Literacy Terms



NEW!!! 
Sharing educational acronyms you need to know.

Check out this list of 



1. ADHD: This stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Students with ADHD may have a hard time focusing, be overactive, not able control behavior, or a combination of these. Some great support and articles are available at www.understood.org.

2. 504: This stands for a Section 504 Plan of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against public school students with disabilities. A 504 Plan is designed to help students with learning and/or attention issues participate with accommodations they need for school.

3. OHI: Other Health Impairment, or OHI, is a special education eligibility category for students who have “limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli… that is due to chronic or acute health problems.” Some examples include Epilepsy, Diabetes, ADD/ADHD, heart condition, Tourette’s Syndrome, and more. Read this article for more information.

4. RtI: Response to Intervention (RtI) is a multi-tier approach to the early identification and support of students with varying learning/emotional needs within the general education classroom. Check out the RtI Action Network for more information at http://www.rtinetwork.org/.

5. IEP: Perhaps the most commonly used special education acronym, the Individual Education Plan, or IEP, is a legal document created by a team of professionals and parents for a student which outlines a student’s disability category, present levels of educational performance, accommodations, modifications, annual goals, and more. Check out this IEP Checklist from the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center for help.

6. SLD: Specific Learning Disability or Specific Learning Disorder (SLD) is one of the 13 disability categories outlined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). SLD is an umbrella term and can be further specified by difficulties in reading, writing, spelling, mathematics, reasoning, recalling, organizing information, and more. Check out the National Center for Learning Disabilities website at http://www.ncld.org/ or read this article from the Learning Disabilities Association of America for a wealth of information on this topic.

7. IDEA: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, outlines 13 special education disability categories for students to qualify for special education services. IDEA was originally passed in 1975 to ensure that students with disabilities would have access to the same educational opportunities as their non-disabled peers, and was last amended in 2004. For information about IDEA 2004, visit http://idea.ed.gov/.

8. ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is a civil disability law that “prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.” Visit www.ada.gov for more information.

9. FAPE: Free Appropriate Public Education, or FAPE, refers to the provision that schools must meet the educational needs of individuals with disabilities to the same extent that the needs of non-disabled individuals are met. Check out this great infographic on FAPE by Understood.org.

10. LRE: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), is a federal mandate under IDEA calling for students with disabilities to be served in special classes, separate schools, or other positions only when deemed necessary by the severity or nature of a child’s disability. By and large, LRE states that students must be educated in the same environment as their non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible.

11. UDL: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for teaching that identifies the needs of diverse learners first in terms of teaching environment, accessibility, curriculum design, and learning styles. The principal of UDL is that there is no “one size fits all approach” to teaching, and that doing what is best for students with special needs, can often benefit all. Check out http://www.cast.org/udl/ for more information.

12. DI: Differentiated Instruction (DI) is the way in which a teacher anticipates, modifies, and responds to a variety of individualized student needs in the classroom. Under DI, teachers create varying content (what is being taught), process (how it is taught) and product (how students demonstrate their learning) within the classroom. Visit http://www.caroltomlinson.com/ for more information on DI.

13. PBL: Project or Problem Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching methodology that allows students to investigate, analyze and examine a problem or project for an extended period of time. Within PBL, educators often use hands-on experiments, outside classroom experiences, and more to help students acquire deeper knowledge of a specified learning objective. Check out this great website by Jerry Blumengarten, @Cybraryman, on PBL.

14. CCSS: In 2010, a number of states across the nation adopted the same standards for English and Math called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Since that time, 46 states and the District of Columbia have adopted Common Core. Visit www.corestandards.org for more information.


15. AT: Assistive Technology, or AT, is any item, equipment, product, software or system, that is used to increase, maintain, and improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability. Check out the SETT Framework by Dr. Joy Zabala or the Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative (WATI) for more information on AT and its implementation.

I will be continuously adding new terms!

6 + 1 Traits- The 6 + 1Trait Writing framework is a tool for teachers to learn and use a common language to refer to characteristics of "good" writing. The framework allows teachers and students to use a common language that focuses their attention on areas of strength and weakness as they strive to improve writing. The traits are ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions, and presentation.

Alliteration Repetition of initial consonant sounds. (Example: “Betty baked bread badly”.)

Comprehension-A process of simultaneously extracting and constructing meaning through interaction and involvement with written language (RAND Reading Report, 2002).

Dyslexia- Is a language based reading disability. It is not seeing words backwards or seeing shaking letters

ELL- English Language Learner

Fluency- The ability to accurately and effortlessly decode with reasonable pace and prosody demonstrating appropriate pragmatics and comprehension.

Frayer Model- a graphic organizer used to help students deepen their understanding of a key concept or content-specific vocabulary term by analyzing its essential and non-essential characteristics, drawing an illustration, or giving examples and non-examples. (Frayer, Frederick, and Klausmeier, 1969).

Grapheme- smallest written unit in language.

Hyperbole an exaggerated statement used to heighten effect and make a point (Example: “I love the whole world”!)

K-W-L chart- a graphic organizer used to help students predict and connect new information with prior knowledge. (Ogle, 1986).

Lexile- a measure that is used as an education tool connecting readers with reading materials. Note-There are additional methods for text levels.

Metaphor speaking of something as if it were something elsedoesn’t use “like”, “as” or “than”.

Morpheme- A single unit of meaning.

Neuhaus- provides professional development for educators in research-based methods of literacy instruction. Neuhaus training provides teachers with research-based strategies and materials to teach reading, writing, and spelling to all students.

Onomatopoeia The use of words that imitate sounds.  (Example: whirr, thud, sizzle, hiss).

Personification  a type of figurative language  in which objects or nonhuman subjects are given human qualities. (Example:  “The sun smiled down on us”.)

Phoneme- A single speech sound.

Phonemic Awareness-the ability to identify phonemes, the vocal gestures from which words are constructed, when they are found in their natural context--spoken words. 

Phonics- the application of speech sounds to letters

Phonological Awareness-
·      A precursor to phonics
·      An oral language activity
·      Acquired from language activities and reading


PLC- Professional Learning Community


Pragmatics-how the transmission of meaning depends not only on structural and linguistic knowledge of the speaker and listener, but also on the context of the utterance, any pre-existing knowledge about those involved, the inferred intent of the speaker, and other factors.

Prosody- rhythm and intonation of spoken language

Reading First - Program that focuses on putting proven reading instruction in classrooms


Readers/Writers Workshop- Instructional model to promote literacy in an ELA classroom



RAFT- a writing to learn strategy that allows students to process information by writing about it in a nontraditional format. (RoleAudienceFormatTopic) (Vandevanter, 1982).


Schwa- Reduced or condensed vowel sound; often in an unaccented syllable. Most commonly heard vowel sound in spoken English words and a source of spelling difficulties.

Simile a direct statement using the words like, as, or than.  (Example:  “The fog was as thick as soup”).

Syllable- A pronounceable group of letters containing a vowel.

Teacher- an awesome individual that shapes the future; a superhero!

Vocabulary- the body of words known to an individual person. Children who come to school with very small oral vocabularies face a huge hurdle to learning to read. Research indicates that this gap only widens further as students get older if the problem is not addressed.


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