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Alphabetic Principle: Recognizing the relationship between speech sounds and letter forms. For example, Pp stands for the /p/ sound.

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): A severe difficulty focusing and maintaining attention. This disorder does not include the symptom of hyperactivity. Other symptoms include disorganization, forgetfulness, as well as difficulty managing focus.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): A severe difficulty focusing and maintaining attention, in addition to various combinations of poor attention, poor impulse control, and hyperactivity.

Auditory Learning: A learning style in which a person's preferred way of learning is through listening. Auditory learners often like to read to themselves out loud, follow oral directions well, enjoy music, are not afraid to speak or ask questions in class, are good at explaining things, and like oral reports. They benefit from participating in discussions, reciting information out loud when studying, having lessons recorded so they may hear them again, repeating facts with their eyes closed, and books on tape. Also see Learning Styles.

Array: A systematic arrangement of objects placed in rows and columns. Examples of arrays include egg cartons, muffin tins, and ice cube trays.

Assessment: Another name for a test. An assessment can also be a system for testing and evaluating students.

Blending: The ability to build words by blending individual sounds together in sequence. For example, /b/ /a/ /t/ = bat.

Common Core Standards: A set of educational standards that describe what students should know and be able to do in English Language Arts and math in each grade from kindergarten through 12th grade.

Composing: Putting together numbers to create other numbers. For example, 200 + 40 + 8 = 248. It is an early math skill that is the basis for higher level math skills.

Consonant Vowel Consonant: Refers to the arrangement of letters in many three-letter words. For example, cat, sit, dog, and bug. This is sometimes shortened to CVC (Consonant Vowel Consonant).

Curriculum: A course of study offered by a publisher or created by an instructor. For example, Starfall has published a curriculum for Kindergarten English Language Arts, Kindergarten Math and Pre-K. These are detailed outlines of all the content that must be covered in those grade levels.

Decodable: Words that can be sounded out. For example, "c-a-t" or "t-a-k-e".

Decoding: The process of reading words in text. When a child reads the words, "The cat is big," it is necessary for the child to understand what the letters and their sounds are and how they blend together to create words.

Decomposing: Breaking a number apart. For example, 7 = 5 + 2, 10 = 4 + 6, 34 = 30 + 4, or 15 = 5 + 5 + 5.

Direct Instruction: Instruction led by the teacher.

Dyslexia: A severe difficulty in understanding or using one or more areas of language, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and spelling.

English Language Arts (ELA): School subjects such as reading, spelling, and writing that relate to using language.

English Language Learner (ELL): Students whose home language is not English and who qualify for extra help. Sometimes this is called EL (English Learner). It is also sometimes referred to as ESL (English as a Second Language).

Emergent Reading: Readers who are beginning to grasp the basic concepts of books and print. They are beginning to recognize and name upper and lowercase letters and are developing many phonological awareness skills such as recognizing phonemes, syllables, and rhyme. Emergent readers are also beginning to learn sound/symbol relationships, starting with consonants and short vowels (consonant vowel consonant or CVC words such as cat), as well as recognizing some high frequency or sight words.

Encode: The process of using the knowledge the child has about letters and sounds to write. For a child to be able to write the sentence, "The cat is big," he or she needs to recall the sounds and the letters in each word and how those letters and sounds work together to form the words.

Estimation: An approximate calculation or an educated guess. For example, "How long might it take you to walk three miles?" or "How many balls might fit into the swimming pool?"

Fable: A short tale that teaches a moral or lesson. It often uses animals or inanimate objects as characters. For example, Aesop's Fables are commonly taught in elementary school.

Fairy Tale: A work of fiction, often geared toward children. It usually includes fanciful characters and magic. For example, The Elf and the Shoemaker is a common fairy tale taught in kindergarten.

Fine Motor Skills: Using small movements of hands, wrists, and fingers, or using the small muscles of the fingers to pick up or hold little objects. Examples of using fine motor skills include using utensils, tweezers, scissors, pencils, paintbrushes and various other items to write, or using items such as play dough to create.

Fluency: Spoken or written with ease. For example, if a child reads fluently, he or she does not struggle recognizing the words in a text.

Folk Tale: A narrative that has been retold and is well known within a specific culture. The Little Red Hen is a folk tale typically taught in kindergarten.

Formative Assessment: A formative assessment is a quick review of a lesson just taught. For example, if you taught a lesson about the sound for "b" you might provide the child with several words (ball, balloon, pink, tall, basket) and ask the child to tell which of these words begin with /b/ (b-sound). This formative assessment would indicate if the child could discriminate the b-sound from other sounds.

Gross Motor Skills: Using large muscles for activities such as crawling, running, jumping and throwing.

High Frequency Words: Words emergent readers see frequently in print and can recognize easily. They are sometimes referred to as sight words. For example, the, would, and said are high frequency words.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): A reauthorization in 1977 of the federal Education For All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. This law guarantees children with exceptional needs a free and appropriate public education and requires that each child's education be determined on an individual basis and designed to meet his or her unique needs in the least restrictive environment. It also establishes procedural rights for parents and children. Please visit for more information regarding the types of services available.

Individualized Education Plan (IEP): A plan developed for a specific child that outlines what that child needs in a specified period of time and what special services need to be provided based on the child's ability. The IEP process is a way for you and the school to talk about your child's needs and to create a plan to meet those needs.

Kinesthetic Learning (KT): A learning style in which a person's preferred way of learning is to carry out physical activities. Kinesthetic learners need to move and they acquire information fastest when involved in hands-on approaches such as using manipulatives, building, and participating in experiments. They often excel in dancing, athletics, and other physical activities.

Learning Styles: The preferred way a student comprehends, processes, absorbs and retains information. For instance, students may understand a process best by following verbal instructions (auditory learning) while others learn best by physically manipulating objects (kinesthetic learning) and still others learn best by using graphic organizers, images and maps (visual learners). Knowing a child's learning preference helps you gain perspective into how to best approach their learning.

Manipulatives: Physical objects children can touch and move (manipulate) to solve math problems. For example, cubes, blocks, counters, or tiles.

Nonfiction: Writing designed to explain, argue, or describe a real event. It is also called informational text. An example of a Starfall nonfiction book is The Day in the Life of a Firefighter.

Number Sense: The ability to use and understand numbers.

One-to-One Correspondence: The ability to match one thing to another, such as moving ahead two spaces on a game board or matching the number 5 to five fingers.

Onsets and Rimes: The first sounds and the last parts of words. For example, the onset and rime of the word is /p/ (onset) and /an/ (rime). Onsets and rimes are important because they can be used to teach children to decode words they don't know by using words they know.

Peace Quilt: A quilt created using squares of material designed by each of the children in a class, using fabric crayons or markers. The quilt hangs in the classroom and is used by individuals who have disagreements. The children spread the peace quilt and sit on it to discuss resolutions. Most times the children become distracted by examining the quilt squares, and their disagreements are peacefully resolved.

Phonics: A method of teaching children to read and pronounce words by teaching them the sounds of letters, letter groups, and syllables. Phonics enable readers to decode written words by sounding them out, or blending the sound-spelling patterns.

Phonological Awareness: The ability to identify, hear, and manipulate the smallest speech sounds without print. It involves using the ears only.

Positional Words: Words that help children relate to where they are in the world and also understand the relationship of objects to each other. They are also known as prepositions. Some common positional words include above, below, inside, outside, on top of, next to, in front of, behind, between, and beside.

Place Value: Place value helps us determine the value of numbers. Our number system contains numerals (or digits) from 0 through 9, but we often need to use numbers greater than 9. We show numbers greater than 9 by using place value, which means that the value of a numeral or digit is determined by its place in the number. For example, in the number 48, the 4 represents four sets of 10 and the 8 represents eight ones.

Reading Comprehension: A process in which readers construct meaning by interacting with text through the combination of prior knowledge and previous experience, information in the text, and the stance the reader takes in relationship to the text. Comprehending what we read is the purpose for reading.

Rebus Style: Texts that incorporate pictures for words the children may not know within the text.

Regroup: The process of creating groups of ones into tens to make adding and subtracting easier. This is another name for carrying and borrowing.

Segmenting: Breaking apart words into individual syllables or sounds. It is the opposite of blending sounds or syllables to form words. For example, the child breaks the word "run" into individual sounds - r, u, and n.

Sight Words: Commonly used words that young children are encouraged to memorize so they may easily recognize them in print rather than rely on strategies to decode them. They are sometimes referred to as high frequency words. Sight words are critical to reading since many of them cannot be easily decoded or sounded out, and they are so frequently used. For example, the, said, and what are sight words.

Skip Counting: Adding a number other than one to get the next number. For example, skip counting by twos means adding two to get the next number (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) and skip counting by fives means adding five to get the next number (5, 10, 15, 20, 25).

Subitize: The ability to know without counting the number of objects represented in a group. For example, when a child rolls a six sided dice, he or she does not have to count the number of dots but automatically recognizes the number of dots.

Ten Frame: ten frame A hands-on pictorial model that teaches number sense and mental math. It is comprised of 10 empty boxes. Children can use manipulatives or markers to fill those boxes. Being able to understand that numbers are composed of tens and ones is important in higher level math skills.

Visual Text: Drawings or photographs in a story. Children consider visual text and draw conclusions based on what they see. They use this information to assist in understanding the written text.

Visual Learning: A learning style in which a person's preferred way of learning is by reading or seeing pictures, charts, maps, and graphs. They remember by sight and can picture what they are learning. They may experience difficulty with oral directions and become distracted by sound. Visual learners may enjoy using flashcards, draw pictures to explain concepts, and try to visualize things they hear or are read to them.

Vocabulary Words: Words children encounter in their daily language or the stories they listen to or read. Examples of vocabulary words include cozy, uncomfortable, or healthy.

Word Family: Groups of words that share a common spelling pattern in the middle and end, usually causing them to rhyme. For example, pat, hat, and rat.

Word Recognition: The ability to see and understand a word quickly without having to sound it out.