The following terms are used in the preceding chapters or are closely related to concepts presented there.
aesthetic Pertaining to judgments of beauty or formal appropriateness, originality, or interest. Traditionally, the “aesthetic dimensions” of literary response have been associated with the reflective contemplation of the literary text as an artistic work in itself, apart from social and historical contexts. However, the standards presented here are founded on the assumption that an aesthetic experience results from a reading event that mutually involves and is influenced by the reader and the text in a particular context. The reader brings to the text internalized language and life experiences, which in the encounter with the text create a new experience. Thus interpretation of a literary work depends not only on the text itself, but also on the reader's ideas and feelings evoked during engagement with the text.
analysis The process or result of identifying the parts of a whole and their relationships to one another.
appreciation Thoughtful awareness of value; personal understanding and respect for; judgments made with heightened perception and understanding. Literary appreciation goes beyond simple comprehension to involve personal or moral judgment, artistic awareness, and emotional investment in a work or performance.
assessment standards 1. Statements setting forth guidelines for evaluating student work, as in the Standards for the Assessment of Reading and Writing (see Appendix E). 2. Measures of student performance.
audience The collection of intended readers, listeners, or viewers for a particular work or performance. An audience may be physically present (in the case of a dramatic performance or speech) or separated by time and distance (in the case of written texts).
authentic Something that is meaningful because it reflects or engages the real world. An authentic task asks students to do something they might really have to do in the course of their lives, or to apply certain knowledge or skills to situations they might really encounter.
canon The body of literary or other artistic works that a given culture defines as important at a given time; that is, works perceived by that culture to express significant values and to exemplify artistic excellence.
CD-ROM Compact disc with read-only memory. A computer add-on used in place of a floppy disk and disk drive because it has a much larger storage capacity for text, graphics, sound, and computer programs.
classic texts Literary or other works (e.g., films, speeches) that have been canonized, either continuously or intermittently, over a period of time beyond that of their initial publication and reception.
cognitive process Process by which readers, writers, and viewers actively construct meaning as they engage with texts by organizing, selecting, and connecting information; making inferences; and performing acts of interpretation.
communication The meaningful exchange of ideas or information between a speaker and a listener (or a reader and a writer, etc.). Communication may be primarily functional (“Pass me the salt”), primarily expressive (“To be, or not to be”), or some combination of the two. Throughout these standards, communication is understood as an interactive process, in which both speaker and listener participate in the construction of meaning.
comprehension The construction of the meaning of a written, spoken, or visual communication through a reciprocal interchange of ideas between the receiver and the composer; comprehension occurs within and is influenced by the immediate context.
constructing meaning The process by which readers (meant here in the term's broadest sense) create meaning for the texts they read, view, or listen to. These meanings are built from the connections the reader makes between the new material and his or her prior knowledge, the ways the reader structures meaning, and decisions the reader makes about what is important or relevant.
contemporary texts Literary or other works that have been written in recent years; they frequently address issues and events of current concern to a given community but may also be broader in scope or retrospective in content.
content One of three dimensions in our conceptual model for the English language arts standards, content refers to what students should learn in the English language arts. The content dimension addresses what students should know and be able to do with respect to the English language arts. This includes knowledge of spoken, visual, and written texts and of the processes involved in creating, critiquing, and interpreting such texts.
content standards Statements of what students should know and be able to do in a given discipline, here the English language arts.
context 1. The sounds, words, or phrases adjacent to a spoken or written language unit; linguistic environment. 2. The social or cultural situation in which a spoken or written message occurs.
convention 1. An accepted practice in a spoken or written language. 2. An accepted way of creating an effect, as the soliloquy in drama, the flashback in fiction.
critical reading Reading a text in such a way as to question assumptions, explore perspectives, and critique underlying social and political values or stances. Critical reading is resistant, active, and focused on both the text and the world. Critical readers bring a range of experiences to texts, and, in turn, use texts to develop critical perspectives on personal and social experience.
critical thinking The thought processes characteristic of creativity, criticism, and logic in literature, the arts, science, and other disciplines; divergent thinking.
cues Various sources of information used by readers to construct meaning. The language cueing systems include the graphophonic (also referred to as graphophonemic) system—the relationships between oral and written language (phonics); the syntactic system—the relationship among linguistic units such as prefixes, suffixes, words, phrases, and clauses (grammar); and the semantic system—the meaning system of language. Reading strategies and language cueing systems are also influenced by pragmatics—the knowledge readers have about the ways in which language is understood by others in their culture.
