Below you will find definitions of some common words and phrases that are often used by teachers and dyslexia specialists:

Consonant blend

Two or more adjacent letters whose individual sounds blend together smoothly, e.g. st, cr, spl.

Cursive writing

A style of handwriting in which all the individual letters of each word, except for the capital letter at the beginning, are joined together smoothly.


In reading, the interpretation of any set of symbols.
In speech, trying to understand the meaning of a word, phrase or sentence.


Errors relating to reading.


The study of word structure, including root words and affixes.

Multi-sensory learning

Using two or more of the senses simultaneously so that the stronger sense can support the weaker. In literacy work the visual, auditory and kinaesthetic senses are the most frequently used.

Phonemic awareness

Being able to hear the distinctive sound units (phonemes) in a word, e.g.drag is (d) ® (ă) (g).

Phonological awareness

Awareness of sounds within words, including rhyming, alliteration and phonemic segmentation.

Phonological processing

Phonology refers to the sound-structure of language. Words can be divided into different units of sound including phonemes (the small sounds, which are often represented by a single letter) and syllables (the number of beats). Phonological skills include the ability to segment word sounds and the ability to blend sounds together.

Processing speed

Simply the amount of time it takes to think or carry out some mental process. Sometimes people are described as ‘slow processors’ reflecting the fact that they need more time to think and to respond; they are capable of understanding and reasoning effectively but need a little more time to do so.


The process by which information from long-term memory is accessed and made available for use.


The study of the meaning of language.

Short term memory

An earlier, everyday term for working memory. See Working Memory.


The replacement of one element with another in reading, producing errors, such as home for house or supper for surprise.


The grammatical arrangement of words in a sentence.

Working Memory

The brain system that provides temporary storage and manipulation of the information necessary for cognitive tasks, such as language, comprehension, learning and reasoning.