Academic Vocabulary for PARCC

a word used to describe a noun or pronoun

Examples: happy, sad, pretty, ugly, slimy, rough, red, green, etc.

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a word used to describe a verb, adjective, or other adverb, often ending in “-ly”

Examples: He quickly ran to the bus stop.
She happily opened her birthday presents.

repetition of the initial sound at the beginning of words

Example: Angry armadillos arrive and attack apples.

a comparison of two different things that are similar in some way

Examples: Bird is to feathers, as dog is to _____ (fur).
Doctor is to hospital, as teacher is to _____ (school).

to study something closely to bring out deeper meaning or structure

Example: My teacher told me to analyze the poem, then write a paragraph describing the main idea

a word that means the opposite of another word

Example: fat and skinny, young and old, happy and sad, etc.

a statement of the meaning or main point of a text

Example: The Grand High Witch is the meanest witch of all. The reader could develop this argument because she has made a plan to get rid of all the children in the world.

able to speak or write clearly and effectively

Example: Susan could not find the words to describe what she was feeling; it was difficult for her to articulate her emotions to her family.

author’s intention
the message the author is trying to get across to the reader

Example: Fudge is always upsetting Peter in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, but Peter still loves Fudge. The reader knows this because he says, “the little guy really looks up to me, he always wants to do just what I am doing.” The author’s intention is for the reader to know that even when your sibling really upsets you, you still love them.

author’s purpose
The reason the author has written something (to inform the reader of something, to persuade the reader to do something, to express an idea or feeling, to entertain or give the reader something enjoyable to read)

Example: The author’s purpose for writing her personal narrative was to tell the story of her best friends.

cause and effect
a way of explaining the reason (cause) why events occur (effect)

Example: It was snowing outside so school was canceled.
The noisy class could not go outside for recess.

central idea
the key points made in a text; the main ideas

Example: One of the central ideas in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is that even though siblings can make you angry, we still love them. I know this is true because even when Peter gets angry with Fudge he says the little guy must really look up to me to want to do everything I do.

character actions
the author shows what kind of person the character is through what the character says and does and the reader must make inferences about the character (figure out something about the character)

Example: The character Luke, in The Witches, showed he was brave when he risked his life to get the potion to change the witches into mice and save other children.

chronological order
events are arranged in the order in which they happened (time order)

Example: The life cycle of a butterfly is: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly.

cite evidence
examples in a text that support your answer

Example: The Grand High Witch is the most evil witch of all. I know this because it states in the book that she created a magic potion to get rid of all children in the world.

to join or bring together

Example: The dog is brown. The dog has shaggy fur.
COMBINED sentence: The dog has shaggy, brown fur.

all the ways two things are alike

Example: Moths and butterflies have wings, fly, have a similar life cycle, are insects, etc.

to finish

Example: Complete the math problem 4 + 4 =
Answer: The completed math problem 4 + 4 = 8.

a piece of writing, a brief essay

Example: My composition on how to care for a dog was only five paragraphs long.

to understand

Example: I could not comprehend what the man was saying because he was speaking a language I did not know.

to finish; to bring something to an end

Example: After reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, I could conclude that Fudge looked up to his older brother. I know this is true because he always tried to do everything like his brother Peter.

conclusion / draw a conclusion
make a judgment after considering all the information read

Example: She was able to draw a conclusion that dolphins are smart animals after reading the article because dolphins can use tools, communicate, and be trained by people.

connections / making connections
readers relate what they read to personal experiences (text-to-self), to information from other texts (text-to-text), and to information about the world (text-to-world) in order to enhance understanding of self, text, and life

Example: A text to self connection I can make is between Sheila from Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and a girl that used to be in my fourth grade class. Both girls were always bossy and acted like know-it-alls which made it difficult for them to make friends.

the subjects or topics covered in a book or text

Example: The contents of the article on horses talked about their size, diet, and how to care for a horse.

to show differences

Example: One main difference of moths and butterflies is that moths fly at night while butterflies fly during the day.

