Decoding allows children to access the thousands of words they have already heard but never seen in written form. Difficulty with decoding skills is a hallmark of the struggling reader.
How did you read it? Skilled readers are able to teach themselves new words such as this one by using letter-sound patterns to decode words. They are able to recognise the speech sounds represented by the letters and letter patterns in the word.
Move your mouse or finger over the letters to hear the speech sounds they represent:
Skilled readers then mentally join the speech sounds together to read the word (a skill called blending). This code-cracking process of using letter-sound patterns to blend speech sounds and read unfamiliar words has been shown through decades of research to be crucial in learning to read!
Notice that 'sleeth' is a made up word. Made up words (nonwords) are an excellent way of assessing decoding skills, since students have never seen them before and must use decoding skills to read them. Nonwords are an important part of assessing reading ability since they provide a 'pure' measure of decoding skills. Try using your decoding skills to read these nonwords (press 'new word' to change words):
This decoding process is exactly what must happen when a student needs to read a real word they haven't seen before. Adults use decoding skills too, but we don't come across words we haven't seen before as often as kids do. Try using your decoding skills to read these difficult real words (press 'new word' to change words):
Why is decoding so important?
Decoding allows children to recognise the thousands of words they have already heard but never seen in written form - it creates a bridge between spoken and written language that facilitates self teaching. Without the ability to self-teach, students are at a great disadvantage in learning to read. Difficulty with decoding skills is a hallmark of the struggling reader.
Which Reading Doctor® apps help with developing decoding skills?
Apps for teaching basic decoding skills
The following Reading Doctor® teaching tools help students to understand how to decode simple words with consistent letter-sound patterns (CVC, CCVC and CVCC words such as 'cat, stop' and 'list'). These tools are recommended for teaching decoding skills to beginning readers (aged 4-8) as well as to older, struggling readers. For more information about how each app helps you to teach decoding skills, please click on the links:
Apps for teaching students more advanced decoding skills
Once students have developed basic decoding skills, the following tools can help you to teach students to decode more complex words. For more information about how each app teaches decoding skills, please click on the links: