Chapter 04

For each term below, first note how you would define the term. Then, click on the arrow to reveal the book’s definition.

Academic Language

The language that teachers and students use for imparting information, acquiring new knowledge and skills, describing abstract ideas, and developing content area and conceptual understanding.


Bound morphemes that change the meaning or function of a root or stem to which they are attached, as the prefix ad- and the suffix -ing in adjoining.

Alphabetic Principle

The principle that there is a one-to-one correspondence between phonemes (or sounds) and graphemes (or letters); letters represent sounds.

Basic Words

Commonplace words that are the building blocks of everyday language.

Book Talk

Brief teaser that teacher presents to interest students in a particular book.

Clarifying Table

A graphic organizer used to help children understand the meaning of complex terms.

Compound Words

A word composed of two separate words that have meaning on their own, such as baseball and lipstick.

Derivational Relations Stage

A spelling stage characterized by the ability to recognize and spell bases and roots correctly. Correlates to an advanced stage of reading and writing.

Directive Context

Text that provides helpful clues for figuring out word meanings.


The study of the history of words.

General-Utility Words

More complex words that are used often by proficient readers and speakers but tend not to be specific to any particular subject.

Interactive Oral Reading

A method for teaching vocabulary in which adults read aloud to learners, stopping on occasion to discuss individual words.

Letter Name/Alphabetic Stage

Spelling characterized by literally matching letters to sounds in a linear sound-by-sound fashion.

Listening Vocabulary

The words a person is able to understand aurally; also known as receptive vocabulary.

Low-Utility Words

Less frequently encountered words that are usually found in particular content areas.

Meaning Vocabulary

That body of words the meaning of which one understands and can use.


The aspects of language structure related to the ways words are formed from prefixes, roots, and suffixes (e.g., “re-heat-ing”) and are related to each other.

Nondirective Contexts

Text that does not provide helpful context clues for determining a word’s meaning.


All the sounds of a word that come before the first vowel.

Phonemic Awareness

The ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds in spoken words.


Instruction in the association of speech sounds with printed symbols.


Words that can have different meanings depending on the context in which they are used.

Portmanteau Word

Word created from a combination of two existing words (e.g., motel = motor + hotel).

Reading Vocabulary

The words a person is able to understand in written form; part of receptive vocabulary.


The first vowel in a word and all the sounds that follow.


Base words.

Semantic Feature Analysis

An instructional activity in which students select a group of related words and then create a chart to classify them according to distinguishing characteristics.

Structural Analysis

Examination of words for meaningful parts (affixes, contractions, endings, compound words).

Syllables and Affixes Stage

Spelling stage characterized by considering the conventions of preserving pattern-to-sound relationships at the place where syllables meet.

Transfer Words

Words containing elements that are also found in many other words.

Transitional Reader

A reader who is aware of letter pattern units, or word families, and frequently occurring rimes.


The words that a person knows and uses.

Word Consciousness

Students’ awareness of new words and their desire to learn them and then to use them when speaking and writing.

Word Study

Analyzing words to discover the regularities, patterns, and rules of English orthography needed to read and spell.