Friday, October 25, 2013

Super Sleuth Blog Hop! Decoding Skills

Decoding Skills

Decoding skills are essential for early readers! Having the ability to decode words means that the reader has an understanding of letter-sound relationships. When students understand this relationship they are able to recognize familiar words as well as figure out unfamiliar words quickly. Some students will learn decoding skills quickly and with little guidance while other students may struggle and need additional support in learning to recognize the letter-sound relationships. One way that you can help all of your students is through the use of phonics. I know that many schools have stepped away from using phonics programs but you don't need a program to teach phonics skills to your students.

Often, with students who struggle with decoding, you will notice that the child has difficulty matching sounds to letters. You may notice that the student struggles with reading words and guesses at words based on the first letter or two. You may also notice that even though you've taught certain blends, sounds, or patterns that the student isn't applying them while reading. When you begin to notice these problems you know that you have a decoding issue on your hands. Don't worry, there are many things that you can do to help your little readers!

 1. Allow students to play with letters (magnetic, letter tiles, etc) and give them simple tasks such as putting the letters in alphabetical order
2. Collect pictures (from magazines, newspapers, photos, etc.) of common words the students may see throughout their homes, school, or community. See if students are able to identify these words quickly.
3. Have students sort pictures and words by sounds. They can sort by beginning, medial, or ending sound. You can also have them sort by blends.
4. Don't teach phonics in isolation! Have students practice their phonics skills, building on previously taught skills, by completing reading or writing activities using the skills they have learned.
5. Keep students engaged. Find fun and meaningful centers, books, and activities that help the students practice their decoding skills.
6. Utilize technology. Find interactive games for students to practice matching sounds to letters, words, or pictures. Use programs such as Starfall to help students build fluency and decoding skills. Make interactive white board games for students. Use iPods and tablets to play education apps. There is so much that technology can offer your students, so be sure to use it!
5. Make extra time to help your targeted students.

When I'm working with my small group 1st grade class we always focus on phonics. My students are very low readers and many of them do not know the sounds that the letters make and I have a few who still don't understand the relationship between letters and sounds. To help my struggling readers we practice each letter's sound everyday! After we practice our sounds I will focus on a specific letter or blend for the day. After practicing on our daily letter/blend we then always do some sort of hands on activity. My little learners love playing on my interactive white board but sometimes I really like them to have something tangible to complete that I can place in their folders or display around my room. They have been working very hard to gain a better understanding of the letter-sound relationship and I can't wait to let them to get their hands on my Mystery Words! decoding activity.

This is a decoding game that I created to help my students practice individual sounds as well as blended sounds. I can't wait for them to get their hands on these fun words and to realize how much they have learned in the past few months. This activity is great for struggling readers or for beginning readers.

To get your copy of Mystery Words! Cracking the Phonics Code click the image above. Positive feedback would be greatly appreciated! 

Now that you've learned a little about decoding, you're ready for my clue.  On your form, you can record the letter...
Click the "R" to download your recording form! 

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Now, on to the...



  1. Thank you for linking up this week at Teaching Blog Addict and offering our follower such a terrific freebie! I am your newest Blog and Bloglovin' follower!
    Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!
    Fern Smith's Pinterest Boards!

  2. I also posted twice in one day - same as you Blog Hop and 5 for Friday!

  3. Thanks for sharing information about decoding and your Mystery Words activity!

    Read With Me ABC

  4. Oh my gosh, this is a life saver! I am student teaching a first grade class right now, and many of them are struggling with decoding as well. Thank you!!

    Sarah Beth
    Miss White's Classroom

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