to make

Example: I created a text-to-self connection between Sheila from Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and a girl I knew in fourth grade by comparing some similarities between the character in the book and the person I knew.

show or prove something using an example

Example: The superhero was able to demonstrate her power of speed reading by finishing a 1,000 page book in less than a minute!

provide characteristics and features, give a detailed picture of something

Example: The poet described the autumn leaves on the tree as flames in a fireplace, a mix of reds, yellows, oranges, and golds all swaying together.

pieces of information that support or tell more about the main idea

Example: Without details the Harris Burdick pictures would not be as creepy or interesting.

decide something using evidence or facts

Example: A grizzly bear can determine when it’s time to hibernate based on changes in the weather.

to create something

Example: He was able to develop a strong argument for getting a new bike when he showed his parents he was responsible by completing all of his chores, getting good grades in school, and being well-behaved.

to give information, ideas, opinions, etc., about something in writing

Example: It is important to discuss problem with friends with your family so they can help you to find a solution.

give the differences between two or more different items

Example: It is important to distinguish facts from fiction so you learn the truth and not lies.

to explain in greater detail

Example: When you are writing it is important to make sure you elaborate your thoughts using details and examples.

engage the reader
make the reader of your writing excited to read more, interested in what you have written

Example: When you engage the reader, you have done your job as a writer. The person reading your work is now excited and wants to learn more!

to make the reader want to read more

Example: Even though the story was sad, the author was able to entertain me with his writing so much that I continued to read it even as I cried.

a brief composition (piece of writing) on a single subject that usually presents the personal views of the author

Example: I used my research to help me write my essay on Albert Einstein. While researching and writing my essay I discovered that Einstein was a C student, he even received Ds and Fs!

examine and judge carefully

Example: I needed to carefully evaluate which resources I would use for my report, because I found that some of them were filled with errors.

facts, statements, or physical signs that prove
something or support a conclusion

Example: I used the evidence or clues in the text to determine how the main character. I could tell he was scared when he hid under his bed and tried to not make any sounds.

to increase in size or amount

Example: I was able to expand my schema by reading more books about the Civil War.

answer how and why questions, using background knowledge, evidence in the text or prompt, and facts

Example: After reading the article, I was able to explain that even though blue whales can grow to be over 110 feet long and weigh up to 348,000 pounds, they only eat krill which are about the size of my thumb!

say or write in a clear way

Example: Even without using words, the toddler was able to express his anger by stamping her feet and screaming.

a statement that is true.

Example: It is a well-known fact that during the winter temperatures are usually cold.

figurative language
words or a phrase that has a meaning that is different from the literal meaning

Example: I am so hungry I could eat a horse. This means I am very hungry, not that I am actually going to eat a horse!

clues in a story that hint at later events

Example: In the story Little Red Riding Hood, her mother warns her not to to stray from the path, talk to strangers, and be careful of the wolf. When Little Red talks to the wolf, the author is giving the reader a clue that something bad is going to happen next because she did not listen to her mother.

to create or produce

Example: After I read the story I had enough information to generate my answer to the test question.

an extreme exaggeration

Example: The ice cream sundae was so tall it reached a mile into the sky. The extreme exaggeration is that no matter how big of an ice cream sundae a person could make it would be impossible for it to reach a mile into the sky.

to make a guess you can test

Example: I studied the size and color of the egg and could hypothesize that it was laid by a chicken.

to select or pick something based on clues or information given

Example: I was able to identify that the reason the water did not overflow from the cup was that it was being held in by surface tension.

a common expression that doesn’t make sense if you take it literally

Example: Race against the clock. (Means to be in a very big rush, not running a race with a clock.)
Get over it. (Means to move on from something, not climbing over the word it.)

a conclusion that can be made about someone or something based on clues given in the text, the author does not state it, the reader needs to figure it out

Example: John hears a smoke alarm and smells burnt bacon. John can infer that something is burning in the kitchen.

to gain information from reading a text

Example: The author wrote the article on people driving a car while texting to try to inform people that this is a dangerous behavior.

