Decoding is the ability to apply your knowledge of letter-sound relationships, including knowledge of letter patterns, to correctly pronounce written words. Understanding these relationships gives children the ability to recognize familiar words quickly and to figure out words they haven't seen before.
Here are some clues that a child may have problems with word decoding and phonics:
- He or she often gets stuck on words when reading and many words need to be told to him or her.
- His or her eading is very slow because so much time is spent figuring out words.
- He or she has difficulty understanding and retelling what has been read because so much mental energy has been expended on figuring out words.
- Saying "sound it out" to him or her just seems to make her more frustrated.
- He or she guesses at words based on the first letter or two; it's as if he or she doesn't pay close attention to the print or read through the words.
Strategies That Can Support Your Child In Decoding:
- Encourage your child to "take a risk" and get his or her mouth ready to say the first sound in the tricky word.
- Have your child "flip" the vowel sound (from shor tot long or from long to short) if the word doesn't sound right.
- Tell your child a tricky word that cannot be sounded out to avoid frustration.
- Have your child look for chunks they know inside larger words.
- Model checking the sounds in the word from left to write. Encourage your child to tap the sounds in the word.