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Accuracy: Reading words without errors.

Affix: A general term that refers to prefixes and suffixes.

Alphabetic Principle: The concept that letters and sounds work togther in systematic ways to form words.

Auditory Drill:  Quick-paced practice of matching sounds (phonemes) to letters or letter combinations (graphemes).  Presented with a sound, the student repeats the sound and says the name of its associated letter(s).

Automaticity: Reading without conscious effort or conscious attention to decoding.

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Background Knowledge: Forming connections between the text and the information and experiences of the reader.

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

Behavior-Specific Praise:  Verbal reinforcement intended to increase the occurrence of a specific behavior. Worded to clearly identify the desired behavior.

Blendable Sound:  A sound that is pronounced in a manner that facilitates combining it with other sounds.  Close approximation of how the sound is produced during the flow of speech.  For consonant sounds, this generally entails taking care not to add a schwa or “uh” sound.

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

Blending Drill:  Quick-paced practice in which the student combines the sounds of two or more phonemes to make a word or nonword.

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Closed Syllable: A syllable with only one vowel, where the vowel is followed by one or more consonants. The vowel sound is short (cat, cobweb).

Comprehension: Understanding what one is reading, the ultimate goal of all reading activity.

Connected Text: Words that are linked (as opposed to words in a list) as in sentences, phrases, and paragraphs.

Consonant:  A speech sound produced by at least partly obstructing the air flow.

Consonant Blend: Two or more consecutive consonants which retain their individual sounds (e.g., /bl/ in block; /str/ in string).

Consonant Digraph: Two consecutive consonants that represent one phoneme, or sound (e.g., /ch/, /sh/).

Continuous Sounds: A sound that can be held for several seconds without distortion (e.g., /m/, /s/).

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Decodable Text or Book: 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.

Decodable Words: These words contain phonic elements that were previously taught.

Decoding: The ability to translate a word from print to speech, usually by employing knowledge of sound symbol correspondences; also the act of deciphering a new word by sounding it out.

Derivational Affix: A prefix or suffix added to a root or base to form another word (e.g., – un- in unhappy, -ness in likeness).

Digraph: 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.

Dolch Word List:  A list of the 220 most common words identified by E. W. Dolch.

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Elkonin Boxes: A framework used during phonemic awareness instruction. Elkonin Boxes are sometimes referred to as Sound Boxes. When working with words, the teacher can draw one box per sound for a target word. Students push a marker into one box as they segment each sound in the word.  This can also include writing the letter or letter combinations that represent each sound in the box.

Encoding: Spelling, or the ability to translate a word from speech to print.

Error Correction: Immediate corrective feedback during reading instruction.

Etymology: The origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning (e.g., the origin of the word etymology comes from late Middle English: from Old French ethimologie, via Latin from Greek etumologia, from etumologos ‘student of etymology,’ from etumon, neuter singular of etumos ‘true’).

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Final Stable Syllable: A syllable that includes consonant-le (e.g., candle, juggle) as the second syllable, as well as other final units, such as -tion, -ture, -cian)

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

Fluency Probe: An assessment for measuring fluency, usually a timed oral reading passage at the student’s instructional reading level.

Fry Word List:  A list of high frequency words developed by Edward Fry.

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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).

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High Frequency Words: A small group of words (300-500) that account for a large percentage of the words in print and can be regular or irregular words (i.e., Dolch or Fry). Often, they are referred to as “sight words” since automatic recognition of these words is required for fluent reading.

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Inflectional Suffix: In English, a suffix that expresses plurality or possession when added to a noun, tense when added to a verb, and comparison when added to an adjective and some adverbs. A major difference between inflectional and derivational morphemes is that inflections added to verbs, nouns, or adjectives do not change the grammatical role or part of speech of the base words (-s, -es ,-ing, ¬ed).

Informational Text: Non-fiction books, also referred to as expository text, that contain facts and information.

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 patterns (e.g., were, was, laugh, been).

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Lax Vowel Sound:  A vowel produced with minimal tension of the vocal cords.  Often referred to as a “short” vowel (e.g., cat, pin).

Letter Combinations: Also referred to as digraphs, a group of consecutive letters that represents a particular sound(s) in the majority of words in which it appears (e.g., /ai/ in maid; /ch/ in chair; /kn/ in know; /ng/ in ring).

Letter-Sound Correspondence: The matching of an oral sound to its corresponding letter or group of letters.

Long Vowel:  A term used by educators to denote a tense vowel sound.

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Manipulative Letters:  Letters that can be moved to form and change words.

