This glossary defines terms related to early
literacy development and the teaching of reading and writing. It is
included in the appendix of the LAUSD Early Literacy Training
A technique for encouraging students
to share personal writings. The teacher and the students designate a
specific chair or area in which the author reads his/her piece and
elicits responses from the audience.
Program. A comprehensive, balanced
literacy program is developmental, child-centered, meaning-centered,
and experiential. It includes: an explicit skills program, a
rich-literature component, all of the language arts processes
(listening, speaking, reading, and writing), an early intervention
program, on-going diagnosis that insures accountability, and a
quality school library.
Reading. A technique for teaching
reading in which all students read simultaneously. Often, rounds of
reading occur around the same book, song, poem, or chant.
Comprehension. Critical Thought. When students seek meaning in
experiences with text or media they interpret and clarify on an
individual basis. Comprehension is interchangeable with new insights,
with fact-specific skill imprints, and with higher levels of
Conditions of Learning. A term coined by Brian Cambourne (1970) that refers
to the circumstances, or conditions, that are present for learning to
Collaborative & Cooperative
Learning. Collaborative learning is
interactive where adults and students share the different kinds and
levels of responsibilities based on both short and long range needs
or goals. They work together to plan and define tasks, to suggest
alternatives, to predict, confirm and evaluate outcomes, to make
critical decisions and solve problems, and to debrief or assess
processes and products as a way for determining the next steps.
Cooperative learning is a formal, heterogeneous learning group model where the adult usually controls group size, configurations, purpose for the group activity, and approximate length of time each group will exist. Small groups of students work interdependently and each student contributes to achievement of the task objective. A cooperative learning approach encourages students to think critically about whatever tasks they are asked to implement and evaluate. The adult usually defines group expectations and provides tools and needed support for taking the task from an initial introduction through its implementation and completion.
Cueing systems. Cues used by the reader to draw on or gain meaning
from text. They include: semantic (background knowledge/experience),
syntactic (knowledge of language patterns), and graphophonic
(knowledge of letters and sounds).
Directionality. The ability of an emergent reader to perceive
up from down, right
from left, front from
back, and the perception of the differences of each.
Domains of Writing. A term used to describe different types of writing
such as informative/practical, descriptive, analytical, creative,
Reading. A technique for teaching
reading where a teacher or student read the text and a second
person/student repeats the same reading. When used with students with
reading disabilities, the teacher stands behind the student, reads
the text into his/her ear and the student then ìechoesî
the reading. See also Shared Reading.
English Language Development
(ELD) - A technique used to develop
English language for English learners.
Genre. A term used to classify literary works such as
poetry, fairy tales, historical fiction, mysteries, etc.
Graphic organizers. Graphic organizers are visual devices teachers and
students create for recording, clarifying, and classifying
information. They come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations and
have a variety of labels and purposes, such as: Character maps,
clusters, flowcharts, semantic maps, story boards, timelines, webs,
Venn diagrams, word banks, word maps, and word walls.
Graphophonics. A term used to refer to the relationship between
symbols (letters) and sounds.
Graphophonic Knowledge. The ability to listen to the sounds in words and then
write down letters for those sounds.
Guided Reading. An approach to teaching reading where children are
placed homogeneously into fluid reading groups of 4-6 children. Each
student has his/her own copy of the reading text or book so that the
teacher may guide children through talking, reading, and thinking
their way purposefully through the text. Children are made aware of
strategies that can be used in gaining meaning from text. For
children in the beginning stages of reading development, guided
reading serves as a way of ìlearning to readî, and for
more fluent readers, guided reading assists them in ìreading
Guided Writing. A technique used for teaching writing where the
teacher guides the writing process and encourages students by giving
explicit feedback that refers to the structural or language features
required in the text form.
Reading. When a student reads
materials on his/her own.
Approach (LEA). An approach to
teaching language in which studentsí personal experiences are
transcribed and used as materials of instruction for listening,
speaking, reading, and writing.
Literacy. The ability to inject oneís own thoughts and
intentions into messages received and messages sent, and to transform
and then act upon aspects of the world via spoken and written words.
Literacy is using the processes of language authentically.
The use of literature throughout
the curriculum for directed and in-depth instruction as well as for
recreational and motivational reading.
Literature Circles. A technique to teach literature in which small,
temporary discussion groups are chosen and formed to read the same
story, poem, article, or book. In the group, each member prepares to
take specific responsibilities in the upcoming discussion. The
teacher facilitates the selection of reading materials and monitors
each groups progress.
A technique for teaching writing
which allows the teacher to demonstrate a range of skills, processes,
and strategies for writing.
Morphemes. The smallest unit of meaning in written language
which involves both semantic and syntactic information.
Morphemic knowledge. The ability to use known words to spell new, or
The smallest unit of sound in spoken
Phonemic Awareness. The understanding that spoken words and syllables
are themselves made up of sequences of elementary speech sounds.
Phonics. A method of teaching reading that stresses
Phonological Awareness. The ability to manipulate sounds and recognize that
language is made up of individual words, that words are made up of
syllables, and that syllables are made up of phonemes.
Primary Language. The first personal and social language a child
learns to speak.
aloud. An integral component of a
balanced literacy program where students are read to on a daily basis
so as to foster an appreciation for reading. This process provides a
rich context in which children experience complex language
structures, descriptions, story lines, and plot development while
facilitating the development of higher levels of thinking and
Reading. The act of constructing meaning from print using
previous knowledge and knowledge of language.
Reading Workshop. A technique in teaching reading where a
pre-determined block of time is set aside for reading activities. The
session begins with a mini-lesson by the teacher, moves into an
activity period where students read individually selected books,
respond to books, or confer with the teacher, and ends with a sharing
Running Records. A reading assessment technique where the teacher
selects a text of 100-150 words. The student is asked to read the
text, and the teacher records and analyzing the studentís
reading behavior so as to match program instruction with student
Reading. A teaching technique or
approach which gives all students access to understanding and
information in print. The teacher and students read together,
interacting with the print and learning from it and each other. Other
terms for shared reading include read-along, co-operative reading,
assisted reading, and unison or choral reading.
Shared Writing. A technique for teaching writing where the teacher
and student work together to create a piece of writing. The teacher
scribes for the children and models the writing process.
Specially Designed Academic Instruction
in English (S.D.A.I.E.). An approach
for teaching English learners that uses English as a medium of
instruction for subject matter classes such as art, music, physical
education, mathematics, science, and social science. Various
techniques are employed to make the English academic input
comprehensible to the English learner.
Stages of Reading. The stages of reading describe the studentís
progress and ability to interact with and process print. The stages
can be categorized as emergent, early, and fluent.
Stages of Spelling. The stages of spelling describe the studentís
progress and ability to spell conventionally.
Workshop. A technique for teaching
writing where a pre-determined block of time is set aside for writing
activities. The workshop begins with a mini-lesson by the teacher,
moves into an activity period where students write individually ,
respond to othersí writing, or confer with the teacher, and
ends with a sharing session.
Writing. The act of using written language to communicate.