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Glossary: Developing a shared language

Academic language or vocabulary: terms that are commonly used in the classroom and in learning contexts but not often in everyday contexts (or with a different meaning in everyday contexts). Academic vocabulary includes the vocabulary required for classroom discussion and curriculum work, for example, define, method.

Access: the opportunity or ability to use a resource, such as the curriculum.

Ako: a Māori concept describing a teaching and learning relationship where the educator is also learning from the student. The concept incorporates the linked ideas that educators’ practices are informed by the latest research and are both deliberate and reflective; that educators need to know about and respect students’ language, identity, and culture; and that educators, students, whānau, hapū, and iwi share knowledge in productive partnerships.

Alphabetic principle: the idea or understanding that letters of the alphabet represent specific sounds in speech.

Automaticity: the automatic processing of information as, for example, when a reader or writer does not need to pause to work out words as they read or write.

Blend: to join sounds together. See also segment.

Chunk: a sound or a group of letters, within a spoken or written word, that includes more than one phoneme or grapheme. Teachers encourage students to identify familiar chunks in unfamiliar words in order to help them decode.

Cognitive resources: the knowledge, strategies, and awareness that students draw on to make meaning as they read and write. As reading and writing develop, some aspects of reading and writing become automatic, freeing up cognitive resources to deal with other aspects of tasks.

Cohesive device: a language feature used to make connections within a text or to draw attention to existing connections, for example, the use of linking words such as because and however, the repeated use of pronouns (Mere ... she ... she ...), and the use of demonstratives such as this and that.

Collocation: a set of two or more words that are often used together as a pair or word cluster that may have its own meaning, for example, place value; white lie.

Competencies: see key competencies.

Competing information: information in a text that doesn’t match the reader’s purpose for reading and tends to distract the reader.

Complex sentence: a sentence that has a main clause and at least one subordinate clause, which begins with a subordinating conjunction such as when, how, because, although, and so on – for example, She could paint amazing pictures [main clause] although she was only six [subordinate clause]. The subordinate clause is dependent on the main clause and cannot stand alone.

Compound sentence: a sentence consisting of at least two main clauses. The clauses are independent of each other (each one could stand alone) and are linked by a co-ordinating conjunction such as and, but, or or, for example, I mowed the lawn, but you trimmed the edges.

Connotations: the particular associations that certain words and phrases evoke in readers’ minds, which affect the way in which readers interpret the text.

Constrained reading skills: see Understanding the Literacy Learning Progressions.

Content (of a text): the ideas or information contained within a text. See also context.

Content-specific vocabulary: see topic words.

Context: the surrounding text, topic, conditions, or activities that affect how we understand specific words, sentences, and ideas within a text. See also content.

Continuous texts: texts in which sentences are usually organised into paragraphs, for example, in narrative, exposition, description, or argument. See also non-continuous texts.

Denotation: the literal meaning of a word; the use of words to name or symbolise particular things, for example, Labrador denotes a certain breed of dog.

Dialogue: speech in written form. In the context of early reading, dialogue means direct speech using speech marks.

Discourse marker: a word or phrase in a text that helps the reader (or listener) to follow the relationships between the parts of the text, for example, Of course, but, Firstly ... finally.

Evaluating (by students): considering selected ideas and information in the text in relation to their purpose for reading or writing. Students generalise from the ideas and information in the text and make judgments about them by drawing on their own knowledge and experience.

Expressive vocabulary: vivid, lively, and/or emotive words and terms.

Features: see text features.

Figurative language: language that uses images to build meaning without literal description and often without direct comparison, for example, by using metaphor, as in Night is a Blanket.

Fluency: the ability to speak, read, or write rapidly and accurately, focusing on meaning and phrasing without having to give laborious attention to the individual words or the common forms and sequences of the language. The term fluency is also used to refer to the upper levels of the Ready to Read colour wheel. Refer to “A note on fluency in written language”, on page 24 of Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8, for more information about the concept of fluency.

Grapheme: a written unit that represents one phoneme, for example, f, th, o, ee.

Grapheme–phoneme relationships: see phoneme–grapheme relationships.

Hypertext: a system that allows extensive cross-referencing in digital media. It allows sections of text to be read in different sequences as readers choose their own paths to the information they seek.

Independently, largely by themselves: with minimal support. The amount of support given and the way the student responds will help the teacher to make a professional judgment about the extent of control the student has over their own reading or writing.

Integrating (by the student): bringing ideas and information together and considering how they link to other ideas, features, or structures and to their own prior knowledge and experience.

Interactive tools (reading and writing): tools that readers and writers can use to interact reflectively with texts, tasks, and the world to achieve learning purposes across the curriculum. Students use reading and writing to learn from experience, to deal with change, and to think critically about the texts and tasks of the curriculum.

Key competencies: capabilities for living and lifelong learning. They are the key to learning in every area. The key competencies are specified in The New Zealand Curriculum.

Language features: text features that relate directly to the words and how they are used in the text, for example, the vocabulary, syntax, and figurative language.

Largely by themselves: see independently, largely by themselves.

Letter–sound relationships: see phoneme–grapheme relationships.

Level: a term used for the colour wheel levels of the Ready to Read series, the year levels of school classes, and the eight levels of learning that structure the New Zealand Curriculum. The term is also used in this book more generally, for example, to refer to levels of text difficulty or of expertise.

