Academic language is the language used most commonly for acquiring, interpreting, and using information in curriculum and academic contexts. It is relatively complex in both vocabulary and structure compared to conversational language.
The strategy of using a familiar sound or spelling pattern in a word as a source of information to help with reading or writing a new word.
Often referred to by teachers as one type of "word family". Groupings of letters that readers and writers recognise as "belonging together", for example "-unk".
Classroom talk, involving focused speaking and listening, is an important way for students to become familiar with different sounds of English and the specific vocabulary of the classroom. For information about how oral language contributes to literacy teaching and learning, see:
- Learning through Talk: Oral Language in Years 1 to 3, pages 70–71
- Oral language in Exploring Language
- Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4, pages 19 and 32–37
- Sound Sense, page 4.
A group of consonants which have no intervening vowel in English, for example, "splits" has "spl" and "ts" as consonant clusters.
Two successive letters that represent a single sound. Common consonant diagraphs in English include "ch" as in "chips", "ng" as in "king", "ph" as in "phone", "sh" as in "shoe", "th" (voiceless) as in "thing" and "th" (voiced) as in "the", and "wh" as in "wheel".
Common vowel diagraphs in English include "ai" as in "rain", "ay" as in "day", "ea" as in "teach", "ea" as in "bread", "ea" as in "break", "ee" as in "free", "ei" as in "eight", "ey" as in "key", "ie" as in "piece", "oa" as in "road", "oo" as in "book", "oo" as in "room", "ow" as in "slow", and "ue" as in "true".
The letter or letters that represent sounds. For example, the letter B represents the "b" in bear. The diagraph "ch" can represent the "ch" sound in "chips" or the "k" sound in "chemist", or the "sh" sound in "chic".
Morphology is the study of the forms or structure of words and how they are constructed from units that have some kind of independent meaning. A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in a word, for example, "-ing". Knowledge of morphology contributes to learning the common rules and conventions that govern how English words are written, such as knowing about prefixes and suffixes, plurals, or the final "e" in a word.
For example below – "happy", "un", and "ness" are all morphemes:
|happy||1 morpheme (unbound)||happy = an emotion|
|unhappy||2 morphemes - 1 unbound/ 1 bound||un = not||happy = an emotion|
|unhappiness||3 morphemes - 1 unbound/ 2 bound||un = not||happy = an emotion||ness = a state of being|
(Happy comes from the middle English word "hap" meaning lucky. In modern English we use the word "happy" as one morpheme)
Useful information can be found in these resources:
- Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4, pages 144–145
- Learning through Talk: Oral Language in Years 1 to 3, pages 74–75
- Exploring Language
- Switch on to Spelling, Joy Allcock, pages 30–32
- Teaching Reading Comprehension, Alison Davis, chapters 2 and 3.
Orthography is knowledge about the conventional spelling system of a language – how letters combine to represent sounds and form words. To help you build your students’ knowledge of spelling patterns, see:
- Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4, pages 144–148
- Switch on to Spelling, Joy Allcock, pages 24–29
A single unit of speech sounds which, when combined with other sounds, form a meaningful unit. There are approximately 44 phonemes in English.
The ability to hear, differentiate, and attend to the individual sounds within words; a phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a spoken word. For example, "frog" has four sounds as does the word "box".
The relationship between spoken sounds and the letters that represent them; the correspondence between sounds (phonemes) and symbols (letters) in an alphabetic writing system.
A broad term referring to the ability to focus on the sounds of speech as distinct from its meaning, focusing on intonational rhythm, rhyme, and sounds.
A prefix is a morpheme that is added at the front of a word and changes its meaning, for example, undoes and return.
The part of a one-syllable word that follows the onset (the initial sound) as in 'th-at'. There are 30+ dependable rimes.
The ability to call on the visual image of a written word (sight word), or part of one, in order to read or write it accurately. A visual memory of many words enables students to use the strategy of analogy, that is, to use their knowledge of how sounds in familiar words are written to help them read or write a new word. Find out more in:
- Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4, page 35
- Switch on to Spelling, Joy Allcock, pages 33–35.
A suffix is a morphem that is added at the end of a word and changes its meaning or function, for example, playful and farmer.
The rules and conventions (for a specific language) about the order of words in sentences – the ways the words in a language can be combined in sentences.
The ability to call on the visual image of a written word, or part of one, in order to read or write it accurately.