IRA Style Guide

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P - Q - R


p = .01 (probability)
P (percentage)

page / Page
The word page is treated as a common noun, even if followed by a numeral. See book parts or sections for further discussion.

see journals, non-IRA titles

paired reading



part / Part
When part is followed by a numeral or letter and refers to a specific section of a book, use capital P (e.g., Part 1, Parts A and B). See book parts or sections for further discussion.

PASS = Program of Assisted Studies and Support (program in New York state public schools)

percent / % (see APA p. 114)
1. Use the symbol for percent only when it is preceded by a numeral, or to save space in table or figure heads.

2. Use the word percent after a number that has been spelled out.

3. When no number is given, use the word percentage.

per se (no itals. or underline)

Changed 2-7-05:

(Upper–lower–upper case. Do not include periods after h and D.)
When appended to a person's name, academic degrees are preceded and followed by commas (Jean Lamont Grayson, PhD, will be the keynote speaker). (Change instituted to bring main guide into conformity with abbreviations list.
Same changes hold for degrees BA, MA, EdD, etc.).

phenomena / phenomenon
The word phenomena is always plural. The correct singular form is phenomenon. Thus, “These are phenomena we cannot explain,” and “This is an unusual phenomenon.” are examples of correct usage.

picture book
p.m. (lowercase or small caps, with periods)

PO / P.O.
The abbreviation of post office appears without periods in contexts where state abbreviations do not take periods (e.g., in most postal address formats). In contexts where state names would normally be spelled out (e.g., in most running text), Post Office may be abbreviated with periods, but only if no inconsistency would result (i.e., only if a list-style address is not used elsewhere in the piece).

policymaker, policymaking
In February 2002 the Style Guide subcommittee voted to adopt the closed forms policymaker and policymaking as standard. This change brings IRA style into conformity with the latest (2001) edition of WNWD.

PORPE = Predict, Organize, Rehearse, Practice, Evaluate

position statements, titles
A phrase such as "a position statement of the International Reading Association" should not be considered part of the document's title but simply a description. Thus, most position statements by IRA and other organizations should be cited in the following form:

International Reading Association. (1999). High-stakes assessment in reading (Position statement). Newark, DE: Author.

Exceptions can occur if the Library of Congress specifically identifies the phrase as a subtitle (see Moore, D.W., et al. [1999] in the reference list) or if an editor elects to use a different form for the sake of consistency within a document or series.

Compounds formed with the prefix post- are normally closed (CMS 6.1):
postgraduate, postsecondary, postmodern, poststructuralism, postproduction, posttest, postreading, posttreatment

post-hoc (adj.)

This term is a registered trademark and should not be used in text as a common noun. Instead, refer to a flag, a posted note, sticky note, or something similar. See trade names.

post office box numbers, IRA

1. Compounds formed with the prefix pre- are normally closed (CMS 6.1):
preempt, prereading, preexisting, preschool, prekindergarten, pretest

2. When pre comes before an open compound, an en-dash is used in place of a hyphen:
pre–Civil War pre–Independence Day

predicate adjective
an adjective that follows a linking verb and modifies the subject (He is kind; She felt awkward.)

predicate noun or predicate nominative
a noun that follows a linking verb and describes or renames the subject (He is king.)

predominate / predominant
Although the use of predominate as an adjective dates back several centuries, it seems never to have been the more common form. At present, the preferred adjective is predominant. The same is true of the adverbial forms: although some authors use predominately, the preferred form is predominantly.


preface / Preface
Capitalize preface if the word is used to name a part of a specific book (e.g., “In his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth speculated on the effects his poems would have on ‘the present state of the public taste’ in England.” Otherwise, lowercase (e.g., “In his prefaces to the various editions of Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth judged his readers’ tastes as either ‘healthy’ or ‘depraved’.”) See book parts or sections for further discussion.

