10 Reading Terms to Know Before Your Child’s Next Teacher or IEP Meeting!

Carefully check your child’s reading program during the annual review or sooner if you have any concerns. If reading is an issue, knowing these terms will facilitate your ability to support your child’s learning.

Reading skills can be broken up into various components. You may hear the terms decoding, sight words, fluency, and comprehension. This article will help you better understand those terms and more!

1.Decoding refers to the ability to connect the visual letter or group of letters with a sound (e.g. knowing the sound for the letter “t” or the group of letters “tion”) and then blend those sounds to form a word.

2. Sight words are words  can not be sounded out given the child’s present level of reading and must be learned as a whole (e.g. “the” is learned by saying t-h-e and pairing this with the visual of the word. No letters are sounded out)

3. Fry and Dolch word lists: You may hear these names in relation to sight words.Students in kindergarten and up are given lists of sight words to learn. The lists are generally either the Fry or the Dolch lists.  Each school district chooses which list they will follow.

4. Both lists contain high frequency words, or words that can be found most frequently in English. The word lists are broken up into grade levels , with your child expected to master the words at their grade level each year. Dolch has a total of 220 words, from kindergarten to third grade plus a possible extra 95 nouns to learn. Fry has a total of 1,000 words, with levels through fifth grade. Links for both lists plus flashcards can be found on my Resources page.

5. Fluency is an important aspect of reading success. Fluency is defined as the ability to read accurately and with good speed. Using proper expression is also considered an aspect of fluency. Children who are unable to read fluently are often too busy using their efforts decode words and may have difficulty with comprehension.

6. Comprehension refers to how well your child understands the material on a literal level (e.g.who is the main character?) , but, more importantly how the child can read between the lines looking for symbolism, themes, and the ability to apply the story to their own lives (e.g. when in your life have you felt as the character did?).

7. Your child’s reading level will be defined by an assessment, typically either DRA (or Developmental Reading Assessment) or Fountas and Pinnell. DRA levels are in numbers while Fountas and Pinnell levels are given in letters. There is a correlation between each. For example, a DRA level of 14 corresponds to a Fountas and Pinnell level of H. These are first grade levels. Ask your child about the level in advance. This would be the level of books your child is choosing in the classroom. Is it at or below grade level? If below, how far below?

8. Multisensory reading: With which issue(s) does your child need extra support? Ask. Then ask which reading programs are being utilized to support your child. Would your child learn best with a reading approach that includes multi-sensory methods? Multisensory reading involves using many senses to learn a concept. As an example, a child might hear and repeat the sound /d/ while tracing the letter on a textured board or skywriting the letter using large movements. Learning becomes more meaningful for the child as more connections are made to the brain.

9. This is an advanced form of learning phonics, which is simply defined as a relationship between the written letter and the sound(s) they make (e.g. I see d and I say /d/).

10. The educators may bring up the term, Dyslexia. Dyslexia is a type of learning disability in which children have difficulty processing letters and sounds. There are many possible components to this learning disability that will make it difficult for the child to read accurately and fluently. Keep in mind that simply because your child is reading below level, it does not automatically mean the child is dyslexic. The child must be formally tested for an accurate diagnosis to be made.

Consider how much time is spent in each area of need each day per week?

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