to find the meaning of something

Example: I can interpret the definition of the unknown word by using the context clues in the sentence.

key ideas
main or important ideas in text

Example: The key ideas of the paragraph tells me the most important information in the paragraph.

literal / literal meaning
actual, real, true, fact

Example: She has butterflies in her stomach.
(Literal Meaning: She actually has butterflies flying around inside her stomach.)
(Figurative or Non-Literal Meaning: She is nervous.)

to find

Example: I can locate the definition of an unknown word in a dictionary.

to communicate or inform something unknown

Example: I looked up the definition, or meaning, of the unknown word in the dictionary.

figure of speech comparing two different things

Example: She is the shining star of our school. (Meaning she does well in school and is very liked, not that she is actually a star shining.)
When he saw the bear in front of him, he froze with fear. (Meaning he was so scared he could not move, not that he actually turned to ice.)

how the reader feels about the text while reading

Example: When I read the newspaper article about a little girl finding her family after the tornado I felt happy.

a story

Example: I wrote a narrative about my trip to Alaska and finding a bear salmon fishing in a pond.

a person, place, thing, or idea

Example: The little boy drank the milk. (The nouns in the sentence are boy (person) and milk (thing).)

a belief or feeling about something, not a fact

Example: It is my opinion that students should be able to have recess everyday to use up some energy and play with their friends.

to put into order

Example: After writing my story, I went back to revise my writing so I could organize my thoughts in a chronological order.

to restate in your own words

Example: “Night or owl monkeys are strictly nocturnal.”
In my own words: Night or owl monkeys are only active during the nighttime.

a section of text

Example: To find the answer to the test question, I needed to reread the passage of text.

a figure of speech in which an object or animal is given human feelings, thoughts, or attitudes

Example: Lightning danced across the sky. (Lightning is not alive and therefore could not dance.)

to convince

Example: In my essay, Should Students Have Candy At School, I tried to persuade the reader that all students should be allowed to have candy at school.

sequence of events in a story

Example: The story mountain I made for my fiction writing allowed me to have a detailed plot filled with exciting events.

point of view
the perspective from which a story is told

Example: She went to her best friend’s house to study. They went outside and rode their bikes for 20 minutes then went back to the house to study. (third-person point of view)

2. “Do you love candy?” I asked my friend Roxis. (first-person point of view)

a syllable or word added to the beginning of a root word to change the meaning

Example: disagree – “dis” is the prefix which means not, so disagree means to not agree

I disagree with you. Dogs are not able to fly!

prior knowledge / schema
your background knowledge and experiences about a topic, what you already know about a topic

Example: I could make connections to the book about whales because I had just returned from a trip to the aquarium where I learned some interesting facts about whales.

a question or an instructions that tells you what you’re supposed to write

Example: On the NJASK, the prompt said to write about a time I had to keep a secret.

a word that takes the place of a noun

Example: Sally and Jane went to the movies.
WITH a pronoun: They went to the movies.

to give

Example: I always provide the reader enough information about what I am writing about because I always use details and examples to support my work.

the reason why something is done

Example: The purpose of school is to learn and grow as a person so children become successful adults.

to write the exact words of someone else

Example: In my report about Barack Obama, I included a quote he said about learning from mistakes, “You can’t let your failures define you — you have to let your failures teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently the next time.”

to go back to, reference, use to help guide you

Example: The directions told me to refer to the text to find the answer to the question. I did refer to the text, found the information I needed and got the question correct!

use as sources of information

I included many details about orangutans because I used my reference books carefully and found the best facts to share.

to tell again

Example: I was able to retell all of the events about the assembly because I paid close attention to what was presented while I was there.

to study material studied before

Example: Every night I review my information about the branches of the government so I make sure I learn all the information before the test.

root word
the base or main word

Example: If I take away the prefix “dis-” from the word disagree, I am left with the root word agree.

a part of a written work

Example: The nonfiction book was written in different sections, each one had a subheading so I knew just where to look to find my information.

to chose or pick

Example: I looked over the answer choices carefully, reread the text, and then I was able to select the best answer.

