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Initial Reading Instruction Vocabulary


Teachers and tutors who discuss reading with parents often use the vocabulary of reading instruction without defining the words. What do all of those words mean? Here are some words with their meanings that are commonly used to discuss early reading skills, including decoding in reading instruction. A few examples are included.

Phonological awareness- Children become aware that spoken language is divided into units, such as words and syllables.
Phonemic awareness- This is the ability to split up and rearrange individual sounds within words.
Phoneme-A unit of sound- Phonemes can be combined to make words.
Morpheme-An indivisible unit of language- They are also called the smallest units of grammar. Examples include a, in, graph, the, like, food.
Phonics A way to help children learn to read and decode words by teaching that letters and groups of letters are associated with sounds that make up syllables and words.
Vowels- The letters a, e, I, o, u, and sometimes y. The letter y in gym is a vowel. These sounds have an open vocal tract.
Consonants- The letters that are not vowels, where the breath is partially obstructed. Consonants can be combined with vowels to form syllables.
Syllable- A syllable has one or more vowels and may also have consonants associated with the vowel. The word life has one syllable. Later has two syllables. Inherit has three syllables. One good way to find out how many syllables a word has is to hold your fingers under the chin and see how many times the chin moves.
Vowel digraphs- Two letters that spell a vowel sound. ai, au, aw, ay, ea, ee, ei, ie, oe, oo, ou. ow, ue, ey, ay, oy, oi,
Consonant digraphs- Two letters that spell a consonant sound. ch, sh, th, wh, ck, ph, ng.
Diphthongs- The single vowel sound that the vowel digraph makes.
Vowel-consonant-e words- These words have a vowel, then a consonant, and a final e. We used to say, "When two vowels go a walking, the first one does the talking." In other words, the first vowel says its name. Examples are time, face, bike, and cake.
Word Families for Reading- Words that are made from groups of letters with the same sound. There are more than 60 common families. Examples are the family an-ban, can, fan, flan, man, ran, tan, began, pecan. There is also the family it-bit, fit, flit, hit, knit, nit, sit, skit, slit, wit, admit. There are more words that go into each of these families, as well as many other families to make words with.

It helps when discussing a child's reading development to know the vocabulary of reading education and what these words mean. Communication is more effective if everybody is on the same page. This article focused on vocabulary words related to learning to build words. There are also sets of words connected to learning variations on words, special cases of words, and those concepts associated with reading comprehension.


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Sightwords Website Review for Phonemic Awareness
Sightwords Site Review for Sightwords Curriculum
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Content copyright © 2015 by Connie Mistler Davidson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Connie Mistler Davidson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Connie Mistler Davidson for details.

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