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Important Literacy Definitions


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Source: National Institute for Literacy's A Child Becomes a  Reader (http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/reading_pre.pdf) 

  • alphabetic knowledge - Knowing the names and shapes of the letters of the alphabet
  • alphabetic principle- The understanding that written letters represent sounds, for example, the word big has three sounds and three letters
  • big books- Oversized books that allow for the sharing of print and illustrations with a group of children
  • blending- Putting together individual sounds to make spoken words
  • comprehension-The ability to understand and gain meaning from what has been read
  • decodable books- Books that are made up of words that contain only the letter-sound relationships that the children are learning, along with a few words that are taught as sight words
  • decode- The ability to recognize and read words by translating the letters into speech sounds to determine the word's pronunciation and meaning
  • developmental spelling-The use of letter-sound relationship information to attempt to write words
  • emergent literacy-The view that literacy learning begins at birth and is encouraged through participation with adults in meaningful reading and writing activities
  • environmental print- Print that is part of everyday life, such as signs, billboards, labels, and business logos
  • experimental writing- Efforts by young children to experiment with writing by creating pretend and real letters and by organizing scribbles and marks on paper
  • explicit instruction- Direct, structured, systematic teaching of a task
  • fluency- The ability to read text accurately and quickly with expression
  • graphic organizers- Diagrams that visually represent the organization and relationships of ideas in a text
  • informational text - Text that conveys information - this may include books, magazines, websites, directions, etc.
  • invented spelling- The use of letter-sound relationship information to attempt to write words
  • irregular words- Frequently used words that don't follow the letter-sound relationship rules that children are learning
  • leveled books- Books that have been assigned a particular level (usually a number or letter, such as Level 1 or Level B) intended to indicate how difficult the book is for children to read
  • literacy- Includes all the activities involved in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and appreciating both spoken and written language