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Glossary of Reading Terminology

  • Aligned Materials:  Student materials (texts, activities, manipulative, homework, etc.) that reinforce classroom instruction of specific skills in reading.  

    Alliteration:  The repetition of the initial phoneme of each word in connected text (e.g., Harry the happy hippos hula-hoops with Henrietta).

    Analogy:  Comparing two sets of words to show some common similarity between the sets.  When done as a vocabulary exercise this requires producing one of the words (e.g., cat is to kitten:  as dog is to  _____?).

    Antonym:  A word opposite in meaning to another word.  

    Assessment:  The act or process of gathering data in order to better understand some topic or area of knowledge, as through observation, testing, interviews, portfolios, etc. 

    Automaticity:  Reading without conscious effort or attention to decoding.

    Basal Reader:  a text in a basal reading program or series.  Typically a basal reader belongs to complete package of materials graded for use through a range of instructional levels.  

    Base Word:  A unit of meaning that can stand alone as a whole word (e.g., friend, pig).  Also called a free morpheme. 

    Big Books:  enlarged versions of books and stories that are used with students to help them focus on the print and related concepts as they develop literacy skills.  

    Blending:  The task of combining sounds rapidly, to accurately represent the word.  

    Bloom's Taxonomy:  A system for categorizing levels of abstraction of questions that commonly occur in educational settings.  Includes the following competencies:  knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

    Choral Reading:  group reading aloud, usually to an audience. 

    Chunking:  a decoding strategy for breaking words into manageable parts (e.g., /ye/ter/day).  Chunking also refers to the process of dividing a sentence into smaller phrases where pauses might occur naturally (e.g., When the sun appeared after the storm, /the newly fallen snow /shimmered like diamonds).

    Cloze procedure:  any of several ways of measuring a person's ability to restore omitted portions of an oral or written message from its remaining context, as I drank a glass of __________.

    Cognates:  Words that are related to each other by virtue of being derived from a common origin (e.g., 'decisive' and 'decision').

    Concept Definition Mapping:  Provides a visual framework for the organizing conceptual information in the process of defining a word or concept.  The framework contains the category, properties, and examples of the word or concept. 

    Consonant Blend:  Two or more consecutive consonants which retain their individual sounds (e.g., /ch/, /sh/).

    Context Clue:  Using words or sentences around an unfamiliar word to help clarify its meaning. 

    Cooperative Learning:  groups of students working together on literacy activities:  students helping each other learn. 

    Core Instruction:  instruction provided to all student in the class, and it is usually guided by a comprehensive core reading program.  Part of the core instruction is usually provided to the class as a whole, and part is provided during the small group, differentiated instruction period.  Although instruction is differentiated by the student need during the small group period, materials and lesson procedures from the core program can frequently be used to provide reteaching, or additional teaching to students according to their needs.  

    CVC Words:  Three letter words-consonant, vowel, consonant.

    Decodable Text:  Text in which a high proportion of words (80%-90%) comprise sound-symbol relationships that have already been taught.  It is used for the purpose of providing practice with specific decoding skills and is a bridge between learning phonics and the application of phonics in independent reading.

    Developmental Spelling:  The various stages through which students progress and they move closer to conventional spelling:  also called invented spelling.  

    Differentiated Instruction:  Matching instruction to meet the different needs of learners in a given classroom. 

    Digraphs:  A group of two consecutive letters whose phonetic value is a single sound (e.g., /ea/ in bread: /ch/ in chat: /ng/ in sing).

    Diphthong:  A vowel produced by the tongue shifting position during articulation:  a vowel that feels as if it has two parts, especially the vowels spelled ow, oy, ou, and oi.  

    Direct Instruction:  The teacher defines and teaches a concept, guides students through its application, and arranges for extended guided practice until mastery is achieved.  

    Directed Reading Activity DRA):  a step-by-step process used in a reading lesson under the guidance of a teacher:  a lesson plan which involves a) preparation/readiness/motivation for reading a lesson;  b0  silent reading;  c)  vocabulary and skills development;  d)  silent and/or oral re-reading;  e_  follow-up or culminating activities. 

    Emergent Literacy:  The skills, knowledge and attitudes that are developmental precursors to conventional forms of reading and writing. 

    Expository Text:  Reports factual information (also referred to as informational text) and the relationships among ideas.  Expository text tends to be more difficult for the students than narrative text because of the density of long, difficult, and unknown words or word parts. 

