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NWEA assessment vocabulary for reading and language usage

Literary Element

Includes all the elements in a story: plot, rising action, falling action, problem, solution, setting, etc.


A written proposal or reminder


To tell a story.


A short moral story (often with animal characters)


Tending or intended or having the power to induce action or belief

Primary Source Historical Document

Something written or created by a person who witnessed a historical event


Writing that provides information (especially information of an official nature)


A "play on words" based on the multiple meanings of a single word or on words that sound alike but mean different things


A passage or expression that is quoted or cited


The act of referring or consulting


A situation treated as an observable object

Secondary Source

Review summarizes or discusses research conducted by others. Not first hand data. Scholarly books

Word Play

Playing on words or speech sounds


A reference in a work of literate to a character, place, or situation from history or from another work of literature, music, or art.


A graphic or vivid verbal description

Extended Metaphor

The comparison between two things is continued beyond the first point of comparison. This extends and deepens a

Homophone -

Two words are homophones if they are pronounced the same way but differ in meaning or spelling or both (e.g. bare and


A figure of speech that combines opposite or contradictory terms in a brief phrase.


An original model on which something is patterned

Iambic Pentameter

A metrical pattern in poetry which consists of five iambic feet per line. (an iamb, or iambic foot, consists of one
unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable.)




A situation or statement that seems to be impossible or contradicting, but is nevertheless true, either literally or

Pathetic Fallacy

The attribution of human emotions or characteristics to inanimate objects or to nature; for example angry clouds; a
cruel wind.


A verse form consisting of 14 lines with a fixed rhyme scheme


A distorted, exaggerated, or oversimplified image applied to a category of people


The practice of investing things with symbolic meaning, The use of words, places, people, or objects to mean something beyond their literal meaning.


Represent or identify by using a symbol

Third Person

Narrator is outside the action and refers to characters as he or she


Exact opposite


Substituting the name of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself (as in 'they counted heads')


The analysis of a poem's meter. This is usually done by marking the stressed and unstressed syllables in each line
and then based on the pattern of the stresses dividing the line into feet.


Substituting a more inclusive term for a less inclusive one or vice versa


Public notice or announcement

Business letter

A form of communication used to convey a formal message to one or more parties on behalf of a business

Ending sound

The sound made at the end of a word


A daily, or periodic, account of events and the writer's thoughts and feelings about those events.


To write down information in an organized way


Radically different or contrary in action or movement.


A line showing the outside edge of an object or figure. A short list or plan that gives the main ideas of a longer report.


An instruction telling what must or must not be done

Short story

Focuses on only one conflict, has a single plot, a single setting, a small number of characters, and covers a short period of time; meant to be read in one sitting.

Thank you note

A note of gratitude for what was received


A word or phrase that describes the contents of a document or object or person


A subdivision of a written work


A book of favorite recipes and instructions on cooking


To explain with details


A book that lists words in alphabetical order and gives their meanings, pronunciations, and etc.

Folk tale

A story passed down from person to person by word of mouth


An alphabetical listing of key words, phrases, or topics that includes the page numbers on which those items are found within a publication


Observe or notice

Nursery rhyme

A tale in rhymed verse for children

Personal narrative

Story that illustrates a specific time or incident in a life


Any situation in which you are trying to reach some goal and must find a means to do so.


An event that is experienced as indicating important things to come

Table of Contents

Found in the beginning of a book, it lists what is in the book and the page numbers of chapters.

Title page

A page of a book displaying the title and author and publisher

Word family

Group of words with the same root

Main idea

Central thought or message


Something written or spoken that tells important news


Steps or rules to be followed

Main character

The main person in a story

Make believe

To pretend; imagine


A daily or weekly publication of current events.


