With the renewed emphasis on test scores comes a renewed interest in the process of reading. An explanation of many of these literacy terms will hopefully explain what is happening in your child’s classroom.
Literacy - reading, writing, speaking and listening. A good literacy program immerses young children in books. Classroom teachers help children hear the sounds of language and give them experiences with letters and words – while helping them develop comprehension skills and enjoy reading and writing.
Balanced literacy - a framework for literacy instruction using reading, writing and word work, with lots of time allowed for young readers to hear and read good books.
Phonics - an instructional strategy used to teach reading. Beginning readers learn letter-sound relationships to help sound out words.
Comprehension - the term used to describe the interpretations, understanding, and meaning readers construct as they listen to and read stories.
Decoding - how a child figures out a word. It might be by sounding out a word or looking at picture clues. It should include figuring out that word in the context of the other words in the story.
Running Records - a method of recording a child’s reading used by many teachers of early readers. By recording the child’s processing, mistakes, and self-corrections, teachers learn what to review or re-teach with that individual child.
Leveled text - the story or passage at a child’s reading level. Good teachers make sure that young readers read text that is at or just above the child’s reading level.
Guided reading - refers to a reading group. Children are “sorted” into these groups based on reading levels or specific skills being taught by the teacher. These are teacher-led groups.
Literature circles, sometimes called book clubs - are made up of groups of children who read the same book. Specific questions and discussions are required by the teacher, but these groups are often led by students.
Literacy centers - planned by the classroom teacher to foster comprehension skills, to reinforce word work, and to give practice in reading and writing. These groups are usually small – from one to six students – with students working independently or in small groups.
Writers’ Workshop - an integral part of every good literacy classroom. Students write independently, edit stories, and correct spelling with the help of a teacher, other adult, or a classmate.
Curriculum - the course of study offered by a school or district. Final discussions about school curriculum have been the responsibility of the local school board.
Developmentally appropriate - if instruction is developmentally appropriate, it means that curriculum and instruction are based on the mental and physical development of the child. This term is mostly used in reference to young children but is important for students of all ages.
Lifelong readers - ought to be the goal of all parents, students, and teacher. Reading for the joy of reading is why literacy is such a big deal!
Watch this blog for more terms and explanations about “testing” and “literacy.”
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Click HERE for an alphabetized list of terms included in all the Education Talk postings.