Teaching Decoding Reading Strategies

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  • 0:04 Decoding
  • 1:01 Phonemic Awareness
  • 1:35 Chunks & Word Families
  • 2:17 Semantic & Visual Cues
  • 3:36 High-frequency Words
  • 3:56 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Learning how to decode properly is a key aspect of learning to read. This lesson introduces you to some of the fundamentals of teaching children how to decode when reading.


Ms. Abbott is excited. She has been teaching fourth grade for the last seven years, and this year she has moved to a first grade classroom. She is looking forward to the change and the challenge, and she knows she will enjoy her younger students. However, she realizes that as a fourth grade teacher, a great deal of her reading instruction focused on comprehension, or how students understand what they read. In first grade, Ms. Abbott will have to remember what she learned in graduate school about decoding, the aspect of reading that centers around how readers know what the words are on the page.

Decoding might sound like something a spy does, and in a way it is. For new readers, the letters on the page look like a jumble of images, and they have to use a lot of brainpower to discern what the words are actually saying. In this lesson, you can follow along with Ms. Abbott as she reacquaints herself with important concepts and strategies in teaching children how to decode.

Phonemic Awareness

Ms. Abbott remembers that a crucial aspect of decoding is helping students develop phonemic awareness. Children have to be able to separate a word into its sounds, and they have to learn that letters, or groups of letters, represent these sounds. Ms. Abbott discovers that some activities promoting phonemic awareness can happen without even looking at a printed book. Chanting nursery rhymes or playing with different sounds helps students develop phonemic awareness, for example. Ms. Abbott plans to have her students make alphabet books so that they can choose meaningful pictures to represent the sounds different letters make.

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