Hyphenated form is listed as standard in RH. (Note that the fully spelled prekindergarten is not hyphenated.)

prekindergarten (closed form is listed as standard in RH)
the preliminary program

premier / premiere
Premier is an adjective meaning “first” or “highest,” or a noun referring to a high political officer. Premiere is a noun, adjective, or verb referring to a first showing (e.g., the premiere of a movie, “the movie will premiere,” “the premiere showing of the exhibition”).

preschool (no hyphen as noun or adjective)

President / president
IRA President Jerry Johns met with President Bush. We spoke with President Johns about his plans for World Congress. Jerry Johns became president of IRA while George W. Bush was president of the United States. The IRA president met with the U.S. president. (See CMS 7.16-19, 7.22)

president-elect (note lowercase e, which is preferred IRA form for its officers)
“IRA President-elect John J. Pikulski is a professor of education at the University of Delaware. Professor Pikulski is president-elect of the International Reading Association.” (RTy 4/97)

pre- and posttest
printout (noun)
print out (verb)
print-rich (adj. preceding noun)
problem solver

professor / Professor
1. Capitalize as part of a formal title, especially when preceding a person’s name: We spoke with Professor John Pikulski.

2. Otherwise lowercase: We spoke with John Pikulski, professor of education at the University of Delaware. Pikulski is a professor of education at the University of Delaware and past president of the International Reading Association.

pro- ject´ / proj´- ect
An unusual case (a homograph) in which the same seven letters can be hyphenated (and will be pronounced) in two different ways. The first, pro - ject´, is a verb (to project the results based on current trends). The second, proj´- ect, is a noun (e.g., a research project).

proved / proven
Both these words are acceptable past participles of the verb to prove. Whereas proved was once the more popular form, proven is equally popular today. M-WDEU: “You can use whichever form you like.”

provide / provide to / provide with
When the verb provide is used transitively it usually appears with an indirect object (i.e., someone or something that receives what is provided) along with its direct object (that which is provided). In such cases, the relative positions (syntax) of the direct and indirect objects will determine which preposition, if any, should be used with provide.

In the examples below, library is the subject, provide is the verb, books is the direct object, and community is the indirect object.

    The library provides books to the community. (When the direct object precedes the indirect object, the latter will almost always be preceded by the prepositions to or for.)

    The library provides the community with books. (When the direct object follows the indirect object, it is usually preceded by the preposition with.)

According to M-WDEU, the latter variety of sentence can occur without the preposition (The library often provides the community a convenient meeting place), but IRA authors and editors should reserve this usage for casual settings and instances of clear author preference. "The library provides the community with a meeting place" is standard.

PTA = Parent Teacher Association
PTSA = Parent Teacher Student Association
publications, the Publications Division, the division

publishers and cities of publication

punctuation (see individual marks)
pull out (verb)
pull-out (The adj. form is hyphenated before the noun, as in “pull-out sessions”)
pullout (noun, as in “The pullout of American troops will begin in December.”)

pupils / students
Of several references checked, only Words Into Type, 3d edition, makes a distinction: generally, elementary school pupils; high school or college students. IRA authors may use the terms interchangeably. IRA editors should be aware that some authors insist on the distinction.



questions: punctuation and capitalization
1. direct questions within sentences (Chicago 6.55)
Do not use quotation marks with a direct question included within a sentence. Precede the question with a comma, and if the question is relatively long or has internal punctuation, begin the question with a capital letter. An indirect question takes no comma or special punctuation. Examples:

  • Suddenly he asked himself, where am I headed?
  • Teachers had to confront the issue, Should we dedicate time to better prepare students for assessments, or are we just teaching to the test?
  • What to do next is the question.

2. in dialogue
Reserve quotation marks to indicate that the question is actual dialogue, i.e., that it is literally spoken aloud, and the speaker can reasonably expect an answer. Note that the second example could be rendered this way — Suddenly he asked himself, “Where am I headed?” — if the author wished to emphasize that the words were not rhetorical, but were actually spoken aloud.

quotation marks
1. with other punctuation (APA 3.36):
  • Always place periods and commas inside quotation marks (i.e., before closing quote).

