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Literary Glossary


To compare in order to rank items by importance or to provide reasons. Identify the important parts that make up the whole and determine how the parts are related to one another.


Statements or thought taken to be true without proof.

Author’s Perspective:

The author’s subjective view as reflected in his/her written expression.

Author’s Purpose:

The reason an author writes, such as to entertain, inform, or persuade.

Author’s Style:

The author’s attitude as reflected in the manner of the author's written expression.

Author’s Tone:

The author’s attitude as reflected in the manner of the author’s written expression.

Comprehension Strategies:

A procedure or set of steps to follow in order to enhance text understanding (e.g., making inferences, predicting outcomes).

Content/Academic Vocabulary:

Terms from literature, science, social studies, math and other academic vocabulary that students need to know to be successful readers.

Draw Conclusion:

Use your ideas and the information in the text to read between the lines to find the implied meaning in the text; infer what the author means because the meaning is not directly stated. You make sense of the facts provided.

Literary Devices:

Techniques used to convey or enhance an author's message or voice (e.g. idiom, figurative language, metaphor, exaggeration, dialogue, and imagery).


Ability to read a text quickly with accuracy and expression; freedom from word-identification problems that might hinder comprehension in silent reading or the expression of ideas in oral reading; automaticity.

Functional Document:

A technical document such as a business letter, computer manual, or trade publication that assists one in getting information in order to perform a task.


Taking what is known and using it to make an inference about the nature of similar text. Generalizations lead to transferable understandings that can be supported by fact. They describe the characteristics of classes or categories of persons, places, living and non-living things, and events.


Terms used to classify literary and informational works into categories (e.g. biography, mystery, historical fiction).

Graphic Organizer:

Organizers that provide a visual representation of facts and concepts from a text and their relationships within an organized frame. Valuable instructional tools used to show the order and completeness of a student's thought process graphically.


To understand something not directly stated in the text by using past experience and knowledge combined with the text.


The reasoning involved in drawing a conclusion or making a logical judgment on the basis of indirect evidence and prior conclusions rather than direct evidence from the text.

Main Idea:

The gist of a passage; central thought; the chief topic of a passage expressed or implied in a word or phrase; the topic sentence of a paragraph; a statement in sentence form which gives the stated or implied major topic of a passage and the specific way in which the passage is limited in content or reference.

Persuasive Devices:

A technique the author uses to move the reader to his/her point of view such as bias, overgeneralization, and association.


To foresee what might happen in a text based on a reader's background knowledge or schema.

Prior Knowledge:

The knowledge that stems from previous experience. Note: prior knowledge is a key component of the schema theory of reading comprehension.


The arrangement or ordering of information, content, or ideas (e.g. chronological, easy to difficult, part to whole).


To determine what is important in the text, condense this information, and put it into the students’ own words.

Task-Oriented Text:

Text written specifically to direct the reader as to how to complete a task.


Content or vocabulary directly related to specific knowledge or information in a career or interest area.

Text Features:

A prominent characteristic of a particular type of text such as chapter titles, sub-headings and bold faced words in a history text.

Text Organizational Structures:

Expository text is structured in certain ways. The five text structures that students are most likely to encounter are cause-effect, compare/contrast, description, problem/solution, and chronological or time order.


A topic; a major idea or proposition broad enough to cover the entire scope of a literary work. Note: a theme may be stated or implicit, but clues to it may be found in the ideas that are given special prominence or tend to recur in a work.