School Improvement in Maryland

Reading State Curriculum Glossary


The repetition of the same consonant sound at the beginning of two or more words (i.e., Waves want to be wheels…)


To examine, closely study, and evaluate a text by breaking down and examining its elements to comprehend its meaning.


The opposite of (i.e., Good is the antithesis of evil.)


A word that means the opposite of another word (i.e., happy/sad)

Base word:

A word to which affixes may be added to create related words (i.e., hemisphere, coauthor)


A general tendency or leaning in one direction; a partiality toward one view over another


A person, animal, or an imaginary being in a narrative


The techniques an author uses to develop a character: description of physical appearance, thoughts and feelings, speech, and behavior


A word related to one in another language, such as theater (English) and theatre (French)


Language that is familiar, informal everyday talk. Movies is an informal term for the more formal term cinema

Compound word:

A combination of two or more words that function as a single unit of meaning, such as barefoot


An idea or feeling associated with a word in addition to its literal meaning. Hysterical has a stronger connotation than laughable

Consonant blend:

A combination of two or three consecutive consonants each representing a distinct sound (i.e., thr, br)

Context clue:

Information surrounding a word or phrase (i.e., words, phrases, sentences, or syntax) that gives clues to its meaning


The shortening of a written or spoken word or expression by omission of one or more letters or sounds, such as can't


The ideas, activities (art, foods, businesses), and ways of behaving that are special to a country, people, or region


To pronounce a word by applying knowledge of letter/sound correspondences and phonetic generalizations


A literal dictionary meaning of a word


A choice of words to express an idea accurately


Two letters that represent one speech sound (i.e., autumn, snow)


A vowel sound produced by two adjacent vowels in the same syllable whose sounds blend together (i.e., oy, ow)


A form of literature to be acted out before an audience


The characteristics, language, and customs of a race, or country of people


The origin or history of words


A brief tale that teaches lessons about human nature

Figurative language:

Language enriched by word meanings and figures of speech (i.e., similes, metaphors, personification, hyperbole)

Figures of speech:

Words or groups of words the writer doesn't mean literally, such as similes (thin as a reed), metaphors (…traffic is a high energy current jumping constantly between the poles of Brooklyn and New Jersey), and personification (…the very skins of the drums are singing with pleasure…)


An event in a narrative presented out of sequence from an earlier time


The ability to easily speak, read, or write a language; automatic word recognition, rapid decoding, and checking for meaning

Folk tale:

Stories passed by word of mouth from generation to generation


Traditions, customs, and stories passes down within a culture


Hints or clues in a text that suggests what may occur later in a narrative


A category used to define literary works, usually by form, technique, or content (i.e., poetry, realistic fiction, historical fiction, play, and folklore)

Glossed words:

Words which are defined within the text

Graphic organizer:

Visual representations of information used for constructing meaning in reading, writing, and speaking


A form of Japanese poetry which has three lines focused on a single element


One of two or more words alike in spelling but different in meaning, derivation, or pronunciation; for example, the noun conduct and the verb conduct are homographs


One of two or more words alike in pronunciation but different in meaning, derivation, or spelling (i.e., to, two, too)


A statement where truth is exaggerated for effect


Online highlighted or underlined text that take a user to another website which has related information

Idiom/Idiomatic expression:

A phrase whose meaning cannot be understood from the literal meaning of the words in it


Artwork, photography, or other pictures


Words and phrases that appeal to the five senses

Independent level text:

Text that is relatively easy for the reader, with no more than approximately 1 in 20 words that are difficult for the reader (95% accuracy); Source: Put Reading First by the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievment (CIERA), September 2001


A logical guess based on text evidence I made an inference about the child's height when I saw his tall parents.

Inflectional ending:

The change of form that words undergo to mark distinctions such as number and tense (i.e., ing, s, es)

Informational text:

Text that conveys or explains information

Instructional level text:

Text that is challenging but manageable for the reader, with no more than approximately 1 in 10 words that are difficult for the reader (90% accuracy); Source: Put Reading First by the Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA), September 2001


To make vocabulary and concepts a part of one's learning


The contrast between what is said and what is meant or the contrast between what appears to be and what actually is

Literary text:

A wide range of texts that tell a story to make a point, express a personal opinion, or provide an enjoyable experience


The author's thoughts about a topic in informational text


A stated comparison of two things that have some quality in common not using the words like or as


The feeling a text creates within a reader

Narrative text:

A text that tells a story


A short novel


The use of words that sound like the natural noises they name


The initial consonant (i.e., the onset of bag is b and the onset of swim is sw)

Organizational structure/pattern:

The way facts and details are arranged in a text that help the reader understand the text (i.e., sequential order, time order, location order, cause/effect, comparison/contrast, similarities/differences)


A restatement of a text in a reader's own words

Peripheral information:

Information in a text that is not of central importance


A statement that an inanimate object has lifelike characteristics


A reference to an author's beliefs and attitudes


A minimal sound unit of speech, such as single letters

Phonemic awareness:

The ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words


An appearance of reality in a literary text


The action or sequence of events in a story

Point of view:

The perspective from which an author tells a story. The two major points of view are first and third person


A word part added to the beginning of a root or base word to create a new meaning (i.e., regain, incomplete)

Primary source:

An original source, such as someone's diary or journal, a survey or interview, letters, autobiographies, and observations

Print feature:

Type of text feature that relates to print such as font style, color, and size

R-controlled vowel:

The modified sound of a vowel immediately preceding /r/ in the same syllable, such as car, birth, curl

Rhetorical question:

A question that is asked for effect where no answer is expected


Part of a syllable that contains the vowel and all that follows it (i.e., the rime of bag is ag and the rime of swim is im)

Secondary source:

A source that contains information that other people have gathered and interpreted, extended, analyzed, or evaluated, such as newspaper articles, a documentary on television, a website, a science text, and an encyclopedia entry


The place and time when a story occurs

Sight word:

A word that is immediately recognized as a whole word and does not require word analysis for identification


A stated comparison of two things that have some quality in common using the words like or as


A group of two or more lines of poetry


A systematic plan, consciously adapted and monitored, to improve one's performance in learning


The way an author uses language to express ideas including word choice, sentence structure, figurative language, repetition, symbols, dialogue, imagery, etc…


A word part that is added to the end of a root word (i.e., darkness)


A recounting of the important ideas of a text


The use of a person, place, item, etc…that represents an abstract idea


A word that has a meaning identical with, or very similar to, another word in the same language (i.e., right/correct)


The way in which the words and phrases of a sentence are ordered that shows how they relate to each other


To examine, closely study, and evaluate how individual text elements work together as a whole by combining the knowledge of one text element to the analysis of an additional element.

Text feature:

An important feature of literary and informational text that facilitates understanding for the reader (i.e., title, illustrations, diagrams, labels, bulleted lists, captions, etc.)


The author's message about a topic within a text


An author's attitude toward a subject

Trade books:

Books published for a general readership rather than specifically for the classroom

Transition words and phrases:

Words or phrases that signal a change from one idea to another


Uniform Resource Locator is the address of a website


A short, descriptive, literary sketch

Word root:

The main part of a word to which a prefix and/or suffix may be added to make another word, such as actor