Handbook of Language and Literacy Development - a Roadmap from 0 to 60 Months

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Pre-Reading Development (0-60 Months)click to print Print

adjective – a word that is used to describe a noun or pronoun (e.g., The pretty cup, She is pretty.)

adverb – a word that is used to describe a verb (e.g., The boys run quickly.)

alphabetic principle/system – a term referring to the fact that speech sounds are systematically represented by alphabetic characters (letters) in the writing system

babbling – the term used for strings of sounds, both consonants and vowels, produced by children beginning around six months of age (e.g., dadadadbababa)

conventions (of books and print) – the term used to refer to how books are constructed according to a set of conventions that can be understood without being able to read. In English, these include the left-to-right and top-to-bottom direction of print on each page, the sequence and direction in which print progresses from front to back across pages, the difference between the covers and the pages of the book, the difference between pictures and print on a page, and the meaning of elements of punctuation, including spaces between words and punctuation at the ends of sentences.

decoding – the process by which readers convert written words into spoken language

descriptive language – language used to represent in words objects or actions; intended to give a mental picture of the object or action; relies heavily on adjectives and adverbs

dialogue-style reading – a style of reading which employs the use of short, simple questions rather than word-by-word reading; helps to engage a young child in the reading experience, aids in vocabulary development, accommodates to and adapts for young children’s’ short attention spans and their practice of randomly turning pages, and strengthens the interactions between young children and their parents or caregivers

environmental print – logos, labels, and other print objects that surround humans; direct human behavior, like street signs that tell drivers and pedestrians how, where and when to drive or walk; to capture human interest, like labels on food products; or to give other kinds of information, usually with a brief glance.

expository language – language designed to convey information or explain what is difficult to understand.

fiction – something that is invented by the imagination

graphophonic – the relationship between graphemes (written letters) and speech sounds (phonemes)

illustrator – one who provides print materials such as books and newspapers with pictures

intonation – the rise and fall in pitch of the voice when speaking; used to indicate questioning as well as to convey emotion

literacy – in the fundamental sense, the quality or state of being literate, or able to read and write

morphological structure – the form of language, consisting of morphemes; the smallest meaningful units of language (e.g., in, come, -ing)

narrative – an event or series of events that are told through a story

native language – the spoken language to which a child is exposed from birth, also known as home language

non-fiction – something that is not invented by the imagination; based on factual experience

noun – a word that names a person, place or thing (e.g., Dan, house)

onset – beginning sound of a word (e.g., /p/ in pan)

orthography – spelling of a language

partial alphabetic recognition stage (Stahl & Yaden, 2004) – children begin to recognize sight words by making connections between some of the letters in the words and speech sounds, some knowledge of and limited use of the alphabetic system

patterned language – language which repeats a basic structure or form (e.g., “I see a black bird looking at me. I see a yellow dog looking at me.”)

phoneme – an individual speech sound such as /k/ or /s/ in English

phonemic awareness – awareness of individual speech sounds (phonemes)

phonological awareness – awareness of the speech sounds that make up words in learning to read and write

phonological structure of language – the speech sounds (phonemes) that are acceptable parts of a given language

pitch – the highness or lowness of a sound

plot – an outline of the main events in a story

prealphabetic stage or visual cue phase – a period of time described by Stahl and Yaden (2004) during which any ability to recognize words in print relies on memorizing the appearances, or shapes of words, rather than using sound to symbol correspondence to read words conventionally

preliminary period – a period of time described by Anbar (1986) during which young children are just gaining a general awareness of books and print

punctuation – any of the marks (e.g., full stop and comma) used in writing to separate sentences and phrases etc. and clarify meaning

recite – to repeat from memory

rhyme – when words share the same ending sounds (e.g., lucky-ducky; care-bear)

rime – the remainder of words after the beginning sounds are removed; the parts of words which rhyme (e.g., un for bun and sun)

sentence structure – how words are put together in phrases and clauses to form a sentence

sight words – words that are recognized automatically when seen, by remembering the visual attributes of the word

story structure – the plot of a story

syllable – the smallest part of a word, consisting of one vowel sound with a consonant before or after (e.g., ta and ble in table)

text features – specific elements of print such as typeface, beginning letters of words, capitalization etc.

tone – a manner of speaking that shows a certain feeling or attitude

verb – a word that expresses an action (e.g., run, jump) or otherwise helps to make a statement (e.g., am, has been)

vocabulary – the words used by a language, group, or individual or used within particular subjects like science or mathematics

word families – groups of words which share common rime patterns (e.g., sing, bring, fling would be members of the ing word family)