curriculum 1. The actual opportunities for learning provided at a particular place and time. 2. The total program of formal studies offered by a school. 3. All the educational experiences planned for and provided by a school. 4. A particular part of the program of studies of a school, as the English curriculum, the reading curriculum.
decode 1. To analyze spoken or graphic symbols of a familiar language to ascertain their intended meaning. 2. To change communication signals into messages, as to decode body language.
development One dimension of our conceptual model, development refers to how students grow as language users. The development dimension focuses on the ways in which learners develop competencies in the language arts.
dialect A social or regional variety of a particular language with phonological, grammatical, and lexical patterns that distinguish it from other varieties.
diversity The multitude of differing viewpoints and perspectives—based at least in part on gender, race, culture, ethnicity, or religion—in the United States and the world.
emergent literacy Development of the association of print with meaning that begins early in a child's life and continues until the child reaches the stage of conventional reading and writing.
ethnicity Affiliation with any of the large groups of people commonly classified by language, race, national or geographic origin, culture, or religion.
evaluation 1. The use of critical reading and critical thinking to judge and assign meaning or importance to a particular experience or event. 2. The process used by teachers and students to appraise and judge achievement, growth, product, and process or changes in these, frequently through the use of formal and informal tests and techniques.
expressive text Written, spoken, or visual creation that reveals or explores the author's thoughts, feelings, and observations—for example, in questions, comments, journal entries, logs, or freewriting.
fiction Imaginative literary, oral, or visual works representing invented, rather than actual, persons, places, and events. Widely recognized genres of fiction include mystery, romance, and adventure.
figurative language Any language, whether in a literary or a nonliterary text, using figures of speech such as metaphor or hyperbole to create multiple or intensified meanings.
fluency The clear, rapid, and easy expression of ideas in writing or speaking; movements that flow smoothly, easily, and readily.
genre A category used to classify literary and other works, usually by form, technique, or content. Categories of fiction such as mystery, science fiction, romance, or adventure are considered genres.
grammar The means by which the different components of language can be put together in groups of sounds and written or visual symbols so that ideas, feelings, and images can be communicated; what one knows about the structure and use of one's own language that leads to its creative and communicative use.
graphophonic/graphophonemic One of three cueing systems readers use to construct texts; the relationships between oral and written language (phonics).
home language The language or languages learned and used by children in their homes and communities both before and after their entry into school. The term may refer both to national languages and to varieties of English and other languages.
image Note: Image is a general term with many shades of meaning but usually implies a physical or mental resemblance. An image may be concrete or abstract. It may be based on experience or imagination. It may refer to sensory experiences, especially visual ones, or to any physical or ideational representation of such experiences. 1. A mental representation of something, usually incomplete; impression. 2. A description in speech or writing. 3. A figure of speech, especially a simile or metaphor.
imagery 1. The process or result of forming mental images while reading or listening to a story, viewing a film, etc. 2. The use of language to create sensory impressions, as the imagery of the phrase “such sweet sorrow.” 3. Collectively, the figurative language in a work. 4. The study of image patterns in literature for clues to the text's deeper meaning.
inquiry A mode of research driven by the learner's desire to look deeply into a question or an idea that interests him or her.
integrated language arts A curricular organization in which students study and use the language components of speaking, listening, reading, and writing as a mutually reinforcing process that evolves through a unified core of concepts and activities.
interpretation 1. The process of inferring beyond the literal meaning of a communication. 2. The analysis of the meaning of a communication. Note: In this context, interpretation involves both grammatical and semantic analysis and the interplay between them. 3. A performance, usually artistic, to which the performer gives distinctive meaning.
language diversity Variety in both national languages and dialects or codes within national languages. Our understanding of language diversity in this document recognizes the historical, cultural, religious, and personal meanings that these different languages and forms of language carry within them.
linguistic patterns The characteristics of syntax, diction, vocabulary, or degrees of elaboration that may vary according to social and cultural context.
linguistics 1. The study of the nature and structure of language and languages. 2. The study of the nature of language communication.
listening Attending to communication by any means; includes listening to vocal speech, watching signing, or using communication aids.
literacy The standards outlined in this document reflect a contemporary view of literacy that is both broader and more demanding than traditional definitions. Until quite recently, literacy was generally defined, in a very limited way, as the ability to read or write one's own name. A much more ambitious definition of literacy today includes the capacity to accomplish a wide range of reading, writing, speaking, and other language tasks associated with everyday life.
