Word Decoding Lists
Decoding is the process of using known words to figure out unfamiliar words. It is based on the idea of looking for and seeing small words or sound units inside larger words.
For struggling and non-fluent readers:
- it demystifies reading,
- removes the fear factor and
- starts them on the road to becoming fluent, confident readers.
Most importantly, word decoding gives a struggling student a 'learning tool' to tackle his/her fear of reading aloud. When faced with a word that he or she doesn't know, instead of going into panic mode, their eyes quickly scan for the small words that they recognize. Almost immediately, they begin to read independently with more confidence and less dread.
The Decoding Word Method.
Using decoding word lists is the best method to increase reading fluency. Even though initially struggling students can't successfully read a certain word, they usually are familiar with the word and can use it in conversation. So they just need to recognize and decode the written word that is already part of their speaking vocabulary.
- an = can = scan = band = bandana
- dance = nonattendance
Should they stumble over a word, simply point out the 'small words' within the unfamiliar word thereby helping them 'decode it' — break it into smaller more manageable segments.
(samples decoding word worksheets)
As students learn to read more fluently, their comprehension increases. The words in each sentence are no longer just a list of individual words to struggle through with all the anxiety associated with that dreaded task. They can finally grasp the meaning of the string of words that make up the sentence.
Struggling readers enjoy working with Word Decoding Worksheets and feel a great sense of accomplishment when they can read and independently recognize word patterns. Young children, in particular, like to rhyme so they enjoy the review and repetition of word families. However, the benefits aren't limited to young learners. Once mastered, this same technique gives a mature student greater fluency and the skill and ability to recognize word prefixes, root words and suffixes, etc., thus supporting ongoing comprehension.
Try it on the longest word in the English language:
Teaching Resources for Word Decoding — worksheets, lesson plans, etc.
- PreBeginner: starts with 3 to 4 lettered words (samples)
- Beginner: starts with 4 to 8 lettered words (samples)
- Intermediate: starts with 5 to 10 lettered words (samples)
- Advanced: starts with 9 to 15 lettered words (samples)
See our Decoding Words page.
Check out our Reading Booklets page.
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Decode Their Way to Reading
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