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Reading Jargon Buster!

Alphabetic code

The code shows us the relationship between the sounds of our speech and the written letter(s) of the alphabet and how these are used to match those sounds.

‘Buddy’ reading

Children read in pairs. The buddy is often an older child.


To say the individual sounds that make up a word and blend them together to hear the whole word for reading e.g. s-a-t becomes sat. You blend to read and segment (see below) to spell.

Book Bands

A system of grouping books in bands of colour to represent different levels of reading difficulty. Children choose a book from a similar level.


Every letter in the English alphabet that is not a vowel (i.e. not a, e, i, o, u).


To read a word by saying the sounds then joining, or blending, those sounds together to form the word.


Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which mainly affects the development of language related skills. For further information look at


Cards to use in games to help children practise recognising, at speed, a letter, group of letters, words and/or pictures.


A written letter or group of letters that represent a sound e.g. the sound s can be represented by the graphemes s in sun, ce in dance, ss in dress, st in whistle, cy in cycle etc.

Group reading

Similar to guided reading, but children take it in turns to read aloud from the same book whilst the teacher listens and supports.

Guided reading

About 6 children, grouped by reading ability, read aloud from the same book at the same time whilst the teacher listens in and draws out teaching points.

High frequency words

These are the words that occur most commonly in the English language. Some are ‘decodable’ like much whilst others are ‘tricky’ like the.

Individual reading

Reading 1:1 or by yourself as it suggests.

Information books

Books that contain facts or information including reference books such as dictionaries, atlases and encyclopedias.

Levelled books

Books from a reading series that have been written in levels of difficulty to enable a child to take small but steady steps to reading success. As children’s skills increase they read more and the need for controlled, levelled material reduces.


Memory joggers such as a rhyme, a phrase or a shape.


A broad category of texts that includes anything that isn’t story i.e. information books, reference materials, newspapers, biography, Wikipedia etc.


A method of teaching reading and writing. It teaches children that the sounds of English are represented by letters or groups of letters.


The smallest unit of sounds in a word represented by letters or groups of letters.

Reading age

This is an average reading level we would usually ‘expect’ for a child of any specified age.

Read at Home

The books that the children bring home to practise reading.


SATs stands for Standard Assessment Tasks which are national tests in reading, grammar, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary and maths taken in May/June by children in Y6. Writing is assessed by the teacher.

Self-assessment/peer assessment

Children check their own work against a set of answers or criteria or swap with a partner to mark each other’s work before then discussing the marking or comments.


To write or spell a word by listening for the sounds in the word and deciding which letters represent those sounds. You blend to read and segment to spell.


Stockport Early Reading Intervention (SERI) is a short-term teaching programme of one-to-one tutoring for children identified as underachieving in Year 1.

Shared reading

A teacher reads and discusses a text with the class, demonstrating how to be a good reader.

Sight words

These are words you need to learn by sight because they can’t be easily sounded out.

Sounding out

To say the individual sounds that make up a word.

Special Needs

A term used to cover a wide range of needs that may need additional support whether a child is falling behind or far exceeding normal expectations. Also sometimes referred to as SEN.

Story time

The teacher reads a story aloud to the whole class.

Synthesising sounds

Blending (merging) the sounds in a word together in speech so you can read the word.

Synthetic phonics

Synthetic Phonics is a way of teaching reading. They are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent. When we say the letter m it sounds like mmmm. Children then start to read words by blending the sounds together to make a word.

Tricky words

Common words that are difficult to decode because some of the letters don’t make the sounds you would expect, like the or said.


The letters a, e, i, o, u in the English alphabet.