AFT - American Federation of Teachers

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Reading Glossary

Background—Without sufficient background knowledge students may be unable to understand text even when they can decode and understand figures of speech.

Comprehension—Understanding what is read.

Comprehension strategies—Real time cognitive activity used to make sense of text including: monitoring one’s understanding, generating questions as one reads, answering questions when reading, making inferences when information is not explicitly stated, summarizing what has been read, making mental images of what is being read, determining what is important, using graphic and semantic organizers, using knowledge of text structure and applying prior knowledge.

Expository text structure—Format of informational text including one or a combination of the following: cause and effect, problem and solution, compare and contrast, and/or description and sequence.

Figures of Speech—Expressions or techniques used by authors to convey meaning in non-literal ways. For example, a metaphor is a comparison, and simile is a comparison using the words “like” or “as.”

Fluency—Ability to read orally with speed, accuracy and proper expression.

Genre—A type of literature, for example, folktale, science fiction or biography.

Motivation—Reading for pleasure or reading to gather information.

Phonemic awareness—Understanding that the words we say are made up of individual sounds (phonemes) and the ability to isolate, blend, segment and manipulate these phonemes.

Phonics—Accuracy in decoding and word recognition skills.

Story grammar—Structure of narrative text including characters, setting, plot, problem/solution, resolution, theme and mood.

Vocabulary—Words we must know to communicate more effectively; a continuum of word knowledge. Knowing the meaning, and sometimes multiple meanings of words, includes more than the ability to decode.