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

Morpheme: The smallest meaningful unit of language.  Includes prefixes, suffixes, and roots.

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

Morphology:  The study of the forms of words and the meaningful parts (morphemes) that make up words.

Most Common Letter Sounds: The sound that is usually pronounced for the letter when it appears in a short word, such as /a/ apple…

Multisyllabic Words: These are words with more than one syllable. A systematic introduction of prefixes, suffixes, and multisyllabic words should occur throughout a reading program. The average number of syllables in the words students read should increase steadily throughout the grades.

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Narrative Text: A story about fictional or real events.

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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”).

Open Syllable:  A syllable with only one vowel, which is the last letter in the syllable. The vowel sound is long (he, silo).

Orthographic Mapping:  The formation of letter-sound connections to bond the spellings, pronunciations, and meanings of specific words in memory.

Orthographic Units: The representation of the sounds of a language by written or printed symbols.

Orthography: A writing system for representing language.

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

Phoneme-Grapheme Correspondence: The matching of a spoken sound (phoneme) to its corresponding letter or group of letters (grapheme).

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 phonemes (sounds) in words. 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 sound structure of words in 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.

Prefix: A morpheme that precedes a root and that contributes to or modifies the meaning of a word as “re” in reprint.

Prosody: Reading with expression, proper intonation, and phrasing. This helps readers to sound as if they are speaking the part they are reading. It is also this element of fluency that sets it apart from automaticity.

Progress Monitoring:  Periodic assessment for the purpose of tracking students’ response to instruction.  Used to plan future instruction.

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R-controlled Syllable: A syllable that contains one vowel followed by an r.  The vowel is not long or short. The vowel is said to be controlled by the r (e.g., start, corner).

Rate: The speed at which a person reads.

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

Regular Words: Any word in which each letter represents its respective, most common sound (e.g., sat, fantastic).

Repeated Reading: Rereading of text until the reader is able to read at a predetermined rate to produce fluency.

Retelling: Recalling the content of what was read or heard.

Rhyming: Words that have the same ending sound.

Root: A bound morpheme, usually of Latin origin, that cannot stand alone but is used to form a family of words with related meanings.

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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.

Schwa: A quick, unstressed, neutral vowel pronunciation very close to a ‘short u’ /ʌ/. The purpose of schwa is to allow unstressed syllables to be said more quickly.

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.

Screening: An informal inventory that provides the teacher a beginning indication of the student’s preparation for grade level reading instruction. It is a “first alert” that a child may need extra help to make adequate progress in reading during the year.

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

Short Vowel:  A term used by educators to denote a lax vowel sound.

Sight Words: These are words that are recognized immediately after orthographic mapping. 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.

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

Student Friendly Explanation: An explanation of the word’s meaning rather than a definition. Characterizes the word and how it is typically used, and explains the meaning in everyday language.

Suffix: An affix attached to the end of a base, root, or stem that changes the meaning or grammatical function of the word, as “en” in oxen.

Syllable: A segment of a word that contains one vowel sound. The vowel may or may not be preceded and/or followed by a consonant.

Syllable Types: There are six syllable types: (a) Closed: cat, cobweb; (b) Open: he, silo; (c) Vowel-consonant-e(VCE): like, milestone; (d) R-controlled: star, corner; (e) Vowel team: count, rainbow; and (f) Final stable: candle, -tion, -ture, -cian.

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Tense Vowel Sound:  A vowel produced with tension of the vocal cords.  Often referred to as a “long” vowel (e.g., rain, kite).

Think-Alouds: During shared read aloud, teachers reveal their thinking processes by verbalizing: connections, questions, inferences, and predictions.

Timed Reading: Student reads appropriate text with a predetermined number of words to be read within a specific amount of time.

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

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Visual Drill:  Quick-paced practice of matching letters or letter combinations (graphemes) to sounds (phonemes).  Presented with a grapheme, the student says its name and its associated phonemes(s).

Vowel:  A speech sound produced without obstruction of airflow, with vibration of the vocal cords.

Vowel-Consonant-e (VCE) Syllable: A syllable that contains a pattern with a vowel, followed by a single consonant and a silent e.  The first vowel has a long sound (like, milestone).

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

Vowel Team:  A combination of letters that, together, represent one vowel sound.  Can be a vowel digraph (e.g., ai, ea), a diphthong (e.g., oi, ou), or a longer combination that can include consonant letters (e.g., igh, ough).

Vowel Team Syllable: A syllable that contains a vowel team (e.g., count, rainbow).

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

Word Work: The act of deliberately analyzing words, generally for practice in decoding or encoding.

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