literacy community A group of language users, whether within the classroom or outside, who share a common language and a common set of concerns. Students in the classroom work together as a literacy community to read, listen to, and view their classmates' and others' works, to articulate and negotiate meanings, and to foster one another's development.
literary analysis The careful, detailed reading and study of a literary work by a critic, student, or scholar.
literature Imaginative writings in prose or verse, as poems, plays, novels, and short stories. Although in its modern usage literature is distinguished from historical writing, and increasingly from such popular forms as romance or mystery fiction, in this document we use a broad definition of literature that includes often excluded forms such as essays, journals, and autobiographies.
media The various physical means through which information may be communicated or aesthetic forms created, for example, newspapers, film, books, computer software, painting.
metaphor A figure of speech in which the denotative word or phrase (e.g., train) is replaced by another word or phrase which, though not literally true, suggests a likeness or analogy (e.g., iron horse). In addition to being a significant element of literary expression, metaphor is also a constituent of many other kinds of language.
miscues Unexpected responses cued by readers' knowledge of their language and concepts of the world. Miscues are not random errors, but result from attempts by readers to construct meaning as they engage with texts.
moral Referring to the rules of behavior, or of right and wrong, that are accepted within a certain social group, rules that may be based on religious, ethical, or philosophical systems of belief.
multimedia Incorporating or making use of more than one medium. For example, a multimedia research project might include a written report, photographs, computer-generated charts, and audiotaped interviews.
narrative Text in any form (print, oral, or visual) that recounts events or tells a story.
National Academy of Education Association founded at Stanford University in 1965 as a forum for educational research and discussion. Publisher of The Nation's Report Card: Improving the Assessment of Student Achievement.
nonprint text Any text that creates meaning through sound or images or both, such as photographs, drawings, collages, films, videos, computer graphics, speeches, oral poems and tales, and songs.
opportunity-to-learn standards Statements of the basic conditions necessary for students to be able to achieve content or performance standards. These may include statements concerning learning environment, equity, and access to resources.
outcome Knowledge, skills, and understandings students gain as a result of education and experience.
performance-based assessment The measurement of educational achievement by tasks that are similar or identical to those that are required in the instructional environment, as in performance assessment tasks, exhibitions, or projects, or in work that is assembled over time into portfolio collections.
performance standards Statements that attempt to specify the quality of student performance at various levels of competency in the subject matter set out in the content standards.
phonics Generally used to refer to the system of sound-letter relationships used in reading and writing. Phonics begins with the understanding that each letter (or grapheme) of the English alphabet stands for one or more sounds (or phonemes).
print awareness In emergent literacy, a learner's growing awareness of print as a system of meaning, distinct from speech and visual modes of representation.
print text Any text that creates meaning through writing, such as books, stories, reports, essays, poems, play scripts, notes, and letters. Print texts may also be produced and circulated electronically.
prior knowledge Knowledge that stems from previous experience. Note: Prior knowledge is a key component of schema theories of reading comprehension in spite of the redundancy inherent in the term.
punctuation An orthographic system that separates linguistic units, clarifies meaning, and can be used by writers and readers to give speech characteristics to written material.
purpose One dimension of our conceptual model for the English language arts standards, purpose refers to why students use the language arts. In particular, we recommend a focus in English language arts education on four purposes of language use: for obtaining and communicating information, for literary response and expression, for learning and reflection, and for problem solving and application.
reading The complex, recursive process through which we make meaning from texts, using semantics; syntax; visual, aural, and tactile cues; context; and prior knowledge. Note: In Standards for the English Language Arts, reading refers to listening and viewing in addition to print-oriented reading. Learners with visual or other impairments may read by means of, for example, braillers, sign language, magnification devices, and closed-captioned television.
recode To change a message into symbols, as recoding oral language into writing, or recoding an idea into words.
recursive Characterized by moving back and forth through a document in either reading it or creating it, as new ideas are developed or problems encountered. In reading a text, recursive processes might include rereading earlier portions in light of later ones, looking ahead to see what topics are addressed or how a narrative ends, and skimming through text to search for particular ideas or events before continuing a linear reading. In creating a written composition, recursive processes include moving back and forth among the planning, drafting, and revising phases of writing.
