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Bottom-up model of reading

A system of reading instruction based on the theory that the learning of reading takes place by piecing together small parts, or phonic sounds, to form, first, a letter sound, and, eventually, a word sound. Learning takes place, in other words, from the bottom up, from sound to symbol to meaning. The model is in contrast to the TOP-DOWN MODEL, in which children learn entire words by sight, by the distinctive shape of the word, rather than individual letters. Such children must then gradually take the word apart to learn each letter and its sound. Experienced teachers recognize, however, that all children use both methods to some degree. Some children learn sight words more easily than others and instinctively distinguish words by the total shape of the word—pizza, for example, as opposed to cat. Other children, however, seem unable to distinguish entire words when first learning to read and are almost totally dependent on “sounding out” the word, letter by letter. (See also PHONICS; WHOLE LANGUAGE.)

Cognitive domain

Any and all physical, emotional and intellectual activity that permits a human to absorb and understand new information.

Deductive approach

A system of reasoning or logic that arrives at specific, logical conclusions on the basis of one or more general premises.

Plymouth Colony

The second permanent English settlement in the American colonies, founded in 1620 by members of a Puritan sect who arrived on the Mayflower and landed near present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Music

In education, a wide-ranging course of study, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through elementary school and college and into university graduate school.

Phoneme

A linguistic term representing the symbol for a single speech sound—e.g., “s,” as in site, sea, place or answer.

Social utility theory

An approach to curricular development designed to make almost all studies provide students with knowledge and skills that will help them function successfully in society.

Academic rank

The title given to college and university teachers and researchers.

Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)

Italian priest, philosopher and teacher, whose “Thomist” philosophy remains the heart of all education in Roman Catholic schools the world over.

Elkanah Watson (1758–1842)

Businessman, banker, agriculturalist and founder of the Berkshire Agricultural Society, a vital educative institution at a time when there were no agricultural colleges. 

Boston Latin School

The first school founded in the American colonies.

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