    Five Components of Reading:  Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.  

    Fluency:  Ability to read text quickly, accurately, and with proper expression.  Fluency provides a bridge between word recognition and comprehension.  

    Frustrational Reading Level:  The level at which a reader reads at less than a 90% accuracy (i.e., no more than one error per 10 words read).  Frustration level text is difficult text for the reader. 

    Grapheme:  A letter or letter combination that spells a phoneme:  can be one, two, three, or four letters in English (e.g., e, ei, igh, eigh).

    Graphic Organizers:  A visual framework or structure for capturing the main points of what is being read, which may include concepts, idea, events, vocabulary, or generalizations.  Graphic organizers allow ideas in text and thinking processes to become external by showing the interrelatedness of ideas, thus facilitating understanding for the reader.  The structure of a graphic organizer is determined by the structure of the kind of text being read.  

    Guided Oral Reading:  Instructional support including immediate corrective feedback as students read orally. 

    Homograph:  Words that are spelled the same by have different origins and meaning.  They may or may not be pronounced the same (e.g., can as in a metal container/can as in able to).

    Homonym:  Words that sound the same by are spelled differently (e.g., cents/sense, knight/night).

    Homophone:  Words that may or may not be spelled alike by are pronounced the same.  These words are of different origins and have different meaning (e.g., ate and eight: scale as in the covering of a fish; and scale as in a device used to weigh things).

    Idiom:  A phrase or expression that differs from the literal meaning of the words;  a regional or individual expression with a unique meaning (e.g., it's raining cat and dogs). 

    Independent Reading Level:  The level at which a reader can read text with 95% accuracy (i.e., no more than one error per 20 words read).  Independent reading level is relatively easy text for the reader.  

    Instructional Reading Level Range:  The reading range that spans instructional and independent reading levels or level of text that a student can read with 90% to 95% or above accuracy.

    Instructional Routines:  Include the following sequence of steps 
         Explicit instruction
         Guided practice
         Student practice, application, and feedback

    Invented Spelling:  An attempt to spell a word based on a student's knowledge of the spelling system and how it works (e.g., kt for cat). 

    Irregular Words:  Words that contain letters that stray from the most common sound pronunciation;  words that do not follow common phonic pattern (e.g., were, was, laugh, been).

    Literal Comprehension:  Understanding of the basic facts that the student has read.  

    Miscue:  An oral reading response that differs from the expected response to the written text.  Miscues reflect some of the reading strategies of the reader.  An analysis of the miscues of individuals may provide information for planning reading instruction.  

    Modeling:  Teacher overtly demonstrates a strategy, skill, or concept that students will be learning.  

    Morphemic Analysis:  An analysis of words formed by adding prefixes, suffixes, or other meaningful word units to a base word.  

    Onset and Rime:  In a syllable, the onset is the initial consonant or consonants, and the rime is the vowel and any consonants that follow it (e.g., the word sat, the onset is "s" and the rime is "at".  In the word flip, the onset is "fl" and the rime is "ip").

    Partner/Peer Reading:  Students reading aloud with a partner, taking turns to provide word identification help and feedback.

    Pedagogy:  How instruction is carried out or the method and practice of teaching.

    Phoneme:  The smallest unit of sound within our language system.  A phoneme combines with other phonemes to make words.  

    Phoneme Isolation:  Recognizing individual sounds in a word (e.g., /p/ is the first sound in pan).

    Phoneme Manipulation:  Adding, deleting, and substituting sounds in words (e.g., add /b/ to oat to make boat;  delete /p/ in pat to make at;  substitute /o/ for /a/ in pat to make pot).

    Phonemic Awareness:  The ability to notice, think about, or manipulate the individual phonemenes (sounds) in words.  It is the ability to understand that sounds in spoken language work together to make words.  This term is used to refer to the highest level of phonological awareness:  awareness of individual phonemes in words. 

    Phonic Analysis:  Attention to various phonetic elements of words.  

    Phonics:  The study of the relationships between letters and the sounds they represent; also used to describe reading instruction that teaches sound-symbol correspondences.

    Phonogram:  A succession of letters that represent the same phonological unit in different words, such as "igh" in flight, might, tight, sigh, and high. 

