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

In this series, we are discussing the A-Z of literacy terms, concepts & strategies. In part 3, we tackled letters E-O, and in part 4, we will discuss letters S-W.

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

Schwa A sound in the English language that sounds similar to the short u sound /uh/, but is used during a syllable that does not receive emphasis. For instance, in the words again, another, and away, the schwa sound is located at the onset of the word. Schwa is typically signified with an inverted letter e.

Self-Corrections When a child automatically fixes mistakes that they made while reading.

Shared Writing (interactive writing) In this writing approach, which works well for struggling and emergent writers, the child and adult share a pencil. The adult writes the majority of the sections, and the child writes what they can handle.

Short Vowel Vowels that do not make their letter name sounds the same way as long vowels. Vowels are traditionally enunciated with their short sound only if there is only a single vowel in contained in the word or syllable, and at least one consonant trails it. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as the word truth.

Sight Words Any word that a child recognizes by sight.

Silent Reading When a child reads silently to themselves.

Story Elements Foundational features that make a story be a story such as characters, setting, problem, and solution. These pieces work together to form the plot.

Suffix Letters put on the end of a (base) word that changes its meaning. Examples include, but are not limited to -ed, -ly, -ful, or -less.

Syllable Juncture The place in a word at which two syllables come together. Researching different types of syllable junctures assists readers in understanding how to decode/read words.

Syllables The large parts of a word.

Tell/Summarize The capacity to retell what happened in a story by highlighting the important points. It requires that the student not only decipher the main points but also convey it in a manner that will make sense to the listener.

Text Features and Text Structures Helps young readers understand what is important about a text and what is not.

Theme The theme is what the author wants you to know about his literary work.

Vowel Include the letters: a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y (my) and w (flew). Vowels can be long, short, or make vague sounds (like oo).

What is the Main Idea The big picture of the story.

Word Attack Skills The strategies that readers utilize to decipher a new word that they read.

Word Families Words that have rimes that are spelled in a similar fashion and rhyme. They do not possess the same onsets (beginning letters) but have the same rime (word portions). For instance, the words dog, frog, log, and clog form a word family.

Word Study The research of the patterns of words in the English language. In place in teaching kids phonics as a collection of isolated rules, phonics is learned by looking at and examining words that are spelled similarly and coming up with generalities that apply to that group of similar words. For example, why don’t give, love and have possessed long vowels? These words aren’t rule breakers! When kids study these words as a group, they realize that they all follow a similar pattern.

Writing Process Writing strategy that asks students to interact with writing just like bestselling authors do. It includes brainstorming ideas, writing rough drafts, revising, editing, publishing, and sharing work.

Writing Prompts When a teacher gives students to subject or topic to write on.

Well, that’s it for this article. We hope you have enjoyed this series.

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