Helping Beginning Readers- Decoding Strategies


Learning to read is not an easy task!  Just ask any primary teacher and they will tell you- the English language isn't always easy.  As a parent of a now beginning reader, I am thankful that I have a degree in Reading and Literacy and experience teaching reading first hand with first graders.  Truthfully, without this knowledge I would feel lost!  So, I can only imagine how parents feel that are told to just have their children read nightly.  It is just not that easy.  So, I created this graphic to help my fellow parents help their new readers.  Many times these strategies are called decoding strategies, ya know to help children decode the words they are trying to read.

Click here to download your own copy of these decoding strategies.

reading decoding strategies

Get your Lips Ready: Focus on the first letter, getting your mouth ready with the first sound.  We always start with the first letter in the word!

Look at the pictures for clues: Many parents I have come in contact with think that allowing their child to look at the picture is cheating and often cover it up.  But, beginning readers need all the tools in their toolbox- including this one.  Picture are an important clue as to what is going on in the story.  The picture combined with the first sound can give new readers a big clue to what the word is.  Please let them use pictures to aid in learning to read!

Look for chunks: Is there a part of the word that is already known?  Use that prior knowledge to help decode the word that is unknown.  For example, if the word 'and' was already known, then the word 'hand' could easily be decoded.

Flip the Vowel Sounds: If a short vowel sound doesn't work, try the long vowel sound.  It may not always work, but it is another tool in the reading tool box.  The English Language is confusing- kids need all the help they can get!

Re-read and Try Again: Once a child has stopped at a word to sound it out, try going to the beginning of the sentence and re-reading it.  Sometimes when kids are working on sounding out they lose what the story is about.  Re-reading can help!

Stretch out the Word: Pull the word apart and sound out or chunk each sound.

Hop over the Word: Sometimes, skipping the word and re-reading the sentence helps bring clarity to what the word might be.

Does it Make Sense?: Does what was just read make sense?  Sometimes, children will look at the first letter and just guess.  Most times, these sentences don't make sense!

I hope this has helped some parents out there!  Please let me know by leaving a comment below.  Also, please share this post to help other parents with newbie readers!