Glossary: What Every English
Teacher Needs to Know
This section is devoted to issues, ideas, trends, and strategies that are important for all English-Language Arts teachers. You will find here the specialized vocabulary and tools of the practice of English teaching. Most of the information in this section runs throughout this book. However, here you will find an organized compendium of this important information. For most entries, you will encounter a reference to the specific location in Crossing Over.
In traditional instruction, reading is broken into two categories: decoding and comprehending. This is a false dichotomy because the purpose of all reading instruction is to comprehend written texts. However, opinions differ on the place of decoding activities in the development of readers.
Decoding is the ability to name words or to get the intended meaning of words by context, phonics, or structural analysis (e.g., prefixes or suffixes) (Cooper, 1997, p. 14). In Crossing Over, although the word decoding is never mentioned, the strategies to help readers with dialect and vocabulary in Chapter Seven in “Teaching the Novel” are decoding skills as is the help in A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Phonics. Phonics is a strategy of sounding out words to be able to name them. The place of phonics instruction in the curriculum has created some controversy with differing opinions about the need for systematic phonics lessons. Critics of phonics say that phonics is about naming words and not about understanding