Style Guide

p = .01 (probability)

P (percentage)

page / Page
The word page is treated as a common noun, even if followed by a numeral. See book parts or sections for further discussion.

See journals, issue numbers in reference lists

paired reading



Parent Teacher Association = PTA

Parent Teacher Student Association = PTSA

part / Part
When part is followed by a numeral or letter and refers to a specific section of a book, use capital P (e.g., Part 1, Parts A and B). See book parts or sections for further discussion.

Pascal's triangle

PASS = Program of Assisted Studies and Support (program in New York state public schools)

pass-or-fail (adj.)

past ILA Board member

Past President / past president
ILA past presidents convened at ILA headquarters.
ILA Immediate Past President Diane Barone, but International Reading Association past president Jack Cassidy

Note: Immediate Past President is an official title that should be capitalized. Past president is an unofficial title that should remain lowercased even when preceding a name. Wherever possible, please employ the following structure: "Jack Cassidy, a past president of the International Reading Association,…"

When identifying any past president prior to 2015, when we changed our name from International Reading Association to International Literacy Association, we are to use our former name in the context, spelled out in full. For example, Jack Cassidy, a past president of the International Reading Association (now the International Literacy Association) conducted the What's Hot, What's Not survey for 20 years (or use ILA if the full name is already given in copy). International Reading Association past president Jack Cassidy conducted the What's Hot, What's Not survey for 20 years.

peer-coaching (adj.)

percent / % (see APA 6th, 4.45d)

  • Use the symbol for percent only when it is preceded by a numeral, or to save space in table or figure heads.
  • Use the word percent after a number that has been spelled out.
  • When no number is given, use the word percentage.

per se (no italics or underline)

PhD (Upper–lower–upper case. Do not include periods after h and D.)
When appended to a person's name, academic degrees are preceded and followed by commas (Jean Lamont Grayson, PhD, will be the keynote speaker). Change instituted to bring main guide into conformity with abbreviations list. Same changes hold for degrees BA, MA, EdD, etc.

phenomena / phenomenon
The word phenomena is always plural. The correct singular form is phenomenon. Thus, "These are phenomena we cannot explain," and "This is an unusual phenomenon" are examples of correct usage.

phone book

letters within slashes are not italicized (e.g., /s/)

phoneme-elision task


picture book

picture walk



p.m. (lowercase or small caps, with periods)

PO / P.O.
The abbreviation of post office appears without periods in contexts where state abbreviations do not take periods (e.g., in most postal address formats). In contexts where state names would normally be spelled out (e.g., in most running text), Post Office may be abbreviated with periods, but only if no inconsistency would result (i.e., only if a list-style address is not used elsewhere in the piece).

poetry fluency partner

policymaker, policymaking
In February 2002, the Style Guide subcommittee voted to adopt the closed forms policymaker and policymaking as standard. This change brings ILA style into conformity with the latest (2001) edition of WNWD.


pore (used with over, as in to read or study attentively)

PORPE = Predict, Organize, Rehearse, Practice, Evaluate

position statements, titles
A phrase such as "a position statement of the International Literacy Association" should not be considered part of the document's title but simply a description. Thus, most position statements by ILA and other organizations should be cited in the following form:

International Literacy Association. (1999). High-stakes assessment in reading (Position statement). Newark, DE: Author.

Exceptions can occur if the Library of Congress specifically identifies the phrase as a subtitle (see Moore, D.W., et al. [1999] in the reference list) or if an editor elects to use a different form for the sake of consistency within a document or series.

Compounds formed with the prefix post- are normally closed (CMS 15th, 7.90):
postgraduate, postsecondary, postmodern, poststructuralism, postproduction, posttest, postreading, posttreatment, posttypographic
but post-1970s

post-hoc (adj.)

This term is a registered trademark and should not be used in text as a common noun. Instead, refer to a flag, a posted note, sticky note, or something similar. See trade names.

post office box numbers, ILA



  1. Compounds formed with the prefix pre- are normally closed (CMS 15th, 7.90):
    preempt, prereading, preexisting, preschool, prekindergarten, pretest
  2. When pre comes before an open compound, an en-dash is used in place of a hyphen:
    pre–Civil War pre–Independence Day

Predict, Organize, Rehearse, Practice, Evaluate = PORPE

predicate adjective
an adjective that follows a linking verb and modifies the subject (He is kind; She felt awkward.)

predicate noun or predicate nominative
a noun that follows a linking verb and describes or renames the subject (He is king.)

predominate / predominant
Although the use of predominate as an adjective dates back several centuries, it seems never to have been the more common form. At present, the preferred adjective is predominant. The same is true of the adverbial forms: although some authors use predominately, the preferred form is predominantly.


preface / Preface
Capitalize preface if the word is used to name a part of a specific book (e.g., "In his Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth speculated on the effects his poems would have on ‘the present state of the public taste’ in England." Otherwise, lowercase (e.g., "In his prefaces to the various editions of Lyrical Ballads, Wordsworth judged his readers’ tastes as either ‘healthy’ or ‘depraved.’") See book parts or sections for further discussion.

