Toolkit Appendix: Definition of Terms

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The following words have many definitions and connotations as they are used in a multitude of settings. Within this tool kit, the following terms and phrases follow the definitions provided below.

Age Designations

The following terms apply to the corresponding ages/grades of children:

  • Toddler- Children between the ages of two and four.
  • Preschool – Children between the ages of four and six.
  • Primary – Children in school in grades one through three. Generally, these children are between the ages of six and nine.
  • Intermediate – Children in school in grades four through six. Generally, these children are between the ages of ten and twelve.
  • Middle Schoolers – Adolescents in school in grades six through eight. Generally, these children are between the ages of twelve and fourteen.
  • High Schoolers – Adolescents in school in grades nine through twelve. Generally, these children are between the ages of fifteen and eighteen.
  • Young Adult – Adolescents between the ages of twelve and eighteen.


The term bilingual refers to language facilities. Those individuals who speak two languages, such as Spanish and English, are bilingual.


Children are defined as young people from birth to eighteen years old.


Code-switching refers to the practice of speaking or writing in one language but inserting words and phrases from another language into the dialogue. Notice the code-switching in the following example from Susan Middleton Elya’s Oh No, Gotta Go!:

We were out driving, down the camino.
Papá and Mamá were dressed muy fino.//

The backseat was mine, my favorite spot,
until I remembered the thing I forgot.
“Where is un baño?
¿Dónde está?

I really do need one,” I told mi mama. (Elya 2003, [4-6])

Dual Language

Dual language is the adjective applied to books that present a complete text in two languages. Ginger Foglesong Guy’s counting book, ¡Fiesta!, for example, employs one color for the printing of the Spanish text and another color for printing the English text. The first page reads:

“Una canasta
One basket” (Guy 1996, [2])


An immigrant is a person that comes to a country where they were not born for purpose of permanent residence. Immigrants are individuals living and/or working in the United States who are not native born.


Someone who is habitually moving from place to place in order to find seasonal work is refered to as a migrant. A migrant worker is the term for individuals who primarily work in agricultural, dairy, or fish farms. The term migrant refers to the spouse, child, or guardian of a migrant worker.

Reading Aloud

Reading aloud is a performance by an adult who reads a passage or chapter or entire book aloud to children. In this tool kit, reading aloud means the reading of books where text dominates, such as novels, short stories, or works of nonfiction aimed at youngsters above the fourth grade.


Spanglish is the mixing of Spanish and English to form words and phrases not found in either language. Spanish-English hybrid words reflect two co-existing worlds, according to many linguists, although language purists decry colloquial vocabulary. The title of David Rice’s collection of short stories, Crazy Loco, is one example of Spanglish, as is this excerpt from A Crazy Mixed-Up Spanglish Day by Marisa Montes.

“¡Gabí!” everyone screamed at the same time.
“¿Gabí, qué pasó?” Mami and Tío Julio rushed to my side. Tío helped me up.
Estoy okay,” I said. “I just tripped en la . . . carpeta. I forgot mi, uh . . . lonche, so I ran back . . . "
Mami checked me over and made sure I was really okay. Then she asked, “Gabí, why are you speaking Spanglish? You know that carpeta and lonche are not really Spanish words.” (Montes 2003, 84)

Story time

Story time is a planned program for youngsters between the ages of birth and eight. Librarians will read at least one book, usually a picture book, to a group of young children. Songs, fingerplays, and craft activities may be included in story time.

Translated Books

Translated books are those books originally written in one language but also produced in a separate edition in another language. These may be books initially appearing in English, such as Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chávez written by Kathleen Krull and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, that have accompanying Spanish editions, in this case Cosechando esperanza: La historia de César Chávez, translated by F. Isabel Campoy and Alma Flor Ada. Translated books also include those books originally written in Spanish, such as El aprendiz by Pilar Molina Llorente and translated into English. Robin Longshaw translates this particular English language edition, The Apprentice.

Created on Jun 12, 2016 | Last updated June 12, 2016