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Academic Language

The formal language common in books and at school that students need to understand and communicate in academic disciplines.


The ability to read words correctly.

Alphabet Knowledge

The ability to name letters and know their sounds.

Alphabetic Principle

The idea that letters and groups of letters match individual sounds in words.

Auditory Perception

The ability to understand what you hear.

Auditory Processing

The ability to quickly and correctly hear a sound, like in words, and make sense of it.


The ability to read a word correctly and instantly.


A characteristic of some tests that causes students to receive higher or lower scores for reasons other than the trait being measured. A test is not biased simply because two or more groups receive, on average, different scores. A test is biased if members of different groups receive different scores even though they are equal in the trait being measured.


Reading words from left to right by linking each letter or group of letters to their sounds.

Classification Accuracy

How well a measure detects a condition or risk for a condition. Classification accuracy is often discussed in terms of true positives, false positives, true negatives, and false negatives.

Cognitive Processing

Brain-based activities that influence learning, including attention, memory and reasoning.

Connected Text

A group of sentences that relate to one another.

Decodable Words

Words that sound the way they are spelled or can be sounded out because they have letter-sound relationships already learned.


Using your knowledge of letter-sound relationships to sound out words.


Identification of a disorder determined by a medical or educational professional.


A neurologically based specific learning disability in math, such as difficulty making sense of and working with numbers.


A neurologically based specific learning disability in writing, such as difficulty with spelling, handwriting, or recording your ideas.


A brain-based learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read.

Eligibility Category or Classification

One or more of the categories identified in IDEA to qualify a child for special education services.


An intervention, tool, or practice that meets one of the four evidence levels in the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by ESSA (strong, moderate, promising, or demonstrates a rationale).

Executive Functioning

Learning processes like the ability to plan, organize, problem-solve, sustain attention, and manage tasks and schedules.

Explicit Instruction

Teaching that is direct and step-by-step, including explaining and showing how to do something.


The ability to read "like you talk." To change your voice and pause when reading to emphasize the meaning of the story.

Expressive Language

Language that you use to communicate.


The ability to read words, phrases, sentences, and stories correctly, with enough speed, and expression.


The set of rules that explain how words are used and put together in a language.


A printed letter or group of letters that represent a sound in a syllable or word.

High Frequency Words

Words that appear in print most often.


A process used to determine whether a child has a disability.

Individualized Educational Program

A written learning plan for special education services that is designed to meet the specific learning needs of a child.


Additional small group or individualized instruction that is tailored to children's needs so they can make progress and be on track to meet grade level learning goals.

Irregular Words

Words that are hard to sound out because the letters and sounds do not match up (for example, said).

Language Processing

The ability to quickly and correctly match meaning to sound groups that form words, sentences and stories.

Listening Comprehension

The ability to understand what others read and say to you.


The ability to read and write well.

Literacy Rich Environment

A place that encourages reading and writing, such as listening to stories read aloud, reading together, and talking about ideas.


The knowledge of word parts that have meaning, such as affixes, root, and base words.

Multi-Tiered System Of Support

A schoolwide framework that supports students who are struggling with reading, math, or social and emotional issues through different levels of intensity.

Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

A brain-based disorder that makes it hard to understand communication like body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.

Oral Language

The way you communicate with others through speaking and listening.


The knowledge that the written language is connected to oral language, including how to spell words.


The smallest sound part in spoken language, like /c/ in "cat".

Phonemic Awareness

The ability to identify and play with individual sounds in spoken words.


Reading instruction on understanding how letters and groups of letters link to sounds to form letter-sound relationships and spelling patterns.

Phonological Awareness

The ability to recognize that spoken words are made up of individual sound parts.

Phonological Memory

The ability to store and recall the sounds of speech in short term memory. It is distinct from phonological awareness, which only refers to the ability to identify sounds.

Phonological Processing

The ability to quickly and correctly hear, store, recall, and make different speech sounds.


How we use language to communicate.

Print Awareness

The understanding that what is read is linked to the words on the page, rather than to the pictures.

Rapid Automatized Naming (RAN)

The ability to quickly read aloud the names of familiar objects (e.g., colors).

Reading Comprehension

The ability to understand what you are reading.

Receptive Language

Language that you understand.


The consistency of a set of scores that are designed to measure the same thing. Reliability is a statistical property of scores that must be demonstrated rather than assumed.

Sample Representativeness

How well a sample in a scientific study corresponds to the population in which the study’s findings will be applied. For instance, nationally representative samples of students are often desirable when research findings will be applied nationally.


Teaching that provides temporary instructional support, like an example or feedback, during initial learning of a concept or skill.


Short processes to find students who need help in reading, writing, spelling, or math.


The ability to think about what you are learning and understanding while reading, including using a strategy when you are confused by a word or idea.


The part of language that has to do with the meaning of words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs.

Specific Learning Disability

A disorder that makes it hard to understand or use language, such as difficulty with listening, thinking, speaking, reading, writing, spelling or calculating math.

Speech And Language Impairment

A condition that causes difficulty with communication, such as speech and understanding language.


The part of language that has to do with the grammatical forms and structure of sentences.

Systematic Instruction

Teaching that has a carefully planned sequence, including building from easier to more difficult tasks and breaking down harder skills into smaller parts.


How well something measures what it's supposed to measure. The reliability and validity of scores from assessments are two concepts that are closely knit together and feed into each other.

Visual Acuity

The ability to see clearly.

Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit

A disorder that makes it hard to draw or copy or understand information that you see.


Knowing what words mean and how to say and use them correctly.

Written Language

A form of communication that involves both reading and writing.