Recently, I came across a resource for teachers that demonstrated strategies for vocabulary instruction. They used the word <enormous> as an example. One of the steps in the instructional process was to have students analyze the word <enormous> by syllable, a common practice in systematic reading instruction. So the recommendation was to divide this word based on the way … More enormous

Terminology: Graphemes and Letters

When I talk with students of any age about how English spelling works, I introduce them to the term <grapheme>. I also talk with them about letters, but letters are not the same as graphemes. English words are spelled with graphemes, not letters. A grapheme is a unit consisting of one, two or three letters. A grapheme signals or represents a phoneme.  Here are some examples … More Terminology: Graphemes and Letters

Denotation and Connotation

Let’s talk about the terms connotation and denotation. For a long time, I found it very difficult to remember which one was which. That was because I was trying to hang my understanding of their meaning on their pronunciation. But starting with pronunciation did nothing for my understanding; I had things exactly backwards in terms of the … More Denotation and Connotation

Terminology: Morphemes and Morphology

Morphology is the organizing principle for all English spelling. If we want to understand how to make sense of every single word in English, we need to start by studying morphology, deeply and accurately, along with etymology and phonology. Read more about phonology here.  So let’s talk about terms that are critical to understand when studying morphology. … More Terminology: Morphemes and Morphology