This curriculum policy replaces The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1–8: Language, 2006. Beginning in September 2023, all language programs for Grades 1 to 8 will be based on the expectations outlined in this curriculum policy.

elementary

Language (2023)

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Glossary

The definitions provided in this glossary are specific to the curriculum context in which the terms are used

A

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academic vocabulary

Words used in academic dialogue and texts. Academic vocabulary is less common in general conversation. Examples include: approach, concept, and distribution. Also called Tier 2 words. (Compare domain-specific words.) See also tiers of vocabulary.

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affix

A morpheme attached to the beginning or end of a base to modify its meaning. Affixes are bound morphemes; they cannot stand alone. Prefixes and suffixes are both affixes. See also prefix, suffix.

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allegory

A story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning. Each character or event may be a symbol representing an idea or quality.

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alliteration

The deliberate repetition of sounds or syllables, especially initial consonants, for stylistic effect. For example, “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers” and “the snake slithers slowly”.

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allusion

A brief reference, explicit or implicit, to a place, person, event, or to a part of another text.

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alphabetic knowledge

Knowledge of the letters of the alphabet by name and an understanding of alphabetic order.

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analogy

A literary device that involves a comparison of two otherwise unlike things, for the purpose of explanation or clarification.

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anthropomorphism

The attribution of human characteristics or behaviour to what is not human, such as an animal or object.

B

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base

A structural element that forms the foundation of a written word; any unit of a word to which affixes can be added. (e.g., act is the base of acted, action, activity, activate, react). Types of bases include:

  • bound base. A base that requires an affix to form a word (e.g., -ject in inject and project).
  • free base. A base that forms a word on its own (e.g., eat, date, weak).
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bias

An opinion, preference, prejudice, or inclination that limits an individual’s or group’s ability to make fair, objective, or accurate judgements. Bias may occur in any text. Explicit bias refers to attitudes and opinions that are consciously held and conveyed in texts. Implicit bias refers to unconscious attitudes or stereotypes conveyed in texts that may influence an audience’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour.  

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blending

An aspect of phonemic awareness that involves the ability to combine individual phonemes (sounds) to form words. (Compare segmenting.)

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bound base

See base.

C

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capitalization

The use of a capital letter to begin a sentence; to indicate a proper noun, a personal title, an acronym, or an initialism; and to set off important words in titles and headings.

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clause

A group of words containing a subject and a verb that are related to one another. All sentences must contain at least one clause.

  • independent clause. A clause that expresses a complete thought and can stand on its own as a simple sentence.
  • dependent clause. A clause that does not express a complete thought and cannot stand on its own as a sentence. Also called a subordinate clause.
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coherence

The underlying logical connectedness of the parts of an oral, written, visual, or multimodal text. A paragraph is coherent if all of its sentences are connected logically so that they are easy to follow. An essay is coherent if its paragraphs are logically connected.

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cohesive ties

Words or phrases, including anaphors, synonyms, conjunctions, and pronouns, used to integrate information within and across sentences and to link and connect ideas in a text. Also called cohesive devices.

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compound word

A word made from two or more words (e.g., sunshine, snowball, football).

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comprehension

The ability to understand and draw meaning from texts.

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comprehension strategies

A variety of strategies that students use before, during, and after listening, reading, and viewing to construct meaning from texts, including: activating and using background and prior knowledge; making predictions; monitoring comprehension (e.g., visualizing; generating and asking questions; making connections); summarizing; and reflecting on their learning.

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consonance

The deliberate repetition of similar consonant sounds for stylistic effect (e.g., stroke/luck).

D

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decodable text

Text that contains words reflecting grapheme-phoneme correspondences and morphological patterns that have been explicitly and systematically taught to early readers. Decodable texts are used in early reading instruction to practice phonics skills. See also grapheme-phoneme correspondence, morphology, phonics.

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decoding

The process of applying phonemic awareness and knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondence, including knowledge of letter–sound patterns, to sound out words. (Compare encoding). See also grapheme-phoneme correspondence, phonemic awareness.

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derivational affix

An affix by means of which one word is formed (derived) from another. Adding a derivational affix to a base is one of the most common ways of deriving a new word in English. Most affixes are Greek, Latin, or Anglo-Saxon in origin.

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derivational family

A word family made up of all the words derived from the same base.

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dialogue

A conversation between two or more characters in a story, or by two actors in a play or film.

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digital media literacy

The skills, strategies, mindsets, dispositions, and social practices that enable people to creatively and critically participate in digitally networked contexts. Digital media literacy includes the ability to combine the multimodal properties of media literacy with the technological capabilities of digital literacy.

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digital text

A text created, stored, and transmitted in a digital form (e.g., web page, social media post, email, computer graphic).

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digraph

A combination of two letters representing one sound (e.g., consonant digraphs: ph, sh, ch, etc., and vowel digraphs: ar, ea, ir, er, oa, ue, etc.)

E

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editing

The making of changes to the content, structure, and wording of drafts to improve the organization of ideas, eliminate awkward phrasing, correct grammatical and spelling errors, and generally ensure that the writing is clear, coherent, and correct. (Compare proofreading.) See also writing process.

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elements of style

Elements and devices used by creators of texts to help create meaning and aesthetically pleasing and distinctive texts. For example, elements of literary style include word choice, sentence structure, and syntax; figurative language; literary devices, rhetorical devices (e.g., repetition, emphasis, dramatic pause); and techniques to add rhythm and sound (e.g., alliteration, onomatopoeia). Elements of visual style include use of colour, line, shape, texture, pattern, and space to achieve harmony, balance, and focus. Elements of style in film include lighting and shooting style. Also called stylistic elements. See also alliteration, figurative language, literary device, onomatopoeia, syntax, word choice.

