Reading Terminology

Following are helpful literacy and reading terms with definitions.

  • Alphabetic principle:  The systematic relationship between spoken sounds and their written counterparts.
  • CCSS:  Abbreviation for Common Core State Standards
  • ELA:  Abbreviation for English Language Arts
  • Fluency:  It is one of the critical factors necessary for reading comprehension. It is the bridge between word recognition and comprehension.
  • Grapheme:  The smallest part of written language that represents a phoneme in the spelling of a word. A grapheme may be just one letter, such as b, d, f, p, s; or several letters such asch, sh, th, -ck, ea, -igh.
  • Morpheme:  Meaningful linguistic unit that cannot be divided into smaller meaningful elements, such as the word book. The smallest units of meaning in language.
  • Onset:  The beginning sounds; the sounds preceding the vowel.
  • Phoneme:  The smallest part of spoken language that makes a difference in the meaning of words. English has about 41 phonemes. A few words, such as a or oh, have only one phoneme. Most words, however, have more than one phoneme: The word if has two phonemes (/i/ /f/); check has three phonemes (/ch/ /e/ /ck/); and stop has four phonemes (/s/ /t/ /o/ /p).
  • Phonemics Awareness:   The ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds-phonemes–in spoken words. Before children learn to read print, they need to become more aware of how the sounds in words work. They must understand that words are made up of speech sounds, or phonemes (the smallest parts of sound in a spoken word that make a difference in a word’s meaning).
  • Phoneme blending:  Listening to a sequence of separately spoken sounds and combining them to form a recognizable word (e.g., “What word is /d/ /o/ /g/?”). (dog)
  • Phoneme categorization:  Recognizing the word with the different sound in a sequence of three or four words (e.g., “Which word does not belong, can, cat, or rat?”). (rat)
  • Phoneme deletion: Recognizing what word remains when a specified phoneme is removed (e.g., “What isstop without the /s/?”). (top)
  • Phoneme identity:  Recognizing the common sound in different words (e.g., “Tell me the sound that is the same in mat, mug, and mouse“). (/m/)
  • Phoneme isolation:  Recognizing individual sounds in words (e.g., “What is the first sound in dog?”). (/d/)
  • Phoneme segmentation: Requires breaking a word into its sounds by tapping out or counting the sounds, or by pronouncing and positioning a marker for each sound (e.g., “How many phonemes are there in stop?”). (four: /s/ /t/ /o/ /p/)
  • Phonics:  The instruction that focuses on predictable relationships between phonemes (the sounds of spoken language) and graphemes (the letters corresponding to sounds in written language).
  • Phonological Awareness:  Awareness of sound in language that is distinct from its meaning.
  • Rime:  The parts of the word or syllable from the vowel onward, the vowel and what follows.
  • Syllable:  Unit of spoken language consisting of a single, uninterrupted sound forming a whole word (not) or part of a word (per-son).
  • Vocabulary:  Relates to the words we must know in order to communicate effectively.
  • Text Comprehension:  The understanding of the meaning and content of written language.
  • Word pattern: Groupings of letters in words that represent sound clusters with consistency (e.g., ake as inbake, make).
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