Locating (by students): searching for and finding information and ideas for specific purposes related to curriculum tasks.

Making notes: writing notes in order to keep a record of relevant information while reading. See also note-taking.

Metacognition: a person’s awareness of how they think and learn; the process of thinking about one’s own learning.

Morphology: the study of the forms of words and how they are constructed in terms of parts that have meaning.

Nominalisation: forming a noun from a verb or adjective.

Non-continuous texts: texts that do not usually contain sentences organised into paragraphs, for example, charts and graphs, tables and matrices, diagrams, maps, forms, information sheets, advertisements, vouchers, and certificates.

Note-taking: writing notes in order to keep a record of what a speaker is saying. See also making notes.

Personal vocabulary: words and phrases that have personal meaning for the reader or writer, such as familiar names and words for places, activities, actions, and feelings that are important to that person.

Phoneme: the smallest segment of sound in spoken language.

Phoneme–grapheme relationships: the relationships between spoken sound units and the written symbols that represent them.

Phonological awareness: an overall understanding of the sound systems of a language, for example, an awareness that words are made up of combinations of sounds.

Processes: see writing processes.

Productive vocabulary: the words and phrases a student knows and can produce by saying or writing them. See also receptive vocabulary.

Progressions (in the context of this book): the learning steps or pathways that students take in their learning. This document and the National Standards for reading and writing reflect a cumulative model of literacy development, in which the student builds new learning on their existing knowledge and skills by engaging with increasingly complex texts and tasks, guided by expert instruction.

Readability: the level or reading age at which the text can be read. Readability levels for School Journal texts are based on the Elley noun frequency method. (Note that the concept of reading age provides only a rough guide to the complexity of a text, and the term is not a valid way to describe a student’s level of reading expertise.)

Reading comprehension strategies: those strategies that enable students to build and enhance their understanding of the text they read and to think critically about it. See Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4, pages 131–135, and Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8, pages 141–151.

Reading processing strategies: the “in the head” ways in which readers make use of the sources of information in the text to decode words. These strategies include attending and searching, predicting, cross-checking and confirming, and self-correcting. See Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4, pages 38–39, and Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8, page 36.

Receptive vocabulary: the words and phrases a student recognises when they read them or hear them spoken; a student’s receptive vocabulary will generally be greater than their productive vocabulary. See also productive vocabulary.

Register: the language features associated with a particular kind of audience or occasion, including use of the specialist vocabulary associated with specific audiences, topics, or text forms.

Rime: the sound that follows the onset (initial sound) in a syllable, for example, sh-op, scr-ap, f-ish.

Segment: to separate sounds out. See also blend.

Simple sentence: a sentence containing only one main clause, for example, A kererū perched on the branch or Miʻi is six today.

Standard: a reference point or benchmark that describes the performance desired at a specific stage.

Subject-specific vocabulary: words that are used in the context of a specific subject, for example, alliteration, chemical reaction, communities.

Synthesising (by students): drawing two or more pieces of information together to create new understanding. In doing this, the student selects and uses information according to their purpose for reading or writing.

Tasks: the planned reading, writing, oral, or practical activities through which students engage with the curriculum for an identified learning purpose.

Text: a piece of spoken, written, or visual communication that is a whole unit, for example, a conversation, a poem, a web page, a speech, or a poster.

Text features: a general term for all the written, graphic, and interactive characteristics that make one text similar to or different from another. Text features include the generic structure of the text (which is linked to its purpose); the layout of the text; the use of visual language features (such as headings, maps, diagrams, and illustrations); the language used; and the voice and register.

Text form: the essential structure of a text type with characteristic features, for example, a poem, a magazine article, or a letter to the editor.

Text type (genre): a particular kind of text, with features and conventions linked to the text’s purpose, for example, an illustrated article to explain how something works, a letter written to argue a case, or a narrative written to entertain.

Tone (in writing): the phrasing and/or vocabulary used to express the emotion or perspective that the writer wants to convey.

Topic: an identified theme or subject.

Topic words: words specific to a topic (although they may also be used in other contexts); for example, muster and drafting are specific to the topic of sheep shearing.

Unconstrained reading skills: see Understanding the Literacy Learning Progressions.

Visual language features: text features that consist of graphic elements (for example, headings, text boxes, maps, charts, diagrams, illustrations, and photos as well as links, menus, and buttons, as found in web pages). See also written language features.

Vocabulary: a set of words and other terms (including phrases or idioms that have a single meaning), for example, activate, exercise book, and bury the hatchet are all vocabulary items (or lexical items.)

Voice: the personal characteristics in a text (including tone, register, style, and text features) through which the reader can identify either a particular writer or the kind of person that the writing suggests the writer is.

Word-solving strategies: strategies used by readers to work out (decode) unfamiliar words, for example, looking for known chunks; and using knowledge of grapheme–phoneme relationships. Strategies for working out word meanings include looking for definitions or explanations and using prior knowledge or morphemes such as -ful.

Writing processes: the many different ways in which writing is developed from the original idea to recording in print or other media. The processes selected depend on the writing purpose and on the writer’s own style and thought processes and may range from simply jotting down or dictating ideas for a reminder list through to planning, drafting, revising, and publishing a text. See Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8, page 153.

Written language features (in contrast to visual language features): text features that consist of verbal elements in written texts. This includes all kinds of language features, including vocabulary, sentence structures, and figurative language.

Structure of Progressions

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