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Study Guide

GA Milestones Study Guide  Name_____________________

Prefixes/suffixes/root words:

A prefix is added to the beginning of a word AND it changes the word meaning.

Examples of prefixes:

  1. un—not (example: untie)
  2. mis-- not (example: misunderstand)
  3. in—not (example: incorrect)
  4. im—not (example: impossible)
  5. re—again (example:  redo)
  6. dis—not (example: disappear)
  7. pre-before (example: preschool)

A suffix comes at the end of a word AND changes the word meaning.

Examples of suffixes:

1. ful—to be full of something (Example: thankful—to be full of thanks)

2. ed—makes the verb past tense (Example: played. I played outside yesterday)

3. s—usually makes a noun plural (Example: cat—cats. The cats were drinking milk)

4. ing— present tense; usually the suffix on a verb AFTER a helping verb (Ex. Is Jumping, was swimming)

5. ly—slowly, lovely, cautiously, quickly

A root word is the main part of the word; it can also be called “main word” or “base word”. It stands alone because it does NOT have a prefix or a suffix.

Homophones: Words that sound the same but have different spellings and meanings. Hint: Homophone=sound!

Examples: pair/pear         two/to/too         know/no              hair/hare             knew/new           so/sew                 ate/eight

Where/wear       their/they’re/there          bare/bear            write/right          bored/board       blue/blew               deer/dear

By/bye/buy         pair/pear             peace/piece        see/sea                aunt/ant

Multiple meaning words: one word (same spelling and pronunciation) that can have more than on meaning. You MUST use context clues to figure out what meaning is used in the sentence.

Example: Bank—a river bank OR a place that keeps your money safe

Bed- a piece of furniture meant for sleeping OR a flower bed

Keys—a piece of metal used to unlock a door OR the buttons on a keyboard.

Synonyms and antonyms—

Synonyms- words that mean the SAME. Remember…S S Synonym, S S Same! EX: cold and freezing, pretty and beautiful

Antonyms- words that are opposites. Ex: hot and cold, mean and nice, dark and light

Fact and Opinion—

Fact- something that can be proven. Ex: Athens in a city in Georgia. (This can be proven!)

Opinion- something you or someone else thinks. Ex: Savannah is the most beautiful city in Georgia. (Not everyone will agree. They may feel that another city is the most beautiful.

Figurative Language—

Simile- a comparison using “like” or “as”. Example 1: The baby is as cute as a button. The baby is being compared to a button and it is using the word “as”. Example 2: The boy runs like the wind. The boy is being compared to the wind using the word “like”.

Metaphor- a comparison that DOES NOT use “like” or “as”. Remember: A metaphor is and a metaphor was.                                 Example 1: The snow was a blanket of white. Here, the snow is being compared to the blanket and it does NOT use like or as.

Idiom—words or phrases that say one thing, but they really mean another. Ex: “it’s raining cats and dogs”, “He’s pulling your leg”, “You’re in a pickle”, “don’t spill the beans”, “and stop beating around the bush”, “The cats out of the bag”.

Alliteration—a sound being repeated over and over. Ex: Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers. The P is repeated over and over. Also, think of the warm ups that you have done with Mr. Altman.

Onomatopoeia- a sound effect. It has to be spelled out. Ex: bam, wham, pow, boom, shazoom, woosh, splash, drip, buzz, honk, chug, etc. It can also be animal sounds like cock-a-doodle-doo, meow, ruff, oink, quack, etc.

Hyperbole—an extreme exaggeration. Ex: She was taller than the empire state building. It is so hot outside, I could catch on fire. I am so hungry I could eat a horse. I have a gazillion things to do. She’s as thin as a toothpick.

Personification- Giving human or PERSON like qualities to an animal or object. Ex: My pencil grew legs and walked off. My computer throws a fit every time I try to use it. The flowers danced in the wind. The blizzard swallowed them whole.

Palindrome- a word or words that are spelled the same forward and backwards Ex: racecar, mom, pop, level, yo banna boy, Hannah, 1111, 2112, 1234321, 1991, 2002

Pun-a joke, or a play on words. Ex: laffy taffy jokes or valentines. “I’m not lion, I’m crazy about you.”

Adages and proverbs- offer advice and observations about life. Examples: “A wash pot never boils” which means things you look forward to seem to take a long time to happen. “The early bird catches the worm” which means if you start something early, you have a better chance at succeeding at it.


Rhyme scheme: figuring out which lines rhyme with others in a poem. You use the alphabet. If the lines rhyme, they have t he same letter. Example: Lines 2 and 4 are both labeled B because they rhyme with each other.

