Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Important Literacy Terms

Every month throughout the school year, I have parents or other family members ask about the literacy terms I describe in weekly newsletters, student agenda notes, and in conferences.  I define these terms throughout the year in various ways and today while doing some personal reading (blog surfing), I found a post that describes these important terms in a very readable, understandable way.

teach mama: the skinny on important early literacy terms

I found this post at teach mama under the heading the skinny on important early literacy terms.  It was posted on her site on May 10, 2010, and originally posted (by the same person) on ABC & 123 on April 5, 2010.  Because I can never be sure how long links and posts will last, I have also copied the text and a link to a pdf file here.

Monday, May 10, 2010



the skinny on important early literacy terms
Originally posted on ABC & 123, 4/05/10:
We, as parents and our children's very first teachers, can begin to support early literacy development as soon as our kiddos are born. Many of us do this already and don't even realize how much we are helping to build a solid foundation of learning for our children.
Talking our way through diaper changes and feedings, through trips to the park or the grocery store, we give our little ones their first unwritten lessons on language and learning. By reading books, reciting rhymes, and playing games with our toddlers, we take this learning a step further, and the possibilities for sneaking in lessons here and there are endless.
I thought I'd provide ABC and 123 readers--and now teachmama readers--with a list of Literacy Terms That Every Parent Needs to Know as their children approach reading and step into preschool. This list is hardly complete, but it includes the basics without the Reading teacher jargon that is sometimes tough to get through. In the next few weeks and months, I'll spotlight these topics and more in greater detail and provide ways that parents can support their children's learning in these areas.

Literacy Terms Every Parent Needs To Know:
  • Comprehension: a complex process in which a reader interacts with a text in a specific context in order to construct meaning. Specific comprehension strategies should be taught and can be taught even before a child can read. Such strategies include making connections, questioning, visualizing, inferring, determining importance, and synthesizing.
  • Decoding: the process of figuring out a new word in a text. It's really just deciphering text into understandable words.
  • Fluency: the ability to read orally with speed, accuracy, and expression while comprehending a given text.
  • High Frequency Words: are the words that appear most often in texts. Thanks to Drs. Dolch and Frye, we have age-leveled lists of these words beginning from the simplest in Kindergarten to the more difficult in upper grades.
  • Phonological Awareness: the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate sound units in words. It is one component of a comprehensive reading program and the precursor to solid literacy development.
  • Phonemic Awareness: one component of phonological awareness. The ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the individual sounds in spoken words.
  • Phonics: an approach to teaching word identification that emphasizes letter-sound correspondences and their application to reading and spelling. The goal of phonics is to help children learn and apply the alphabetic principle--the understanding that there are systematic and predictable relationships between written letters and spoken words.
  • Sight Words: are words that do not often follow phonics rules, so emerging readers should learn them 'by sight' in order to read them quickly and accurately.
  • Vocabulary: a term used to describe the words that one must know in order to communicate with others, both orally and through print.
Want to have this sheet handy? Want to learn a little more? Feel free to download the Literacy Terms We All Need to Know as a pdf to use as an easy reference. It includes these definitions, some in more detail, along with a few other words to know. Want to know how to take these terms a step further? Check out 'teachmama topics' on the sidebar for activities and games that to develop these areas with your little ones! Still have questions? Email me! I'm happy to help in any way I can!
And that's it for today--we had a busy Mother's Day weekend, and we have a busier week ahead, so I may pull out some oldies but goodies this week!
Thanks to teach mama for her wonderful website, which is full of inspiration for teachers and parents alike.  Please visit her at teach mama to see what her family is up to.

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