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elements of text

The characteristic aspects of a particular text form or genre (e.g., the compositional elements of fiction include plot, characters, point of view, setting, style, and theme; audio elements of a film include speech, music, sounds, sound effects, and volume; the elements of an image include colour, composition, line, shape, contrast, repetition, style; cultural elements of texts include the use of cultural symbols, imagery, and motifs, the representation of cultural values, beliefs, and practices, and the historical and social context in which the text was created). See also genres, point of view, style, text form, theme.

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encoding

The process of applying knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences (also called letter-sounds patterns) to spell words. (Compare decoding.)

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expressive communication

The process of expressing a message using verbal and/or non-verbal communication. Expressive communication includes writing, speaking, and representing. (Compare receptive communication.) See also representing.

F

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figurative language

Words or phrases used in a non-literal way to create a desired effect (e.g., metaphors, similes, personification). See also imagery, literary device.

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flashback

A device used in film and literature that takes the audience from the present moment in a chronological narrative to a scene in the past.

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FLSZ rule

Spelling rule in which one-syllable words ending with the sound /f/, /l/, /s/, or /z/ double the last letter. For example, puff, spell, hiss, and fizz follow the FLSZ rule. Also called the floss rule.

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fluency

The ability to identify words accurately and to read text quickly with ease, pace, automaticity, and expression. As they develop fluency, students read expressively, with proper phrasing and punctuation, and gain more meaning from the text.

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foreshadowing

A literary device in which a creator provides an indication of future events in the plot.

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free base

See base.

G

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genres

The types or categories into which texts are grouped. For example, literary genres include: novel, short story, essay, poetry, and drama. See also conventions.

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grapheme

A letter or a cluster of letters that represent a phoneme in a word. For example, single letters often represent a phoneme (e.g., c, g, t, p) but digraphs (e.g., sh, ch) are common and three or four letters can also represent a single phoneme occasionally (e.g., <igh> in light or <eigh> in eight). See also phoneme.

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grapheme-phoneme correspondence

The association between a grapheme and its corresponding phoneme. For example, when a student sees the letter d and articulates the sound /d/ (as in dog). Grapheme-phoneme correspondence is also called letter-sound correspondence. See also grapheme, phoneme.

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graphic text

H

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hyperbole

A literary device in which exaggeration is used deliberately for effect or emphasis (e.g., a flood of tears, piles of money).

I

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idiom

A group of words that, through usage, has taken on a special meaning different from the literal meaning (e.g., Better late than never! or Piece of cake.)

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imagery

Descriptions and figures of speech (e.g., metaphors, similes) used by writers to create vivid mental pictures in the mind of the reader. See also figurative language, literary device.

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Indigenous Storywork

A framework, described by Stó:lo scholar Jo-ann Archibald, for understanding the characteristics of Indigenous oral narratives and the process of storytelling. Indigenous Storywork establishes a receptive listening context for holistic meaning-making, bringing storytelling into educational contexts and demonstrating how stories have the power to heal the heart, mind, body, and spirit. Indigenous Storywork is built on the seven principles of respect, responsibility, reciprocity, reverence, holism, interrelatedness, and synergy.

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inference

A conclusion or opinion reached using reasoning and evidence from a text, based on what the creator states and implies in the text and what the reader brings to the text from their prior knowledge and experience.

  • local inference. An inference formed based on an understanding of implied information at the local level of sentences and paragraphs.
  • global inference. An inference based on an understanding of implied information in the whole text (e.g., about the theme of the text). A global inference usually requires the application of the reader’s previous knowledge.
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informational text

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intonation

The stress and pitch of spoken language. Intonation is used to communicate information additional to the meaning conveyed by words alone (e.g., a rising intonation at the end of a sentence indicates a question). (Compare tone.)

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irony

A technique using contrast or contradiction for the purposes of humour or emphasis; for example, a statement that has an underlying meaning different from its literal or surface meaning.

L

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language conventions

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letter-sound correspondence

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literacy

The ability to understand and express thoughts or ideas in a given language. Traditional literacy refers to the ability to read and write. See also digital media literacy.

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literary device

A particular pattern of words (e.g., rhyme, parallel structure), figure of speech (e.g., hyperbole, irony, metaphor, personification), or technique (e.g., comparison and contrast, foreshadowing, juxtaposition, analogy) used in literature to produce a specific effect. Also called a stylistic device. See also figurative language, imagery.

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literary text

M

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media

The plural of medium. See medium.

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media text

Any work, object, or event that communicates meaning to an audience. Most media texts use words, graphics, sounds, and/or images, in print, oral, visual, or digital form, to communicate information and ideas to their audience. Examples include: advertisement, database, vlog, film, newspaper, magazine, brochure, interview, clothing, song, dance. See also multimodal text.

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medium

The channel or system through which a text is conveyed, determined by the text’s mode(s), purpose, and audience, and including print, audio, visual, audio-visual, and digital means. For example, the medium for a written text might be a handwritten letter or book; the medium for an oral text might be a podcast or video clip. The plural is media. Media for reaching mass audiences include print, radio, television, artifacts, and the internet. See also mode of communication.

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metalinguistic awareness

An individual’s ability to reflect on and evaluate the structure of language objectively. Metalinguistic awareness refers to awareness in the area of phonology, syntax, and pragmatics. It allows individuals to monitor and control their language use, and is a strong predicator of reading development for all children. Multilingual children may experience accelerated development of metalinguistic awareness.

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