A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Alliteration A sentence or phrase in which many of the words share a common initial sound; the repetition of the initial phoneme of each word in connected text (e.g., Harry the happy hippo hula-hoops with Henrietta). top >

Alphabet The complete set of letters or symbols representing speech sounds used in writing a language or phonetic transcription. top >

Alphabetic Knowledge The ability to recognize and identify the names and shapes of the letters of the alphabet. (See also letter knowledge.) top >

Alphabetic Principle The concept that written language is a code in which letters represent the sounds in spoken words; letters and letter combinations represent individual phonemes in written words, letters represent sound, and printed letters can be turned into speech. top >

Assessment A broad term used to describe the gathering of information about student performance in a particular area. (See also formal assessment, informal assessment, standardized test, and progress monitoring.) top >

Auditory Discrimination The ability to detect differences in sounds; this may be gross ability, such as detecting the differences between the noises made by a cat and dog, or fine ability, such as detecting the differences made by the sounds of letters "m" and "n." top >

Background Knowledge (also referred to as Prior Knowledge) The knowledge and experience that readers bring to the text; the ability to form connections between the text being read and the information and experiences of the reader.top >

Blending Putting together individual sounds to make spoken words (e.g., the sounds /d/ /o/ /g/ can be blended to produce the word dog). top >

Coaching A professional development process of supporting teachers in implementing new classroom practices by providing new content and information, modeling related teaching strategies, and offering ongoing feedback as teachers master new practices. (See also mentoring.) top >

Cognitive Development The development of knowledge and skills that allows children to understand and think about the world around them, including the development of reasoning skills. top >

Compound Word A combination of two or more words that function as a single unit of meaning (e.g., the words side and walk can be combined to make the word sidewalk). top >

Consonant A speech sound made by the following letters or blend of letters in English: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, z, sometimes y. See hard c, g, soft c, g. top >

Core Instruction Instruction provided to all students in the class, 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 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. top >

CROWD An acronym intended to help teachers remember the following types of interactive prompts/questions used during dialogic reading: Completion, Recall, Open-ended, Wh-, Distancing. top >

Developmental Continuum A predictable progression of skills from simple to complex that can be used to guide systematic planning, differentiated instruction, and progress monitoring of children's learning. top >

Dialogic Reading The goal of this instructional practice is to have the adult and the child switch roles so that the child learns to become the storyteller with the assistance of the adult who functions as an active listener and questioner. During story reading, the teacher/adult engages the child in conversation by systematically asking questions, adding information, and prompting the student to increase the sophistication of responses by expanding on his or her utterances. top >

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

Early Literacy (also referred to as Emergent Literacy) The skills, knowledge, and attitudes that are developmental precursors to conventional forms of reading and writing; the concept that literacy learning begins at birth and is encouraged through participation with adults in meaningful reading and writing activities. top >

Early Reading First (ERF) A federal program to provide funds to school districts and other public or private organizations that serve children from low-income families. The program supports the development of early childhood centers of excellence that focus on all areas of development, especially on the early language, cognitive, and pre-reading skills that prepare children for continued school success and that serve primarily children from low-income families. top >

Early Reading Skills The term is often used to describe the skills that are learned in preschool and that precede formal reading instruction. These include phonological awareness, letter recognition, print awareness, interest in engaging with stories and books, and vocabulary development. top >

Elision In phonological awareness, the ability to isolate and drop a syllable or phoneme from a word. Example: Say "heat" with the /t/. (See also phoneme deletion.) top >

Environmental Print Print that is a part of everyday life and for a specific purpose, such as signs, billboards, labels, lists, messages, and business logos. top >

Evaluation The assessment of the effectiveness of a program in achieving its objectives. top >

Explicit Instruction A teaching approach that involves direct explanation using language that is concise, specific, and related to the objective; the actions of the teacher are clear, unambiguous, direct, and visible and make clear what the students are to do and learn. top

Expository Text (also referred to as Informational Text) Non-fiction books that contain facts and information about a topic. top >

Expressive Language The use and knowledge of words in spoken language. (See also language development and receptive language.) top >

Formal Assessment An assessment that follows a prescribed format for administration and scoring. Scores obtained from formal tests are typically standardized, meaning that interpretation is based on norms from a comparative sample of children. top >

Immediate Corrective Feedback Feedback that occurs as soon as an error is made and provides scaffolded instruction to show the correct answer to the learner. top >

Informal Assessment An assessment that does not follow prescribed rules for administration and scoring and has not necessarily undergone technical scrutiny for reliability and validity (e.g., teacher-made tests, end-of-unit tests, and running records). top >

Interactive Reading An adult reading a book to a child or a small group of children using a variety of techniques to engage the children in the text. top >

Language Development The development of knowledge and skills that allows children to understand, speak, and use words to communicate. (See also expressive language and receptive language.) top >

Learning Center A preschool classroom area that contains materials, such as blocks, dramatic play materials, or art supplies, where children can explore their own interests at their own pace. top >

