Mrs. Perrotti's Resources

Literacy Terms Defined

Discussing your child's struggle to learn to read can be difficult... especially when teachers and interventionists are using terms that you are not familiar with! On this page, find commonly used terms, defined!

accuracy– The ability to read the word correctly the first time. Word accuracy is important for fluency and comprehension.

decode– The ability to look at letters and figure out the “code” of the letters so that it makes a word.

emergent reader– A child who has learned the basics, like letters and their sounds and is ready to begin the early stages of reading.

fluency– Fluency includes reading rate (or speed/word automaticity), word accuracy, and prosody. Being able to read with fluency has a direct impact on comprehension!

grapheme- individual written letters


phoneme– The smallest sounds (not necessarily letters) in a word. For example, the word cat has three phonemes: /k/-/a/-/t/. But, sheep also has three phonemes /sh/-/ee/-/p/. Keep in mind you are only counting sounds, not letters.

phoneme blending– The ability to take the small sounds (phonemes) in a word and blend them together to make a word.

phoneme segmentation– the ability to take the entire word and break it into separate phonemes (or small sounds).

phonemic awareness– The ability to hear the small sounds (or phonemes) in a word. Phonemic awareness plays a HUGE role in reading and writing!

phonics– Understanding the relationship betweenwritten letters (graphemes) and the sound(s) (phonemes) that they make


multi-sensory teaching– Using as many of the five senses to teach a concept. The goal is to help learning become meaningful for that particular student and that the learner will connect with the literacy skill or text in a meaningful way.

reading level– Kids need to be able to read the words AND comprehend the text in order for you to say that they are indeed reading on a particular level. For example, if Suzy can read the words on a 4th grade level, but cannot remember what she has read (this is a re-occurring thing), I would not say that Suzy is reading on a 4th grade level. Reading equals thinking and if the child isn’t getting any meaning from the text, she is simply stating the words. Head to the homepage for a link to have reading levels explained.

sight words– A sight word is any word that a child has learned by sight. Most sight words do not follow the patterns or rules that we learn in class. While the most common sight words can be found in Fry’s list as well as the Dolch word list, a child’s name could also be considered a sight word for that particular child. In our class, we call sight words "RED WORDS."


reading websitesFind recommended websites below! Sites are seperated by skill category.

Phonemic awareness:




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