Roses are red   A

Violets are blue   B

Sugar is sweet   C

And so are you   B

Stanza: a paragraph in a poem. It does NOT have indentions. There is usually a space between chunks of words. This will help you determine how many stanzas are in a poem.

Imagery- using the 5 senses to help you describe something. The 5 senses are hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and seeing.

THEME— The message or lesson in the story; similar to the main idea; clues could be found in the title, as well as throughout the entire story. It is usually the MORAL to the story.  EX: Kind Midas and the golden touch—don’t be greedy OR be grateful for what you already have.      EX: The Little Red Hen—be a hard worker OR don’t be lazy.

Author’s purpose-- Remember PIE!! P-to persuade (to convince) I- to inform (to teach and give facts) E- to entertain (for your enjoyment)                                                                                                                                                                                   


Realistic fiction: the events, setting, and characters could all be real (Rope Burn, Junie B. Jones, Hatchet)

Historical fiction: events that could be real and is set in the past (Tatanicat, When the Circus Came to Town).

Fantasy: events, setting, and characters could NOT be real (Harry Potter, Narnia, Magic Tree House).

Fairytale: a type of short narrative that has characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants, or gnomes, and they usually contain some type of magic. (Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, etc.).

Fable: a short story that is usually told orally and passed down from one generation to another. It usually has animals such as characters, and it teachers a lesson or a moral of the story (The tortoise and the Hare, The Little Red hen).

Legend: a story that has been passed down for generations, especially one that is presented as history but is unlikely to be true (King Arthur, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow)

Informational text/non-fiction/expository text: TRUE text (textbooks, books used for projects, reference materials).


Stage directions: These are directions for the actors on what to do while on stage. These usually come in parenthesis (…) or italics (slanted words).

Cast: the REAL people who are acting in a play. When we do reader’s theater, your real names are part of the cast list.

Character: the made up people, animals, or objects in a play.

Scenes: the different settings in a play. There can be many scenes in one play. Ex: When we did the reader’s theater “It Takes Talent”, the scenes were the lunchroom, classroom, and auditorium.

Acts: BIG divisions of a play. Normally there will be two acts with an intermission in the middle so that the actors and audience can take a break.

Dialogue: What a character says in a play. There are not quotation marks. Dialogue looks like this in a play:

Mary: Good morning Ted! How have you been doing lately?

Ted: I have been doing fabulous. Are you in town to do a little shopping?

Story Elements—

Setting- Where and when a story takes place. Example: The settings of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe are England, the professor’s house, and the land of Narnia. Setting is also in the PAST because of reference to WWII

Conflict: problem in a story, the trouble that characters face in the story.

Plot event(s): the things that happen in a story that get you from a problem, or conflict, to a resolution… or the problem fixed. You can usually list at least 3 major plot events in a short story.

Resolution: Solution to the problem, or how the problem is solved.

Character traits- helps describe a characters personality. Ex: in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, some of Peter’s character traits are brave, heroic, selfless, serious, etc. Some of the White Witch’s character traits are evil, mean, selfish, naive, etc.

Main idea: This is also known as the CENTRAL IDEA, or the BIG IDEA. The main thing that is going on in a story. It is what the whole story is about. You can use details from the story to help support, or back up your main idea.  Remember the table and how the legs support it.


Reference materials-

Thesaurus: a book of synonyms and antonyms.

Dictionary: a book of words and their definitions. Also has the part of speech, pronunciation, syllables, etc.

Atlas- a book of maps, illustrations and facts about places all over the world.

Encyclopedia- a large volume of books that has articles on a wide range of topics. It gives you facts and information. This is a great place to research!

Almanac: a book that gives you facts about popular topics FOR ONE YEAR ONLY. Example: weather, richest people, top movies, best sports teams, presidents, farming info., etc. *These were your fav. Books we worked on in library.

Parts of a book—

Title Page: has the title of the book, the author, illustrator, and the publisher (remember the publisher is the company who put together and printed the book to sell).

Table of contents: a list of the parts of a book. Usually has chapters, chapter titles, and their page numbers.

Glossary: a list of words and their definitions found in the back of the book.

Index: a list of subjects/topics and pages numbers. This makes it easy for you to go directly to certain information that you need to find.

Other things you need to know—

Comparing: how two things are alike. Similarities.

Contrasting: how two things are different. Differences.

Topic sentence: a sentence that tells what the paragraph is going to be about. Every paragraph has one.