Letter Knowledge The ability to identify letters of the alphabet. (See also alphabetic knowledge.)top >

Letter Recognition The ability to name a letter that is displayed or find a letter in a group. top >

Letter-Sound Correspondence The matching of an oral sound to its corresponding letter or group of letters. (See also sound-symbol association.) top >

Listening Comprehension The ability to understand and gain meaning from speech, what has been heard. top >
Literacy All the activities involved in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and appreciating both spoken and written language. Sometimes used with skills (literacy skills) to mean the skills associated specifically with reading. top >

Literacy Coach (also referred to as Reading Coach) A literacy or reading specialist who focuses on providing professional development for teachers by providing them with the additional support needed to implement various instructional programs and practices. (See also mentor.)top >

Mentor An experienced, often specially trained, teacher who works with new teachers, interns, or regular teachers in a professional improvement program. Mentors serve as resources, coaches, advisers, and confidants to other teachers and may be involved in formative evaluation activities as well as in the development and implementation of the plan of assistance. (See also literacy coach.) top >

Mentoring Support provided by experienced teachers to promote the development of new or less experienced teachers. (See also coaching.) top >

Modeling The demonstration of a strategy, skill, or concept that students will be learning.top >

Narrative Text A story about fictional or real events. top >

Onset The part of the syllable that precedes the vowel of a syllable; the initial consonant (e.g., the onset of bag is b). top >

Onset and Rime Parts of monosyllabic words in spoken language that 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-).The rime is the part of a syllable that contains the vowel and all that follows it (the rime of bag is -ag). Onset-Rime Blending is the ability to take an onset and rime of a word and put them together. Onset-Rime Segmentation is the ability to separate a word into the onset. top >

Open-Ended Question A question that is designed to elicit multiple word responses as opposed to a one-word response (e.g., "How would you ....?" instead of "What color are Billy's pants?").top >

Oral Language The language used in talking and listening; in contrast to written language, which is the language used in writing and reading.top >

Oral Vocabulary Words that are used in speaking or recognized in listening. top >

Pattern Books (Predictable Books) Books that have repeated words or sentences, rhymes, or other patterns. top >

PEER An acronym intended to help teachers remember the following questioning sequence used during dialogic reading: The adult Prompts the child to say something about the book; Evaluates the child's response; Expands the child's response; and Repeats the prompt. top >

Peer Coaching A staff development process where teaching colleagues share expertise and provide one another with feedback, support, and assistance for the purpose of refining present skills, learning new skills, and/or solving classroom-related problems. top >

Phoneme The smallest unit of sound that changes the meanings of spoken words (e.g., if you change the first phoneme in bat from /b/ to /p/, the word bat changes to pat). A few words, such as "a" or "oh," have only one phoneme; most words have more than one phoneme (e.g., the word "if" has two phonemes /i/ and /f/. English has about 41-44 phonemes).top >

Phoneme Addition Making 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.)top >

Phoneme Blending Listening to a sequence of separately spoken phonemes, and then combining the phonemes to form a word. (Teacher: What word is /b/ /i/ /g/? Children: /b/ /i/ /g/ is big.)top >

Phoneme Categorization Recognizing 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/.) top >

Phoneme Deletion Recognizing 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.) top >

Phoneme Identity Recognizing 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.) top >

Phoneme Isolation Recognizing and identifying individual sounds in a word. (Teacher: What is the first sound in van? Children: The first sound in van is /v/.) top >

Phoneme Segmentation Breaking 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.)top >

Phoneme Substitution Substituting 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.) top >

Phonemic Awareness The ability to notice, think about, and work with the individual sounds in spoken words (e.g., combining or blending the separate sounds /c/ /a/ /t/ to say the word cat).top >

Phonics The relationship between the sounds of spoken words and the individual letters or groups of letters that represent those sounds in written words.top >

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 as well as other aspects of spoken language such as rhyming and syllabication.top >

Picture Book An illustrated book with comparatively few words. top >

Portfolio A purposeful collection of work or documents that, taken as a whole, offers a picture of an individual's range of abilities (e.g., student learning outcome reports, samples of students' work).top >

Pre-Reading Skills The skills children need to develop and learn before formal instruction in reading. top >

Preschool (Pre-Kindergarten or Nursery School) Programs designed for children who are 3 to 5 years old with early education experiences to prepare them for school. top >

Preschoolers Children who are 3 to 5 years old and have not yet entered kindergarten, or children who are in preschool. top >

Print Awareness (Concepts of Print or Conventions of Print) Basic knowledge about print, how it is typically organized on a page, and how it is used. (For example, print conveys meaning, print is read left to right, words are separated by spaces, and reading and writing are ways to get ideas and information.) top >

Print-Rich Environment A setting in which the learner is surrounded by and has access to many different types of print (e.g., literary materials, informational texts, authentic materials, and environmental print). top >

