Learning to Decode Words

When reading, children are going to face words that they don’t know.  Many children will just stop and look to you for help, or make up a word, or just skip it all together.  My school system has come up with a list of strategies for a reader to use to try and decode the word.  They are:

  1. Look at the pictures and think about what makes sense.
  2. Go back, reread, and think about what makes sense.
  3. Think! Do I know this word? Do I know how to write this word?
  4. Look at the beginning letter or letters.
  5. Get my mouth ready to say the beginning sound or sounds.
  6. Look at the beginning letter or letters and then look for the parts I know.
  7. Check the beginning and then look at the last letter or letters in the word.
  8. Try a word and think:  Does it make sense? Does it look right? Does it sound like the English language?
  9. Skip it and go on.

Please notice that the number one strategy is to look at the pictures.  Please don’t cover the pictures when your child is decoding, they are a very useful tool.

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