Dear Parents,

In an effort to help you better understand your child's report card and assessment results, we have listed frequently used educational terms.  We realize that some of these terms are unique to education and educators.  Below we have listed some frequently used words, terminology and brief explanations to help answer any questions you may have about your child's assessments.

Spatial Relationships - This refers to the position of an object.  We assess terms such as above, below, between, behind, etc.

High Frequency Words - These are words that are seen most frequently when reading.  Children are taught that these are words that you have to learn to recognize instantly.  *Many of these words do not follow phonics rules and cannot be decoded.

Initial Sound - This is the sound that is heard at the beginning of a word. When we ask students to identify the sound at the beginning of a word, we want them to give the actual sound and not the letter name.

Phoneme - This refers to each individual sound heard in a word.  For example:  cat - /c/  /a/  /t/

Rhyming Words - Words that sound the same at the end.  For example:  cat - bat, mouse - house

Sorting - Putting objects with a similar characteristic together.  We ask children to sort objects by color, size and shape.

Fluency - This has to do with the rate at which a child can read, name letters, numbers, etc.  We strive to make students so familiar with letter names and sounds, high frequency words and numbers that they are able to call them automatically with little hesitation.

Segments Words or Phoneme Segmentation:  The ability to break words apart by each isolated sound.  If given the word frog, the student will be able to break it apart by giving the sounds /f/  /r/  /o/  /g/.

Story Retelling - After hearing a story, students are able to retell the story giving key points such as character, setting, beginning, middle and end.

CVC Words - This term refers to words in a consonant vowel consonant pattern such as dog, cat, sun, fog, etc.

Nonsense Word Fluency - This is one of the test given in December and May on DIBELS.  Students are given rows of consonant vowel consonant nonsense words that students are able to give the sound for each letter or read the whole word.  You may ask, "Why nonsense words?"  The answer to this question is that it allows us to see how well a student has grasped phonics concepts.  When using real words, many students read by sight.

Phonemic Awareness - This refers to auditory skills.  It is the ability to hear sounds, syllables, rhymes, etc.

Phonics - This is a visual skill.  This is the ability to attach sounds to written symbols.  For example, not only can a child hear /b/ at the beginning of bat, he or she can also recognize or write the letter Bb.

DIBELS - This is a state mandated test that is given in grades K - 2.  It stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills.  In kindergarten it assesses fluency of phonemic awareness and phonics skills.  The four subtests given are:  Initial Sound Fluency, Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, Letter Naming Fluency and Nonsense Word Fluency.

*We will continue to add assessment terms throughout the year.  If you ever have a question regarding your chid's assessment information, please feel free to contact your child's teacher.