Jargon buster: 'Homophones' to 'levelled books'

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High frequency words

These are the words that occur most commonly in the English language. Some are decodable, like 'much', whilst others are tricky, like 'the'.

Home books

Reading books sent home from school for your child to read. These may be from a reading series so your child can practise early reading skills or from the class or school library so you can share and discuss.


Words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings, origins or spellings.

For example: 'new' and 'knew'; 'threw' and 'through'; 'waste' and 'waist'.

Video: What are homophones?

Activity: Grammar: Homophones (Age 6–7)

Hyphen -

Used to join two or more words that should be read as a single unit. A hyphen is shorter than a dash.

For example: great-aunt; fair-haired.

A hyphen is also used to help avoid ambiguity.

For example: a man eating fish; a man-eating fish.

A hyphen is sometimes used between a prefix and a root word, especially if the hyphen makes the word easier to read.

For example: co-own; re-educate.


Individual reading

Reading one-to-one or alone.


A change to the ending or spelling of a word, which changes its meaning slightly.

For example: walks, walked; house, houses; mouse, mice.

Sometimes the whole word changes.

For example: 'went' is an inflection of 'go'.

Information books

Books that contain facts or information including reference books such as dictionaries, atlases and encyclopaedias.

Inverted commas “ ”

Inverted commas, or speech marks, show when people are actually speaking.

For example:I’m beginning to understand,” he said.

The punctuation at the end of the spoken words always comes inside the final set of inverted commas.

For example: “I can’t hold on any longer!” Alex cried.

You may see single (‘ ’) or double (“ ”) inverted commas, depending on what you are reading. It is important to use the same style across work for consistency.

Activity: Inverted commas (Age 7–8)

Inverse operations

We say that addition and subtraction are inverse operations; this means that we can use one operation to 'undo' the other. For example, you can undo adding 5 by taking away 5. Multiplication and division are also inverse operations. If you multiply a number by 10, you can undo this by dividing by 10.

Children are taught to use inverse operations to check their answers to a question. If they work out that 15 + 35 = 50, they might check this by subtracting 35 from 50 to see if they get 15.


Levelled books

Books from a reading series that have been written in levels of difficulty to enable a child to take small but steady steps to reading success. As children's skills increase so children can read more and the need for such careful levelling lessens. Read more about book bands and reading levels >.

Long division

See division.

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