The A-Z of Literacy Terms, Concepts & Strategies: Letters A-D

Reading is one of those foundational skills that are near impossible to live without. We need it to understand road signs, to review paperwork, pay bills, etc. That’s why reading teachers and literacy coaches are so important. They make it possible for students to meet the important milestone of learning to read on grade level by grade 3. This milestone is one of the most important milestones that a student will ever reach.

Why, because if a student can read on grade level by the end of third grade, they have enough foundational reading skills to tackle more advanced and complex literacy skills such as reading comprehension, inference, etc. These skills will allow them to be successful later on in life.

For a literacy professional to be considered competent, there are over 70 terms, concepts & strategies that they must be familiar with. What are they? Don’t worry, as always, we have you covered. In this article series, we will discuss the A-Z of literacy terms, concepts & strategies. In part 1, we will tackle letters A-D.

Click here to read all of the articles in this 4-part series.

Accuracy (word) The capacity to read the word properly the first time. Accuracy is essential for fluency and comprehension.

Ambiguous Vowels Vowel combinations that can make more than one sound, such as the oo in book and moon OR sounds that can be signified by more than one vowel mixture, like the sound of /ah/ in tall, caught, or cost.

Automaticity The capacity to look at a word and read it within one second of seeing it. Word automaticity is essential for fluency and comprehension.

Balanced Literacy A reading program that uses several different reading methods to offer differentiated reading instruction.

Blend (consonant) A blend is when you take two letters and place them together (side-by-side) in a word, and you perceive both sounds. A few examples include: bl, gr, st, or nd.

Book Awareness An understanding of how books operate.

Comprehension Strategies The tactics fluent readers use as they are reading. Examples include: asking questions, making predictions or creating mental images.

Comprehension The capacity and ability to understand speech.

Consonant The letters: b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, and z. 

Conventional Spelling Spelling words the way that they should be spelled.

Copy Work Asking a child to copy words, phrases, or sentences to practice grammar.

Decode The capacity to view letters and decipher the “code” of the letters to make it a word.

Developmental Literacy A form of literacy instruction that takes a child’s stage of development in consideration. In essence, it provides developmentally appropriate literacy instruction.

Developmental Spelling When children know that spelling is a process.

Dictation A part of the pre-writing stage in which a child would like to write something, but is not ready developmentally. The child dictates what they would like their sentence to convey and the adult writes it in the child’s plain view. Then the adult reads what they wrote back to the child. You can think of it as a form of scaffolding.

Digraph (consonant) When you take two letters, place them together (side-by-side) in a word, and only one sound is perceivable. Examples include: ch, gn (less common), sh, th, wh, wr.

Digraph (vowel) Two vowels that are side-by-side in a word and work together to make one sound. Examples include: ai, ee, oa, or, aw.

Well, that’s it for this article. In the next installment of this series, we will tackle letters E-O.

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