sequential order
chronological, or time, order of events in a reading passage

Example: The sequential order of the events for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich are: 1. Get bread, peanut butter, jelly, a plate and a knife. 2. Spread peanut butter and jelly on the bread. 3. Put the two slices of bread together. 4. Eat and enjoy! YUM!

the time and place of an event

Example: The setting for many of the main events in the book Polar Express is aboard the train during the night before Christmas.

a figure of speech in which two different things are compared by the using the word like or as

Example: Her eyes were shining like stars in the sky.

clearly defined or identified

Example: I wanted to make sure my answer was clear, so I used specific details to make a movie in the reader’s mind.

a group of lines in a poem (similar to paragraphs in a narrative)
(stanza 1) I’m happy to say that today is the day.
I’m super excited. I’m shouting, “Hooray!”

(stanza 2) I woke up delighted and ready to go.
My mind is abuzz and my eyes are aglow.
(“Today is the Day” by: Kenn Nesbitt)

something that has been said or written

Example: I will refer to an earlier statement that President Obama made, “You can’t let your failures define you — you have to let your failures teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently the next time.”

a syllable or word added to the end of a root word to change the meaning

Example: preventable- “able” is the suffix which means able to be, so preventable means to be able to make something not happen.

The accident was preventable, all he had to do was look both ways before going into the street.

to propose as an idea or possibility

Example: I suggest that everyone try their best everyday and the reward will be success in whatever you try to do.

summary / summarize
telling the main points briefly / to tell the main points in a short, simple and clear way

Example: “Life with his little brother, Fudge, makes Peter Hatcher feel like a fourth grade nothing. Whether Fudge is throwing a temper tantrum in a shoe store, smearing mashed potatoes on the walls at Hamburger Heaven, or trying to fly, he’s never far from trouble. He’s an almost three-year-old terror who gets away with everything, and Peter’s had it up to here! When Fudge walks off with Dribble, Peter’s pet turtle, it’s the last straw. Peter has put up with Fudge for too long. Way too long! How can he get his parents to pay attention to him for a change?”

to provide evidence for

Example: I can support my claim that students receive better grades when they study because I have seen this happen in my classroom hundreds of times over the years I have been teaching.

putting all the different parts together to create a whole new thing

Example: Synthesizing is like baking a cake, you put all the different ingredients (parts) together to make a whole new thing (a cake).

the central message, what the author wants you to know, usually not stated but must be inferred by the reader

Example: Themes are big ideas. The theme in “The Ugly Duckling” is to have patience (good things come to those who wait), have self-confidence (believe in yourself and don’t worry about what others think of you) and individuality (it’s awesome to be you, even if that means you are different than everyone else).

third person vs. first person
first person – you are the character and you are describing your adventures

First Person Example: “I did that. I went there. I thought that.”

third person – you are observing the character as he or she experiences his or her adventures

Third Person Example: “He did that. She went there. He thought that.”

the way the author feels about the subject he or she is writing about

Example: “…the next minute, Winn Dixie looked like a furry bullet, shooting across the the building, chasing the mouse. They really went wild when Winn Dixie actually caught the mouse.”

(The author’s tone is excitement and enthusiasm, this helps the reader feel an excited mood when reading the story.)

topic sentence
a topic sentence tells you what a paragraph is about, it is the most important sentence in a paragraph and contains the main idea of a paragraph

Example: I had a great time at my friend’s birthday party! First we played some games, I won three prizes. We ate cake and ice cream and we watched my friend open presents. I can’t wait to go to another party!

(The topic sentence is “I had a great time at my friend’s birthday party!”)

is a word that shows an action (bring, read, walk, run, learn), an occurrence (happen, become), or a state of being (be, exist, stand)

Examples: I ran across the street. (action)
She has become so mean. (occurrence)
They will be excited at the surprise party. (state of being)

to form a mental image of

Example: I was able to visualize the witches changing into mice in the book The Witches because Roald Dahl wrote such a vivid and detailed passage.