  • Always place colons and semicolons outside quotation marks (i.e., after closing quote).

  • Question marks and exclamation marks go inside the quotation marks if they are part of the material being quoted (“You said WHAT!?”; “Why do good people suffer?”). They go outside the quotes if they are not part of the material being quoted (Who said, “Fourscore and seven years ago . . .”? She even claimed to know the words to “Louie, Louie”!).

2. and titles
Titles of short works (articles, essays, short poems, songs, and stories) appear in roman type (not italic or underlined) inside quotation marks. Titles of long works (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) appear in italics.

3. single quotes (APA 3.36):
Use single quotes to indicate a quote-within-a-quote. See APA 3.36.

4. curly quotes and straight quotes

  • “Curly quotes” like these “ / ” are the true quotation marks in American English and are standard in most type fonts. If they are available in the font you’re using, these are the ones you should use.

  • Typewriters and certain type fonts do not have curly quotes, but only straight quotes. On web pages, codes for curly quotes are available, but many older browsers do not support them. As a result, the editor sometimes must decide whether use of curly quotes is justified in a particular project.

  • A straight double quote is commonly used as a symbol for inches, and a straight single quote (sometimes called a prime) is often used as a symbol for feet: My height is 5'11".

5. words used in a special sense

  • Slang, jargon, invented words, or other words used with deliberate irony may appear in quotes the first time they appear, but not thereafter. The new generation of “smart” weapons will make civilian casualties a thing of the past. In their place we will hear only of “collateral damage.”
  • Do not use quotation marks to indicate words used as words. Instead, use italics.
    “Before attending kindergarten, many children can recognize words like cat and dog.
  • Do not use quotation marks as an excuse for poor writing. Cliches, vague expressions, inexact phrasing, and the like, should be avoided, not displayed within quotation marks.

    example: I hate to “beat a dead horse,” as they say, but I am kind of “fed-up” with writers who try to appear “cool” by using all sorts of “hip” expressions in their work. To me, that kind of thing is a “drag,” and I’m really “turned off” whenever I see it.


RAM = random access memory

1. Compounds formed with the prefix re- are usually closed (CMS 6.1):
reacquaint, reexamine, reapply, reinforce, redefine, relocate, reeducate, reread

2. In a few cases, they are hyphenated to avoid misreading: re-cover, re-creation

read-aloud (adj. or noun)
read aloud (verb)
reader response theory
Readers Theatre (note initial caps, r-e ending, and no apostrophe)
readers’ workshop
Reading Is Fundamental (RIF)
Reading Online (ROL )
reading readiness (noun)
a reading-readiness approach (hyphenate as adj. preceding its noun)
Reading Recovery (registered trademark for early intervention program associated with M. Clay)
The Reading Teacher (RT)
Reading Today (RTy )
Reading Today Daily
The editors of have requested that the following guidelines be observed in writing about the joint IRA/NCTE project and its website:

1. "We prefer not to use the acronym RWT because we don't think people outside of IRA know what it is. It's OK if authors or reviewers refer to the site this way in a quotation, but otherwise, please avoid it."

2. IRA writers and editors should refer to the project and website by its full name, "Because we don't own, we have started to use .org as part of our name so that people know our full address. We're hoping to avoid having users enter ReadWriteThink in their browsers and then have the browser automatically assign the .com extension. Obviously, this can get repetitive, so in a short body of text we do sometimes alternate back and forth between ReadWriteThink and But in headings, headlines, or the first time the site is mentioned in a text, we always try to include the .org extension."

REAL = Raising Early Achievement in Literacy (program of University of Sheffield, England)
real life (n.)
real-life (hyphenate as unit modifier preceding its noun)
real time (n.)
real-time (hyphenate as adj. preceding its noun)

reason is because
This phrasing is always redundant. Avoid it. Nonstandard and simplistic: “The reason many children cannot read is because they never had adequate instruction.” Better, though still simplistic: The reason many children cannot read is that they never had adequate instruction.” Best of all, “Because they never had adequate instruction, many children cannot read.”