Professional Development (also referred to as Staff Development or Inservice Education) Continuing education or training to keep up-to-date by enhancing skills, knowledge, and ability in an area of expertise, such as teaching. top >

Progress Monitoring Any type of assessment that informs a teacher about a child's learning by keeping track of how well a learner is able to understand and complete a task, often accomplished by observing, questioning, and keeping written records. Progress monitoring data can be used to assess children's learning, plan and differentiate classroom instruction, and identify professional development needs. top >

Reading Making sense of print; the process of decoding print with fluency and comprehension. top >

Reading Comprehension The ability to understand and gain meaning from what has been read. top >
Receptive Language The ability to understand language that is heard. (See also language development and expressive language.) top >

Retelling Recalling the content of what was read or heard. The reader shares the sequences of events, characters, and other story elements required to demonstrate complete understanding of text with others. top >

Rhyme Two or more corresponding sounds usually at the end of a word, such as play, weigh, say; also a verse which is composed of lines that end in a rhyme (e.g., Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are). top >

Rhyme Awareness Understanding that two spoken words share the same ending vowel-consonant combination. top >

Rhyming The ability to find words that share a common ending feature or sound combination. top >

Rime Part of a syllable that contains the vowel and all that follows it (e.g., the rime of "bag" is "ag").top >

Rubric A guide used to score performance assessments in a reliable, fair, and valid manner that is generally composed of dimensions for judging student performance, a scale for rating performances on each dimension, and standards of excellence for specified performance levels.top >

Scaffolded Instruction Instruction in which the adult builds upon the child's knowledge and provides support that allows the child to perform more complex tasks. top >

Scaffolding Supporting a child by demonstration or cues and then gradually withdrawing support as the child becomes increasingly independent. top >

Scientifically Based Reading Research (SBRR) Empirical research that applies rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain valid knowledge, including research that employs systematic methods that draw on observation or experiment; has been accepted by a peer-reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts through a comparably rigorous, objective, and scientific review; involves rigorous data analyses that are adequate to test the stated hypotheses and justify the general conclusions drawn; relies on measurements or observational methods that provide valid data across evaluators and observers and across multiple measurements and observations; and can be generalized. top >

Scope and Sequence A "road-map" 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. top >

Segmenting Separating the individual phonemes, or sounds, of a word into discrete units. top >

Sentence Segmenting The ability to identify the individual words that compose a sentence.top >

Sequential Instruction Teaching based on a sequence or continuum of skills arrayed according to their developmental order. Includes assessing whether children have mastered skills, re-teaching as necessary, and then moving on to teach more advanced skills. top >

Shared Reading An adult reading a book to one child or a small group of children without requiring extensive interactions from them. top >

Sound-Symbol Association Knowledge of the various sounds in the English language and their correspondence to the letters and combinations of letters that represent those sounds. (See also letter-sound correspondence.) top >

Standardized Test A test that has specific procedures for administration and scoring so that scores are reliable and replicable; and often has norms for a reference group, ordinarily drawn from many schools, or communities. top >

Supplemental Instruction Instruction that goes beyond that provided by the comprehensive core program because the core program does not provide enough instruction or practice in a key area to meet the needs of the students in a particular classroom or school. top >

Syllabication The act of breaking words into syllables. top >

Syllable A word part that contains a vowel or, in spoken language, a vowel sound (e.g., e-vent, news-pa-per). top >

Syllable Awareness Understanding that spoken words are composed one or more syllables; this understanding is usually reflected in the ability to segment spoken words into syllables or to identify the original word if a teacher has segmented it. top >

Syllable Blending The ability to distinguish units of sound and combine the parts (syllables) of words to form one word. top >

Syllable Segmenting The ability to identify the units of sounds that make up one word.top >

Systematic Instruction A carefully planned sequence for instruction that is strategic and carefully thought out before activities and lessons are planned. top >


Thematic Unit A unit of study that is planned around common knowledge or concepts that develops important concepts, promotes the transfer of skills, and is relevant to the students' lives (e.g., animal homes, ocean).top >

Vocabulary Words that must be known in order to communicate effectively. The four types of vocabulary include listening, speaking, reading, and writing: (1) Listening vocabulary refers to the words a person knows when hearing them in oral speech; (2) Speaking vocabulary refers to the words we use when we speak; (3) Reading vocabulary refers to the words a person knows when seeing them in print; and (4) Writing vocabulary refers to the words we use in writing. (See also oral vocabulary.)top >

Vowel A letter of the alphabet standing for a spoken vowel. The vowels in the English alphabet are represented by the letters a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y. top >

Word Wall A classroom display on which high frequency words, categorized alphabetically, are usually displayed. top >

Note: Portions of the above are excerpted from the What Works Clearinghouse, National Institute for Literacy (source: The Literacy Dictionary published by the International Reading Association), Florida Center for Reading Research, Reading Rockets, and LD Online.