Glossary of Reading Terms

Background Knowledge

the knowledge and understandings of the world that students have acquired through their everyday experiences -- riding in cars or buses, playing and talking with other children and adults, that help them to make sense of the texts they read.

Choral Reading/Chanting

two or more individuals reading aloud from the same text -- this can help students to develop oral reading fluency.

Concepts About Print/Conventions of Print

the understandings an individual has about the rules or accepted practices that govern the use of print and the use of written language. For example concepts about print include: reading left to right, top to bottom, words are made of letters, use of spaces between words, use of upper case letters, spelling patterns, punctuation, etc.

Constructing Meaning

a process of making sense of text; by connecting one's own knowledge with the print readers "build" an understanding of what the text is about.

Context/Context Cues

information from the surrounding text that helps identify or gives meaning to a specific word or phrase, i.e.: "yesterday I read the book". The words surrounding "read" help us know how to pronounce it (see During Reading Strategies).

Conventional Spelling

spelling that is in the standard or correct form for written documents.

Copy Cat Story

a story that is written based on the structure, theme, or other feature of another story. A story that copies another story.

Cueing System

any of the various sources of information that may aid identification of a word such as: graphophonics, semantic and syntactic information. (See During Reading Strategies.)

Cumulative Story or Pattern Story

a story that has many elements or language patterns repeated until the climax; a predictable text.

Decoding

analyzing text in order to identify and understand individual words. Figuring out the written code.

Echo Reading

reading of a text where an adult or experienced reader reads a line of text, and the student repeats the line. A good technique for Emergent and Early Readers to build fluency and expression.

Emergent Reader

a reader who is developing an association of print with meaning -- the early stages of learning to read.

Grammar Conventions

the rules, or accepted practices, that govern the use of grammar in written or spoken language.

Graphophonics (Phonics)

referring to the relationship between the letters and the letter sounds of a language.

Guided or Supported Reading

a method by which an experienced reader provides structure and purpose, and models strategies in order to move beginning readers towards independence.

Inference

drawing meaning from a combination of clues in the text without explicit reference to the text. "The sky was dark and cloudy so I took my umbrella." We can infer that it might rain even thought the text does not say that.

Invented Spelling

an attempt by beginning writers to spell a word when the standard spelling is unknown, using whatever knowledge of sounds or visual patterns the writer has.

Inversions

reversal or "flipping" of letters either horizontally or vertically, i.e.: p - d, or d - b, m - w, u - n. Not unusual for Emergent writers or readers.

KWL chart (Know, Want to know, Learned)

a pre-reading or during reading activity to support understanding in which adult and child develop a chart organized in three columns: 1) things the child already Knows about a specified topic, 2) what the child Wants to know about the same topic, and 3) what the child Learns about the topic after reading about it.

Language Experience Approach

a method of teaching reading by using the reader's own dictated language.

Language Structure

the organization of words (both spoken and written) into meaningful segments (phrases or sentences) using conventions of grammar and syntax.

Letter Recognition

the identification of individual letters by name and/or sound in a variety of contexts.

Letter/Sound Association

making a connection between individual letters and the sounds they represent (graphophonics).

Linguistic Approach

a reading approach based on highly regular spelling patterns. Such as: Nat the cat sat on the mat.

Miscue

any substitution of a word in a text that a reader makes.

Miscue Analysis

an examination of reading errors or substitutions (miscues) as the basis for determining the strengths and weaknesses of students' reading skills.

Modeled Reading

an experienced readers' oral reading of a text to aid students in learning strategies, understanding intonation and expression, and the use of punctuation, among other aspects of reading.

Pattern Story or Cumulative Story

a story that has many elements or language patterns repeated until the climax; a predictable text.

Phonemic Awareness

awareness of the sound system of spoken language including individual sounds, rhyming, components of words, etc.

Phonics

the letter/sound relationships in language, and also the relationship of spelling patterns to sound patterns.

Phonics Approach

teaching reading and spelling in a way that stresses the connection between letters and the sounds they represent, teaches the dissection of words into parts and then blending the sounds together again. Phonics can be taught directly or can be incorporated in ongoing reading and writing.

Picture Cues

use of images that accompany and reflect the content of a text to help readers figure out words and understand the meaning of text.

Picture Walk

a pre-reading strategy: an examination of the text looking at pictures to gain an understanding of the story and to illicit story related language in advance.

Prereading Strategies

activities that take place just before reading, like reviewing a book cover or looking at the pictures, predicting, and formulating questions; these strategies provide students with valuable information about the text and prepare them for reading.

Print Conventions/Conventions of Print

the understandings an individual has about the rules or accepted practices that govern the use of print in the use of written language: for example concepts about print include: reading left to right, top to bottom, words are made of letters, use of spaces between words, use of upper case letters, spelling patterns, punctuation, etc.

Reversals

the result of reversing the order of letters in a word (tap/pat), or confusing similar letters such as d - b, or writing letters backwards. Not uncommon with Emergent readers and writers.

Self Monitoring

paying attention to one's own reading process while reading, and taking steps to reread or make corrections as needed to make sense of the text.

Semantics

the study of the meaning in language; the analysis of the meanings of words, phrases, sentences.

Shared Reading

when children are involved in reading a text with an adult in such a way that the adult models strategies and concepts such as predicting and noticing letter patterns. Helpful with very early readers in developing concepts about print such as "word" and directionality.

Sight Word

A word that is immediately recognized as a whole and does not require word analysis for identification.

Sound(ing) Out

using phonics to figure out words.

Story/Text Structure

a set of conventions that govern different kinds of texts such as characters, plot, settings, or in an informational text, comparison and contrast.

Syntax

the pattern or structure of word order in sentences, clauses and phrases; the grammatical rules that govern language.

The Writing Process

a view of teaching writing as an ongoing process involving several steps such as: planning, drafting, revising, editing, publishing.

Trade Book

a book published and made available, for sale, to the general public.

Visual Information

information that is accessed through visual means such as the size and shape of a word, format, pictures, diagrams, etc.

Word Analysis/Word Attack Strategies

the process of using strategies to figure out or decode unfamiliar words.

Word Families

a group of words that share a common feature or pattern, for example: stay, play, day, hay are all part of the ay family, and stick, stop or stuff are part of the st family.