    Phonological Awareness:  One's sensitivity to, or explicit awareness of, the phonological structure of words in one's language.  This is an "umbrella" term that is used to refer to a student's sensitivity to any aspect of phonological structure in language.  It encompasses awareness of individual words in sentences, syllables, and onset-rime segments, as well as awareness of individual phonemes.

    Prior Knowledge:  Refers to schema, the knowledge and experience that readers bring to the text.

    Readability Level:  Refers to independent, instructional, and frustrational levels of text reading. 

    Reading Fluency Prorating Formula:  When Students are asked to read connected text for more than one minute or less than one minute, their performance must be prorated to give a fluency rate per minute.  The prorating formula for this is the following:  words read correctly x 60 divided by the number of seconds = Reading Fluency Score. 

    Reader's Theatre:  A simple staged performance of literature, as a story, play, poetry, etc., read aloud by one or more persons.  

    Receptive Language:  Language that is heard. 

    Scaffolding:  Refers to the support that is given to students in order for them to arrive at the correct answer.   This support may occur as immediate, specific feedback that a teacher offers during student practice.  For instance, the assistance the teacher offers may include giving encouragement or cues, breaking the problem down into smaller steps, using a graphic organizer, or providing an example.  Scaffolding may be embedded in the features of the instructional design such as starting with simpler skills and building progressively to more difficult skills.  Providing the student temporary instructional support assists them in achieving what they could not otherwise have done alone. 

    Schema:  Refers to prior knowledge, the knowledge and experience that readers bring to the text. 

    Schwa:  The vowel sound sometimes heard in an unstressed syllable and is most often sounded as /uh/ or as the short /u/ sound as in cup.

    Scope and Sequence:  A "roadmap" or "blueprint" for teachers that provides an overall picture of an instructional program and includes the range of teaching content and the order or sequence in which it is taught. 

    Semantic Maps:  Portray the schematic relations that compose a concept;  a strategy for graphically representing concepts.  

    Sight Words:  These are words that are recognized immediately.  Sometimes sight words are thought to be irregular, or high frequency words (e.g., the Dolch and Fry lists).  However, any word that is recognized automatically is a sight word.  These words may be phonetically regular or irregular.

    Spelling Patterns:  Refers to digraphs, vowel pairs, word families, and vowel variant spellings. 

    Stop Sounds:  A stop sound can only be said for an instant, otherwise its sound will be distorted (i.e., /b/, /c/, /d/, /g/, /h/, /j/, /k/, /p/, /q/, /t/, /x/).  Words beginning with stop sounds are more difficult for students to sound out than words beginning with a continuous sound. 

    Story Maps:  A strategy used to unlock the plot and important elements of a story.  These elements can be represented visually through various graphic organizers showing the beginning, middle, and end of a story.  Answering the questions of who, where, when, what, and how or why, and listing the main events is also part of story mapping.  These elements are also referred to as story grammar.  

    Structural Analysis:  A procedure for teaching students to read words formed with prefixes, suffixes, or other meaningful word parts. 

    Syllable Types:  There are six syllable types:
         1.  Closed:  cat, cobweb
         2.  Open:  he, silo
         3.  vowel-consonant-e (VCE):  like, milestone
         4.  Consonant-l-e:  candle, juggle (second syllable)
         5.  R-controlled:  star, corner
         6.  Vowel pairs:  count, rainbow

    Symbol to Sound:  Matching grapheme to phoneme. 

    Target Words:  Are specifically addressed, analyzed, and/or studied in curriculum lessons, exercises, and independent activities. 

    Trade Book:  A book intended for general reading that is not a textbook. 

    Uninterrupted Sustained Silent Reading (USSR):  A period of time during the school day when students and teachers in a class or in the entire school read books of their own choosing. 

    Vowel Digraph or Vowel Pair:  Two vowels together that represent one phoneme, or sound (e.g., ea, ai, oa).

    Word Family:  Group of words that share a rime (a vowel plus the consonants that follow;  e.g., -ame, -ick, -out).

    Whole Language:  A philosophy of literacy instruction based on the concept that students need to experience language as an integrated whole to construct a message from print that substantially matches that of the writer.  This philosophy focuses on the need for an integrated approach to language arts instruction within a context that is meaningful for students. 

    Word Learning Strategies:  Strategies students use to learn words such as:  decoding, analyzing meaningful parts of words, using analogy, using context clues, using a dictionary (student friendly definitions), glossary, or other resources.