Terms used by researchers when discussing literacy
- the process of translating writing into words that can be spoken aloud; researchers may also use the term to refer to a child’s accuracy in reading words aloud (see definition of reading accuracy below)
- reading accuracy
- the accuracy of reading is often used to assess children’s decoding abilities; this usually involves seeing how well a child can translate written words into spoken words
- this term is used in different ways by different authors, sometimes just to refer to the process of decoding, and sometimes to refer to both decoding and reading comprehension
- reading comprehension
- the understanding of written text
- phonological ability
- the ability to identify the speech sounds that make up a word
- nonword reading
- the ability to read a word that is not present in the child’s language (e.g. ‘lam’); this gives a good indication of children’s ability to decode letters into sounds
- decoding, reading comprehension and spelling
- rhyme skills
- the ability to identify the ending of words; often children are asked which one of three words has a different ending (e.g. cat, bat, sun)
- alliteration skills
- the ability to identify the beginning sound of a word; often children are asked which one of three words has a different beginning sound.
Note: both rhyme and alliteration skills are aspects of phonological awareness.
Further reading and references
Barrett, M. (ed.) (1999) The Development of Language Hove: Psychology Press
Bishop, D. (1997) Uncommon Understanding Hove: Psychology Press
Dockrell, J. and Messer, D. J. (1999) Language Disabilities in Children London: Cassell
Messer, D. (1999) The development of communication and language In Messer, D. and Millar, S. (eds) Exploring Developmental Psychology London: Arnold
Nicolson, R. (1999) Reading skill and dyslexia In Messer, D. and Millar, S. (eds) Exploring Developmental Psychology London: Arnold
Snowling, M. (2000) Dyslexia Oxford: Blackwell.