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Appendix A: Glossary

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Tools or instructional strategies that provide students who have disabilities with equal access to instruction.

alphabetic principle

The representation of a phoneme (speech sound) by a graphic symbol, such as a letter or letters.

assistive technology

Any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capacities of a child with a disability.


The immediate recognition of words while reading.



When two or more disorders co-occur more often than we would expect by chance.

connected text

Words that are linked — as in sentences, phrases or paragraphs — to form meaning.



The process of using letter-sound correspondences to “sound out” words.


A specific learning disability in the area of mathematics.


A specific learning disability in the area of written language and writing.


A specific learning disability in the area of reading. (See Chapter 2: What is Dyslexia? for the formal definition.)



To change a spoken word into writing, typically referred to spelling.


The use of research and scientific studies as a base for determining the best practices in teaching students with dyslexia.

explicit instruction

Instruction that is direct, structured, and systematic in its approach and includes both instructional design and delivery procedures. 



The ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with proper expression and comprehension.


intensive instruction

Intervention that is designed and delivered to select students with significant and ongoing learning in order to improve learning outcomes; sometimes referred to as Tier III instruction.

interim assessment

An interim assessment is used to evaluate where students are in their learning progress and determine whether they are on track with expectations.



Changes to assignments, tasks, and tests that alter content and/or expectations.  (See Chapter 4: School-Based Supports for Students with Dyslexia for the formal definition.)


The smallest meaningful linguistic unit in a word.


The study of the structure and forms of words, including derivation, inflection and compounding.

multi-tier system of support (MTSS)

A framework used to provide increasing levels of support to struggling students.


neural pathway

The connections in the brain that enable signals to be sent from one region of the nervous system to another. 


oral language

Spoken language including speaking and listening


The writing (spelling) system of a language.



The study and use of the sound-letter correspondences and syllable patterns; a teaching method that stresses letter-sound relationships in reading and spelling.


The smallest unit of sound (i.e., a single speech sound) that conveys a distinction in meaning.

phonological awareness 

Perception of various levels of the speech-sounds system, such as syllables, accent patterns, rime, and phonemes.

phonemic awareness

Awareness of, and the ability to manipulate, the individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words.



The meaning of a word, a phrase, a sentence or text.

specific learning disability (SLD)

A neurobiological-based processing disorder leading to difficulties in acquiring knowledge and skills to the level expected of those of the same age and ability.  (See Chapter 8: Dyslexia and Legislation for the formal definition.)


Encoding; the reciprocal skill of decoding; hearing the individual speech sounds and then writing the letter or letters that represent the sound.

structured literacy

An approach to teaching students the structure of the English language using direct and explicit instruction in a systematic and cumulative manner, including diagnostic teaching of the essential components of language and reading.


A word part that contains a vowel sound in spoken language.


The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences. 


targeted instruction

Intervention that is designed and delivered to select students in a targeted manner to ameliorate or eliminate reading difficulties as soon as they are identified; sometimes referred to as Tier II instruction.

text comprehension  

The ability to make meaning from print.


universal instruction

Instruction that is provided to all students in a class, usually guided by a comprehensive literacy program; sometimes referred to as core instruction or Tier I instruction.

universal screening

The preventative process of regularly checking every student’s performance periodically during a school year in order to identify students at risk for reading difficulties.



The body of words and their meanings that students must understand in order to comprehend spoken and written language.


written expression

A highly complex, cognitive, self-directed process, the components of which are planning, drafting, revising, editing, evaluating, and publishing.