Concluding sentence: sentence at the end of the paragraph that summarizes what the paragraph was about.

Chronological order- putting events in order by time. Ex: first, second, third, then, last.  This is also called the sequence of events.

Cause and effect- One thing happens because of something else. It is like a chain reaction. Ex: I did not do my homework; therefore I will receive a zero. (Look for key words like “because”, “then”, “since”, and “as a result”.)

Context clues: (when you don’t know a word) you can use clues in a sentence to help you figure out word meaning. It is like being a detective).

Summarizing: To retell the main points or plot of a text in your own words.

Point of View- The perspective or attitude of a narrator in a story.

1st person: The narrator IS a character in the story. You will see pronouns like I, me, we, us.

3rd person limited: The narrator is NOT a character in the story. They are on the outside looking in and only know about one character’s thoughts and actions. They are LIMITED to only knowing one character.

3rd person omniscient: The Narrator is NOT in the story. They know EVERYTHING about ALL characters in a story.

Graphic Novel: A genre of writing that uses both panels of illustrations and text to tell a story. Example: comic books

Writing Review:

Narrative Focus standard: Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.

This is to tell a STORY. Be creative! Remember to use the story map and/or mountain graphic organizer to help with your brainstorm. Example:

  1. Conflict:
  2. Plot event 1
  3. Plot event 2:
  4. Plot event 3:
  5. Resolution:

If you use this, you automatically have your standard 5 paragraphs.  USE FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE! Be descriptive! Be creative! MAKE IT UP!

Example of a Narrative prompt you may see:

* Think about a special place you have been or would like to go. It could be near your

home or in a different part of the world. Write a story about one day you spend in this special place.

Informational Focus standard: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

This means to teach someone how to do something, or to give facts and information about something. Be sure to sound like you know what you are talking about! When you brain storm use the idea web with bubbles.

Be sure to use key phrases like “I am going to inform you about….” or “I will now state some facts about…”

Example informational prompt/topic you may see on the writing test:

*Your teacher has asked the class to help third grade students learn about safety. Think

about ways to stay safe at home or at school. Write a report for third grade students explaining ways to avoid accidents and stay safe.

Opinion/argumentative Focus standard: Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.

This means to take a stance on something and to try to convince everyone else (the reader) to do the same. Sometimes you may need to pick a side and convince or persuade your reader to choose that same side.  Use the idea web with bubbles to brainstorm.

Be sure to use key phrases like “I am going to convince you that…” or “I am now going to persuade you to…”

Examples of a persuasive prompt that you may see on the writing test:

*Your principal is asking your class for ideas to improve the school. What change would

you make to improve your school? Write a letter to convince your principal to make your change.


Please remember to USE WORDS FROM YOUR TOPIC! Simply reword it and use it in your introduction paragraph and your closing paragraph.


HOOK YOUR READER. Easiest way to do this is with a question.


Remember to list the 3 things you are going to talk about (your 3 main ideas) in your introduction and closing paragraphs. (This is for an informational or persuasive essay mostly).


Remember to indent two fingers for each new paragraph. Every paragraph must have a topic sentence.


So let’s summarize… In an Informational or Persuasive Essay:


Paragraph 1: Introduction. Make sure you state your purpose. Your purpose comes from your topic/prompt. Reword your topic. Hook your reader. Then, list the 3 things that your next 3 paragraphs will be about (3 separate sentences). Finally, talk to your reader. Use some style. Have swag! J


Paragraph 2: talk about the 1st main idea you listed in your introduction. Give 3 or 4 more detail sentences supporting this main idea. 5 sentences.


Paragraph 3: talk about the 2nd main idea you listed in your introduction. Give 3 or 4 more detail sentences supporting this main idea.


Paragraph 4:  talk about the 3rd main idea you listed in your introduction. Give 3 or 4 more detail sentences supporting this main idea.


Paragraph 5: Closing. Make sure you summarize your whole paper. Reword your topic in PAST TENSE (Examples: I have informed you on how to ride a bicycle, I hope I have convinced you to build a new playground, etc.) Then relist the 3 things you talked about in your body paragraphs (As you can see, I have told you about___________, informed you on____________, and stated some facts about____________).  Then talk to your reader again. Leave them smiling somehow with a cute and stylish way of closing your essay.




a. Be sure to use comma punctuation to separate items in a series. Example: My favorite hobbies are shopping,

swimming, and painting.

b. Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence. Example: As you can see, the

rain has caused major flooding on the playground.

c. Use a comma to set off the words yes and no (e.g., Yes, thank you), to set off a tag question from the rest of

the sentence (e.g., It’s true, isn’t it?), and to indicate direct address (e.g., Is that you, Steve?).