Writing that deals with real people, things, events and places., A true story

Word root

The part of the word that contains its basic meaning


Repeated vowel sounds

British Literature

Books, plays, etc. that are considered very good from Great Britain


To describe the character and qualities of someone or something


A struggle or clash between opposing characters, forces, or emotions, the problem in the story


Piece of paper giving a discount


Discuss the pros and cons of an issue


Main title of the story;grabs reader's attention and gives and idea of what the story is about


How to do something

Order of Events

Arrangement of events according to a particular sequence or method


Writing includes a clear position, evidence and counterargument with a rebuttal, to influence someone to believe what you want them to believe

Present tense

Used to describe situations that exist in the present time

Research paper

Academic writing used to synthesize others' ideas to support or contradict one's own


The communication or expression of thoughts in spoken words


A short narrative, usually lacking in detail, with unrealistic and sometimes fantastic characters and events. the term tale has connotations of timeless folklore.

Thesis paper

A piece of writing that defends and proves a position made by the writer

World Literature

Writing that is from countries other than your own


A section at the back of a book that gives additional information


To tell how things are different

Guide Letters

Samples of different types of letters (business, reference, personal) to help you write correctly


To make a firm promise to oneself; to solve; a fixed purpose or intention


The element of plot that makes the reader want to read on to find out what happens


To deny or go against a viewpoint

First person

A narrator who is a character in the story and tells the tale from his or her point of view.

Metric feet

The basic rhythmic structure of a verse

Second person

Told from the reader's point of view, using "you"

Standard English

The common American language, words and grammatical forms that are used and expected in school, business, and other sites.

Supporting details

Facts and ideas that prove or explain the main idea of a paragraph.


The way someone sees something

Point of view

"Eyes" through which the story is told


A plan that gives expected times for different things to happen.


A book used in the study of a subject


To give information to the public about


A reference book with facts and figures

American Literature

Short stories, novels, plays, and poems written by authors from the United States


To state the reasons for or against; to contend in oral disagreement;

Book review

An article describing and judging a new book


Used to provide information, educate or advertise a specific topic or product; more long-term in nature than that of a flyer


A group of people or things having something in common


Features that identify something or someone


The final event of a story's plot, A judgment based on the information obtained


An exchange of ideas between two or more people


The kinds of writing that creates a clear image of something, usually by using details that appeal to one or more of our senses.


A personal, daily account of an individual's experiences and feelings


A type of literature which is meant to be preformed


To interest and amuse

Fact and opinion

A fact can be proved; an opinion is a belief and can not be supported by proof or evidence


A story that is not true or is made up


A place in the back of the book that gives the definitions or tell the meaning of certain words in the book.

Graphic Organizer

A visual aid to help organize information

Guide words

These words are located at the top of a book and help you locate information faster

Historical Fiction

Real events, places, or people are incorporated into a fictional or imaginative story


To tell, give the facts


Identifying or classifying an individual or group as like or unlike others


Novels, plays, short stories, essays, and poems that have lasting value or interest


A type of thin book with large pages and a paper cover which contains articles and photographs and is published every week or month

Main point

The most important fact, idea, or opinion


A handbook; a book of directions


Having to do with what is right and wrong; being good and just, the lesson taught by a story or experience


A traditional story about gods, ancestors, or heroes, told to explain the natural world or the customs and beliefs of a society.


The person telling the story


Information about something that has happened recently


A long fictional story which uses all the elements of storytelling (plot, character, setting, point of view, theme).


A type of speaking or writing that is intended to make its audience adopt a certain opinion

Picture book

A book consisting chiefly of pictures


A plan of action


A set of instructions for making something

Reference Book

A book that provides facts, definitions, data, or summary of a topic. (examples: indexes, dictionaries, encyclopedias, almanacs, bibliographies, concordances, handbooks, manuals, etc.)

Reference Material

Text containing facts and information, items that you can look at to find information: thesaurus, dictionary, internet


Set of statements intended to provide information


Solution to a problem, The ending to the story that states the final outcome of the conflict and/or what might lie ahead for the characters in the story.


Something that you can use to help achieve a goal


The pattern of beats, or stresses, in spoken or written language


The "voice" used by an author to tell a story or speak a poem


To describe the main idea and important details of a passage using your own words


A book which lists words with the same meaning


What the story or writing is about

Topic sentence

The main idea of the paragraph


A group of words that a person knows or should know


An article giving opinions or perspectives

Middle sound

The phonetic sound found in the middle of a word

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