Hyphenated form for abbreviation. (Note that the fully spelled prekindergarten is not hyphenated.)

prekindergarten (closed form is listed as spelled-out term)

the preliminary program


premier / premiere
Premier is an adjective meaning "first" or "highest," or a noun referring to a high political officer. Premiere is a noun, adjective, or verb referring to a first showing (e.g., the premiere of a movie, "the movie will premiere," "the premiere showing of the exhibition").




preschool (no hyphen as noun or adjective)

preservice / preservice teachers = PSTs

President / president

As of 2015, we no longer use the terms President of ILA, ILA President, or President (with last name).

ILA President of the Board William Teale met with President Obama. We spoke with William Teale, ILA's President of the Board, about his plans for ILA Conference & Exhibits. William Teale became ILA's President of the Board while Barack Obama was president of the United States. ILA's President of the Board met with the U.S. president. (See CMS 15th, 8.21)


pre- and posttest

primary-grade / primary-level (adj.)

print out(v.)

printout (n.)


print-rich (adj. preceding noun)

privilege (v.)

problem and solution (n.)

problem solver


professional titles
Civil, military, religious, and professional titles are capitalized when used as part of a formal title and when they immediately precede a personal name. Titles are normally lowercased when following a name or used in place of a name.

We spoke with Professor John Pikulski.


We spoke with John Pikulski, professor of education at the University of Delaware.

Pikulski is a professor of education at the University of Delaware and past president of the International Literacy Association.

Exceptions to the general rule: However, in formal contexts (as opposed to running text, such as a list of contributors in the fornt matter of a book), titles are often capitalized even when following a personal name. Exceptions may also be called for in promotional or other contexts.

professor / Professor

  1. Capitalize as part of a formal title, especially when preceding a person’s name: We spoke with Professor John Pikulski.
  2. Otherwise lowercase: We spoke with John Pikulski, professor of education at the University of Delaware. Pikulski is a professor of education at the University of Delaware and past president of the International Literacy Association.

Program of Assisted Studies and Support = PASS

progress-monitoring (adj.)

pro- ject´ / proj´- ect
An unusual case (a homograph) in which the same seven letters can be hyphenated (and will be pronounced) in two different ways. The first, pro - ject´, is a verb (to project the results based on current trends). The second, proj´- ect, is a noun (e.g., a research project).

proved / proven
Both these words are acceptable past participles of the verb to prove. Whereas proved was once the more popular form, proven is equally popular today. M-WDEU: "You can use whichever form you like."

provide / provide to / provide with
When the verb provide is used transitively it usually appears with an indirect object (i.e., someone or something that receives what is provided) along with its direct object (that which is provided). In such cases, the relative positions (syntax) of the direct and indirect objects will determine which preposition, if any, should be used with provide.

In the examples below, library is the subject, provide is the verb, books is the direct object, and community is the indirect object.

  • The library provides books to the community. (When the direct object precedes the indirect object, the latter will almost always be preceded by the prepositions to or for.)
  • The library provides the community with books. (When the direct object follows the indirect object, it is usually preceded by the preposition with.)

According to M-WDEU, the latter variety of sentence can occur without the preposition (The library often provides the community a convenient meeting place), but ILA authors and editors should reserve this usage for casual settings and instances of clear author preference. "The library provides the community with a meeting place" is standard.




PSTs = preservice teachers


PTA = Parent Teacher Association

PTSA = Parent Teacher Student Association

publications, the Publications Division, the division


Publishers Weekly

punctuation (see individual marks)

pull out (v.)

pull-out (Adjective is hyphenated before the noun, as in "pull-out sessions")

pullout (n., as in "The pullout of American troops will begin in December.")

pupils / students
Of several references checked, only Words Into Type, 3rd edition, makes a distinction: generally, elementary school pupils; high school or college students. ILA authors may use the terms interchangeably. ILA editors should be aware that some authors insist on the distinction.