4th Grade Common Core ELA Add-ons


  1.  Academic vocabulary – specialized words used by people who study a certain subject or work in a particular field
  2. Adage – an old familiar saying that expresses wisdom or a truth about human nature
  3. Affix – a prefix or a suffix that is added to a root word
  4. Allusion – a reference to a well-known person, place, event, or piece of literature
  5. Ask and answer questions – to ask and answer questions about key details in a passage and use the text to find the answers that will help you better understand what you are reading
  6. Cause – a reason that something happens
  7. Characters – people or animals that take part in the action of a story
  8. Chart – a graphic organizer that uses columns and rows to organize information; a title and headings tell what the chart is about and what type of information it includes
  9. Chronological order – the order in which things happen
  10. Compare – to show the similarities between two objects, ideas, people, places, events, or passages
  11. Contrast – to show the differences between two objects, ideas, people, places, events, or passages
  12. Dependent clause – a group of words that includes a noun and a verb but does not make sense on its own as a sentence
  13. Diagram – a drawing with labels that shows the different parts of an object or how something works
  14. Dialogue – the words that characters say to each other
  15. Domain specific vocabulary words – words that have a specific meaning in a particular kind of work or field of study, such as science, history, or technology
  16. Effect – result of a cause
  17. Fictional narrative – a story that the author makes up
  18. Firsthand account – a description of an experience or event that is told by someone who participated in the event described
  19. Formal language – language used in school or business settings; words are usually carefully and accurately chosen
  20. Future progressive – a verb tense that indicates an ongoing action that will take place in the future, such as will be talking
  21. Historical nonfiction – nonfiction text that tells about real events or people from the past
  22. Informal language – language used in everyday conversation
  23. Informative text – nonfiction text in which the author presents information about a specific subject
  24. Linking words/phrases – words or phrases that connect ideas to make writing flow better
  25. Map – a picture that shows features such as rivers, mountains, or streets in an area; labels and a key tell about the information shown on the map
  26. Meter – the pattern of rhythm in a poem
  27. Mood – the overall feeling created by a text
  28. Myth – a story that explains something about the world; myths often involve gods or superheroes
  29. Opinion piece – a type of writing in which the author states a personal belief and tries to persuade others to agree
  30. Past progressive – a verb tense that indicates a past action that was happening while another action was taking place, such as was talking
  31. Personal narrative – a type of writing in which the author describes a personal experience
  32. Precise language – words or phrases that are clear and exact
  33. Present progressive – a verb tense that indicates an ongoing action in the present such as am talking
  34. Problem and solution – a text organization in which the information describes a problem and then discusses a solution or solutions
  35. Progressive verb – a verb form used to express and ongoing action that doesn’t have a specific end time
  36. Prose – a form of writing in which one sentence follows another, with sentences arranged in groups called paragraphs
  37. Proverb – an old familiar saying that expresses wisdom or gives advice
  38. Relative adverb – an adverb that introduces a relative clause, such as when, where and why
  39. Relative clause – a group of words that tells more about a noun
  40. Relative pronoun – a pronoun that is used in a relative clause, such as which, that, who, whom and whose
  41. Rhyme – a sound device in which words end with the same sound; rhyme is often used in poetry
  42. Rhythm – the beat, or pattern of sounds, in a poem
  43. Run-on – one or more sentences run together without proper punctuation
  44. Science vocabulary – words that a scientific meaning in a particular area of scientific study
  45. Scientific nonfiction – nonfiction text that provides factual information and explains scientific events, procedures, ideas, or concepts
  46. Secondhand account – a description of an experience or event told by someone who did not directly participate in the events
  47. Sensory language – words that appeal to the five senses; hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch
  48. Sequence of events – the order in which events in text happen
  49. Short story – a made-up tale with characters, a setting, and a plot that is usually short enough to read in one sitting
  50. Stage directions – the words in a drama that tell actors what to do instead of what to say
  51. Summarize – to restate what the most important ideas or information in a passage in your own words
  52. Supporting reasons – the details that support an opinion
  53. Technical texts – informative texts that explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts; these texts explain what happens, why something happens, or how something works
  54. Text features – items such as time lines, graphs, and captions that support the ideas stated in an informative text
  55. Theme – the message about life or people that the author wants the reader to understand
  56. Time line – a graphic that shows the dates when important things happened in a certain time period
  57. Transitional words/phrases – words or phrases that connect ideas to make writing flow better
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