reflection 1. The process or result of seriously thinking over one's experiences. 2. An approach to problem solving that emphasizes the careful consideration of the nature of the problem, the thorough planning of procedures to solve the problem, and the monitoring of the processes used in reaching a solution.
rhetoric 1. The art or science of using language in prose or verse. 2. The effective use of language in oratory to influence or persuade an audience. 3. The study of the theory and principles of effective communication.
rhetorical devices Any of the techniques used by writers to communicate meaning or to persuade an audience. Rhetorical devices range from word- or sentence-level techniques such as the use of metaphor or apostrophe (direct address to the reader) to techniques that shape an entire piece, such as irony or extended analogy.
semantics One of three cueing systems readers use to construct texts. The semantic system focuses on the meaning of texts, where meaning is seen as connections between words (or other linguistic units) and the reader's prior knowledge of language and linguistic forms, understanding of the world, and experience of other texts and contexts.
speaking The act of communicating through such means as vocalization, signing, or using communication aids such as voice synthesizers.
spelling The process of representing language by means of a writing system, or orthography.
standard English 1. That variety of English in which most educational texts and government and media publications are written in the United States. Note: Also referred to as the language of wider communication in this document. 2. English as it is spoken and written by those groups with social, economic, and political power in the United States. Note: Standard English is a relative concept, varying widely in pronunciation and idiomatic use but maintaining a fairly uniform grammatical structure.
standards Statements about what is valued in a given field, such as English language arts, and/or descriptions of what is considered quality work. See content standards, assessment standards, and performance standards.
strategy A practiced but flexible way of responding to recognizable contexts, situations, or demands. Because no single reading strategy, study technique, or writing process is best for all students, it is inappropriate to teach a single way of approaching all language tasks. Instead, we must help every student to acquire a range of strategies and to learn how to choose and apply those that best fit his or her needs and the literacy situation at hand.
style 1. The characteristics of a work that reflect its author's distinctive way of writing. 2. An author's use of language, its effects, and its appropriateness to the author's intent and theme. 3. The manner in which something is said or done, in contrast to its message, as Hemingway's terse, blunt, conversational style. 4. The particular way in which a person uses language in a given social environment.
syntax 1. One of three cueing systems readers use to construct texts; the syntactic system focuses on the relationship among linguistic units such as prefixes, suffixes, words, phrases, and clauses (grammar). 2. The study of how sentences are formed and of the grammatical rules that govern their formation. 3. The pattern or structure of word order in sentences, clauses, and phrases.
synthesis The process of identifying the relationships among two or more ideas or other textual elements.
technological communication Communication by means of the newer technologies of film, videotape, and electronic media (such as e-mail and the World Wide Web).
technological resource An informational resource using newer technologies such as computer software, computer networks, databases, CD-ROMs, and laser discs.
text In the Standards for the English Language Arts we use the term text broadly to refer to printed communications in their varied forms; oral communications, including conversations, speeches, etc.; and visual communications such as film, video, and computer displays.
text structure The temporal and spatial arrangement of elements in a written, oral, or visual text. For example, the text structure of a narrative film might involve moving back and forth among different time periods in recounting events; or the text structure of an argumentative essay might involve a linear arrangement of definitions, arguments, evidence, counterarguments, and rebuttal.
textual features Characteristics of print texts such as sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, and context.
tone The implied attitude toward the subject matter or audience of a text that readers may infer from the text's language, imagery, and structure.
usage The way in which the native language or dialect of a speech community is actually used by its members.
viewing Attending to communication conveyed by visually representing. Students with visual impairments might “view” tactile drawings, charts, or diagrams.
visually representing Conveying information or expressing oneself using nonverbal visual means, such as drawing, computer graphics (maps, charts, artwork), photography, or physical performance. For students with visual impairments, this language art might also include communicating by means of tactile drawings or diagrams, as well as by gesture and performance.
vocabulary Those words known or used by a person or group, including the specialized meanings that words acquire when they are used for technical purposes, regional usages, and slang.
word recognition 1. The quick and easy identification of the form, pronunciation, and appropriate meaning of a word previously met in print or writing. 2. The process of determining the pronunciation and some degree of meaning of a word in written or printed form.
writing 1. The use of a writing system or orthography by people in the conduct of their daily lives to communicate over time and space. 2. The process or result of recording language graphically by hand or other means, as by the use of computers or braillers.
writing process The many aspects of the complex act of producing a written communication; specifically, planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.
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