A collection of scenes that forms a major segment of a play



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Glossary STAAR Terms

Act


a collection of scenes that forms a major segment of a play

Affix


a set of letters attached to the beginning or the end of a root word that changes the word’s meaning

Alliteration

the repetition of the beginning sound of a word

Allusion

a reference to a famous person, event or work of literature

Analogy


a word relationship that compares two dissimilar things

Antonyms

words that have opposite or nearly opposite meanings

Aphorism

a succinct statement of a philosophy or principle; often quoted

Argument

an attempt to persuade someone on a topic open to debate

Author’s purpose

the reason the author wrote the passage

Author’s viewpoint

in persuasive text, the author’s attitude toward or opinion about the subject

Caricature

a fallacy that involves an exaggerated, overly simplified version of an opposing point of view

Cause


the reason something happens, such as an event or action

Character

a person, animal, or other creature in a work of fiction

Claim


a statement of the author’s point of view

Climax


the turning point in the story, usually the most exciting part

Commonplace assertion

a statement that many people assume to be true, though it may or may not actually be true

Compare


to study the similarities between two things

Conflict


a struggle or problem that a character in a story must resolve

Context clue

a word, phrase, or sentence in the text around an unfamiliar word that helps you identify the word’s meaning

Contrast

to evaluate the differences between two things

Diagram

an illustration with labels that describes something or shows how it works

Dialogue

what a character is saying

Dictionary

a book or online reference that contains an alphabetical listing of words, including their parts of speech, syllabifications, pronunciations, meanings, and origins

Directions

a set of instructions with multiple steps

Drama


a play written to be performed. The story is divided into acts and scenes, and told with stage directions and dialogue.

Draw conclusions

to use details, facts, and evidence from a text come to a new understanding about a topic or idea

Effect


what happens as a result of an event or action

Epic poetry

lengthy narrative poetry that may tell a story of a great hero or mythical adventure.

Epigraph

a quote set apart from the a body of text at the beginning of a chapter or speech

Exposition

the beginning of the story; introduces the setting, characters, and problem

Extended metaphor

a detailed, complex metaphor that continues through a long section of text

Extraneous information

extra information that is not necessary

Factual claim

a statement that can be verified, independently and objectively with facts, personal observations, reliable sources, or an expert’s findings.

Fallacy


a persuasive technique that does not rely on sound reasoning

Falling action

point in a story where the conflict begins to be resolved

False assumption

the fallacy of an idea or a principle that is untrue

Flowchart

a graphic that shows the sequence of steps in a process, typically with boxes, circles, and arrows

Figurative language

words that express more than their literal meaning

First person

a point of view in which the narrator is a character in the story who reveals personal thoughts and feelings, and cannot reveal the thoughts and feelings of other characters

Graph


a diagram that shows relationships between sets of data; examples: bar graph, line graph

Graphic

a visual representation of information or ideas

Glossary

an alphabetical list of important words or technical terms and their definitions, often found at the back of a nonfiction publication

Illustration

a photograph or drawing related to a text

Incorrect premise

the fallacy of an erroneous basis for a logical statement

Infer


to use details in the passage and what you already know about the topic to make an educated guess about an unstated idea

Leading question

a fallacy in the form of a question that suggests the desired answer or tries to make the audience think in a particular way

Legend


explanatory list of symbols or colors on a graphic

Literary devices

the effective narrative techniques used in literature to produce a specific effect

Loaded term

in persuasive text, a word or phrase that reveals the author’s feelings and rouses the reader’s emotions

Lyric poem

a poem, often short, in which the poet conveys an emotion or paints a word picture of his or her experience in a particular situation

Main idea

the main point a writer wants to communicate with a text

Make inferences

to think about the clues in the text along with your own prior knowledge in order to make an educated guess about an unstated idea

Map


a representation of regions on Earth and their geographical or political features

Media


any platform used to reach a vast audience, such as radio, television, Internet, and newspapers

Metaphor


a type of figurative language that compares two unlike things or ideas by stating that one thing is something else

Motivation

a reason why a character acts the way he or she does

Multiple-meaning word

a word that has more than one meaning

Myth


a story about unreal or immortal characters, often explaining some aspect of the natural world

Narrator

someone who tells the story in a work of fiction

Opinion

a personal belief; a statement that cannot be proven true

Organizational pattern

the logical structure in which text is arranged, such as a sequence, comparison and contrast, problem and solution, or cause and effect

Parallelism

the repetition of phrases that contain similar words or have the same grammatical structure

Paraphrase

to summarize part of or all of a text you read in your own words

Persuasive text

a text in which the author is trying to convince the reader of something

Plot


the sequence of events in fiction or drama

Poetry


structured, imaginative writing. Poetry may have variations in the arrangement of words on the page, the length of the lines of text, or patterns of rhyme and meter

Point of view

in a work of fiction, the narrator’s outlook in relation to the story

Prefix


an affix added to the beginning of a root word

Primary source

something written by a witness at the time an event occurred

Prior knowledge

the information, experiences, ideas, and beliefs that you already have

Problem


a conflict or difficulty

Procedural text

step-by-step instructions for completing a task or project

Prose


ordinary language in the style of everyday speech, with sentences grouped into paragraphs and a continuous flow of text

Resolution

the ending of a story, when the conflict is resolved

Rising action

the bulk of the story, during which the character works to resolve the problem

Root


the main part of a word

Scene


a portion of a play that takes place in one location

Secondary source

something written after an even occurred by someone who didn’t witness the event

Sensory language

language that appeals to one or more of the five senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch

Sequence


a presentation of information or events in the order in which they happen

Setting


the time and location in which a story takes place

Simile

a type of figurative language that compares two unlike things or ideas by using the word like or as

Solution

a resolution to a conflict or a way of overcoming a difficulty

Stage directions

italicized words in a drama that describe the unspoken parts of a play; where the characters are, how they are acting, and what is happening around them

Subplot


a smaller plot within the main plot or a story

Suffix


an affix added to the end of a root word

Summary


a short restatement of a longer text in the reader’s own words

Supporting detail

an example, reason, fact, or description that backs up the main idea of a text

Synonyms

words that have similar meanings

Table


an arrangement of information in columns and rows

Theme


the central message or lesson of a literary work

Thesaurus

a book or online reference that contains an alphabetical listing of words, including their synonyms and antonyms

Third-person limited

a point of view in which the narrator is not a character in the story but can see into the mind of one of the characters, often the main character

Third-person objective

a point of view in which the narrator cannot see into the minds of any of the characters and tells only what can be directly observed, without passing judgment on what is happening

Third-person omniscient

a point of view in which the narrator is an all-knowing outsider who can see into the minds of all the characters in the story

Timeline

a representation of events in chronological order

Tone


aspects of writing that reveal the emotions that an author brings to a subject. Tone can be positive, negative, or neutral.

Topic sentence

a sentence that states a paragraph’s main idea

Trait

a quality that defines a character
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