Man reading

Listed below are important pre-literacy terms that are used on this website and in education circles. This glossary may come in handy as you work with your child to develop and enhance his or her pre-reading skills. An understanding of these terms may also help facilitate dialogue with your child’s pediatrician, therapy providers and early childhood educators. As your child ages toward more formal academic instruction in kindergarten, you will begin to hear these terms more often.

Alliteration: The repetition of beginning sound in neighboring words (examples: Brown Bear, Brown Bear or Willard Wooten walked along the wooden pathway)

Cognitive skills: Skills that enhance the ability to think and reason

Compound word blending: Putting words together to make a new word (example: dog and house make doghouse)

Elision: Omitting a sound or sounds from a word and then saying what is left (example: pineapple without pine is apple)

Environmental print: Recognizable print found in everyday life (examples: stop signs, McDonald’s, Target, cereal boxes)

Literacy: The ability to read and write

Motor skills: The coordination of muscle and nerve activity to produce movement

Onset and rime: Onset is the initial sound in a word; rime is the remaining part of the world (example: moon – onset is /m/, rime is /oon/)

Phonemic awareness: The ability to detect and manipulate speech sounds in words (example: cat has three phonemes /c//a//t/)

Print awareness: The earliest understanding that written language carries meaning

Rhyme: Identical sounds occurring in two or more words, from the last vowel to the end of the word (examples: cat/hat, bee/tree)

Syllables: Units of sound that make up a word (example: di-no-saur)

Syllable blending: Putting syllables together to make a word