Recorded Books
This is a registered trademark and should not be used as a common noun. Instead, refer to books recorded on audiotape, audio books, or something similar. See trade names.

Redundancy is needless repetition. Redundant phrases say the same thing twice, usually because one word already implies the other(s). Examples include end result, future goals, future plans, preplanning, upcoming, to get off of, to get on to, to summarize briefly, a period of time, a leadership role, to repeat a second time, whether or not, the reason why


reference list, style

reflexive pronouns (see myself)

in regard to / in regards to / with regard to / regarding / as regards
Some sources cited in M-WDEU regard in regard to and regarding as preferable in all cases to in regards to, with regard to, and the similar phrase, as regards. Others condemn in regards to but allow the other four. Still others claim all these phrases are wordy and advise us to use on or about instead.

Best advice: If the simpler words on or about don’t serve the purpose, stick with in regard to or regarding: “I am writing in regard to your recent statement that good writing has become a lost art.”

regional conference / Regional Conference
a regional conference, regional conferences, the 27th Southwest Regional Conference


relation / relationship
In a distinction rarely observed, relation refers to an association of objects, and relationship to an association of people. Thus, “Researchers are studying the relation between phonemic awareness and reading skill,” but “In his story ‘Bartleby, the Scrivener,’ Melville explores the relationship of an employee and his employer.”

our state representative
Representative Mike Castle
research-based (hyphenate as adjective preceding the noun it modifies)

restrictive and nonrestrictive modifiers
1. A restrictive modifier limits or restricts the word it modifies, in the sense of “not all, but only some,” and is thus essential to the meaning of its sentence. For example, in the sentence “People who have big feet need big shoes,” the relative clause “who have big feet” restricts “people,” the word it modifies. Not all people need big shoes, but only people with big feet.

• Note that restrictive modifiers should not be set off—by commas, or any other punctuation mark—from the words they modify. (See commas, rule 1c.)

• Note also that, should the question arise, a restrictive clause should be introduced by the word that, rather than which. (See which/that.)

2. A nonrestrictive modifier does not limit the word it modifies, but merely supplies additional information about all (or practically all) members of a class. Thus, it is nonessential to the meaning of its sentence. In the sentence “The Book of Genesis, which deals with the origins of humans and nations, is regarded as sacred by three world religions,” does not have the sense of “not all Books of Genesis are regarded as sacred, but only the one that deals with origins.” Instead, there is only one Book of Genesis, it is held as sacred, and it does deal with origins.

• Note that nonrestrictive modifiers should always be set off—usually by commas, but sometimes by dashes or parentheses—from the words they modify. (See commas, 1c, above.)

• Note also, should the question arise, that nonrestrictive clauses should be introduced by which, rather than that. (See which/that.)

RFP = request for proposals
RIF = Reading Is Fundamental, Inc.
role definitions
role-play (hyphenate as noun or verb)
ROL = Reading Online
ROM = read-only memory

Roman numerals (APA 3.47; CMS 8.32)
1. Roman numerals that are part of established terminology should be retained: Type II error; Title I programs.

2. Parts of books should appear in arabic numerals: chapter 21, part 4, Volume 10. Exception: folios in frontmatter of some books may appear as lowercase roman numerals (pp. iii–xlvi); this pagination should be retained in citations (not changed to arabic numerals).

3. In reference lists, volume numbers that appear in roman numerals should be converted to arabic numerals: not Vol. CXIX, but 119.

roundtable (noun or adjective).
(Note: This usage is in agreement with RH, contra WNWD.)

round trip (noun)
round-trip (adj. preceding noun)
RRQ = Reading Research Quarterly
RS = Running Start, a program associated with Reading Is Fundamental
RSVP = Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (associated with Experience Corps)
RSVP (no periods, per RH)
RT = The Reading Teacher
RTI = Response to Intervention
RTy = Reading Today

Avoid this abbreviation except in casual speech. See, above.

RWCT = Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking

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