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Decoding


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Last updated 10 January 2013 11:25 by NZTecAdmin

To read with understanding, readers need to decode. Decoding means translating written words into the sounds of spoken words, often silently. Before they can develop decoding skills, learners must have developed some basic prerequisite skills and understandings, including phonological and phonemic awareness. While some adult learners may not have developed these prerequisite skills, the first step in this progression describes learners who have acquired them and can decode some basic words.

Most adults will be able to:
Activities
1.
  • have a bank of sight words (words they recognise automatically)
  • use a few reliable strategies for decoding regularly and irregularly spelled everyday words in short, simple texts.

Readers decode unknown words by using such strategies as applying letter–sound correspondence rules, sounding out words by separating them into individual sounds or syllables and recognising simple word patterns. Many of the words learned will be of Anglo-Saxon origin, for example, he, cat, dog and shed. Areas of study can include:

  • listening for initial letters (such as t, b or o) and letter blends (such as st, gr or oi) in words and recognising them in written texts
  • recognising digraphs (such as ch, sh and th)
  • identifying the spelling rules that govern short and long vowel sounds
  • listening for common onsets and rimes* in words and recognising them in written texts.

*The onset is the initial sound in a syllable and the rime is the following sound. Note that rime is not the same word as rhyme: see glossary.

Environmental print

Background information and teaching and learning ideas for using environmental print.

Teaching decoding: step 1

Ideas for teaching decoding at step 1 of the Read with understanding learning progression.

Word sort

Learners sort words chosen for relevance to a specific topic or context.

  • have a bank of sight words (words they recognise automatically)
  • use a few reliable strategies for decoding regularly and irregularly spelled everyday words in short, simple texts.
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2.
  • have a large bank of sight words
  • use several simple, reliable strategies for decoding everyday words in short texts with some fluency and accuracy
  • have some awareness of the accuracy of their decoding attempts.

Readers decode unknown words by using a wider range of strategies, for example, by using analogy and by applying their knowledge of word families and morpheme patterns. (A morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in a word, so word roots and most prefixes and suffixes are morphemes.) They have some awareness of the accuracy of their attempts and, as they read, they ask themselves “Does that make sense?” Areas of study can include:

  • discussing common word families (for example, run, runs, running, ran)
  • finding common morpheme patterns (for example, prefixes and suffixes like un-, -s, -ly and -ful)
  • using analogy to infer the unknown from the known (for example, if you know the onset f in fit and the rime all in ball, you can work out fall).

Teaching decoding: step 2

Ideas for teaching decoding at step 2 of the Read with understanding learning progression.

Word building (word families)

Learners decode unfamiliar words by identifying root words and exploring patterns.

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3.
  • use more complex, reliable strategies for decoding most everyday words with fluency and accuracy.

Readers fluently decode most familiar everyday words by using strategies they already know, such as analysing words (for example, by identifying morpheme patterns, breaking words into syllables and using analogy), with greater ease. They apply these strategies to longer or more complex words.
Readers draw on the context to monitor their reading for accuracy and sense, for example, by asking themselves “Does that make sense?” or “Does that sound right?” Areas of study can include:

  • analysing longer and more complex words in terms of morphemes or syllables.

Teaching decoding: step 3

Ideas for teaching decoding at step 3 of the Read with understanding learning progression.

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4.
  • fluently decode more specialised words, including words of many syllables
  • monitor their reading for accuracy and sense.

Readers use their knowledge to decode unfamiliar specialised words fluently. Areas of study can include:

  • repeated reading of connected texts, to increase fluency.

Teaching decoding: step 4

Ideas for teaching decoding at step 4 of the Read with understanding learning progression.

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5.
  • fluently decode more complex and/or irregular words, using strategies such as inferring the unknown from the known and analysing words (for example, by identifying morpheme patterns involving less common prefixes and suffixes)
  • decode most words automatically.

Readers use strategies such as inferring meaning from the context and analysing words (for example, by considering morpheme patterns, less-common prefixes and suffixes and adverbial endings) in irregularly spelt words to fluently decode more complex and/or irregularly spelt words. Decoding is becoming automatic. Areas of study can include:

  • recording and discussing words (for example, those found in work or course-related texts) that can be broken into prefixes, root words and suffixes
  • recording and discussing irregularly spelt words and unexpected pronunciations (for example, cough, dough, doubt, island and Arkansas).

Teaching decoding: step 5

Ideas for teaching decoding at step 5 of the Read with understanding learning progression.

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6.
  • decode unfamiliar words rapidly and automatically.

Readers decode unfamiliar words automatically without losing fluency.

 
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