a process in which a reader synthesizes the important ideas in a text. Teaching students to summarize helps them generate main ideas, connect central ideas, eliminate redundant and unnecessary information, and remember what they read.”
Suprasegmental: A vocal effect that extends over more than one sound segment in an utterance, such as pitch, stress, or juncture pattern.
Suspense: A feeling of excitement, curiosity, or expectation about what will happen.
Syllable Family: The group of syllables formed by a consonant plus all of the vowels in a language.
Syllable Shape: An abstract combination of consonants and vowels (V, CV, VC, CCV, or CVC).
Syllable: A syllable is a word part that contains a vowel or, in spoken language, a vowel sound (e-vent, news-pa-per).
Symbol: Person, place, or thing that represents something beyond itself, most often something concrete or tangible that represents an abstract idea.
Synonym: A word that has the same meaning as another word. For example: big and large are synonyms.
Syntax: the word order pattern in sentences, phrases, etc.
Synthesize: The process of combining two separate elements into one new element.
Synthetic Phonics — A part-to-whole phonics approach to reading instruction in which the student learns the sounds represented by letters and letter combinations, blends these sounds to pronounce words, and finally identifies which phonic generalizations apply (a.k.a. inductive phonics).
Systematic and explicit phonics instruction: The most effective way to teach phonics. A program is systematic if the plan of instruction includes a carefully selected set of letter-sound relationships that are organized into a logical sequence. Explicit means the programs provide teachers with precise directions for the teaching of these relationships.
Table of Contents: The part of a book which lists
Tall Tale: A humorous, exaggerated story often based on the life of a real person. The exaggerations build until the character can accomplish impossible things.
Text Comprehension: The reason for reading: understanding what is read, with readers reading actively (engaging in the complex process of making sense from text) and with purpose (for learning, understanding, or enjoyment).
Theme: The message about life or human nature that is “the focus” in the story that the writer tells.
Topic: What the text is about. The topic is not the same as the main idea.
Trigraph: A three-letter sequence representing a single consonant, vowel, or diphthong, such as EAU in BEAU.
Under-differentiation: The representation of two or more phonemes, syllables, or morphemes with a single symbol. For example, the symbol S is used to represent /s/ /z/ and /sh/.
Untaught Residue: Material which has not previously been taught but is used in a primer lesson anyway to make the lesson more effective.
Vocabulary: Refers to the words a reader knows. Listening vocabulary refers to the words a person knows when hearing them in oral speech. Speaking vocabulary refers to the words we use when we speak. Reading vocabulary refers to the words a person knows when seeing them in print. Writing vocabulary refers to the words we use in writing.”
Vowel: A letter and a sound. The vowels in the alphabet are represented by the letters a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y.
Vowel Digraph: A group of two vowels in which only one sound is heard. For example: height.
Vowel Diphthong: The blending of two vowel sounds. For example: boil. Also referred to as a vowel blend.
Verbal Efficiency Theory: The Verbal Efficiency Theory is attributed to Perfetti & Lesgold (1979). It states that mere word recognition accuracy is not, in itself, sufficient to enable fluent reading comprehension. Instead, word-coding skills must be increased to a high level of efficiency and automaticity in order for the reader to be able to devote attention to meaning and comprehension.
Word Parts: Word parts include affixes (prefixes and suffixes), base words, and word roots.
Word Roots: Word Roots are words from other languages that are the origin of many English words. About 60% of all English words have Latin or Greek origins.
Whole Language Approach: A holistic philosophy of reading instruction which gained momentum during the 1970s, ’80s, and early ’90s. Emphasizes the use of authentic text, reading for meaning, the integration of all language skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening), and context.
Word Analysis: The identification and/or decoding or a word the reader does not immediately recognize.
Word Families: Also known as phonograms, word families are groups of words that have a common pattern. For example, the “an” word family contains the words fan, pan, ran, plan, man, and so on. Go here for a list of the 37 most common phonograms. These 37 make up 500 words!
Word Segmentation: The ability to break words into individual syllables.
Word Wall: An area of the classroom (such as a bulletin board) on which a collection of words are displayed. (Personal word walls can be made using file folders.)
Whole Language: An approach to reading instruction that de-emphasizes letter-sound relationships and emphasizes recognition of words as wholes.
Word Bank: A storage place for learners to keep written words that they have learned so that they can refer to them as needed. They can go to the word bank as they are writing or editing to find out how to spell a word.
Word Calling: Decoding words without comprehending their meaning. Occurs for one of two reasons — either the words are outside the listening (spoken) vocabulary of the child, or the decoding process is so slow, laborious, and capacity-demanding that the child is unable to pay attention to word meaning.
Word Parts: The letters, syllables, diacritics, and parts of syllables such as consonant clusters and vowel clusters.