1 minute reading time (278 words)

Help Your Beginning Reader Become a “Decoding Detective”

  To increase reading levels, beginning readers need the confidence to decode new and unfamiliar words.  A simple way to do this is by building on words they already know.  Teach your beginning reader the fun of becoming a “Decoding Detective:”


  • To sound out a new word, encourage her to look for the “little words inside the big word.” For example, if she’s stuck on the word “together” break it into small parts.  With your finger cover the “gether” part of the word and have her say “to.”  Next, with two fingers cover the “to” and “her” parts and have her sound out “get.” Then, cover the “to” and “get” parts, for the word “her.” Blend the three little words, to-get-her, for the new word “together.”


  • Look for the pattern in sight words.  If he knows the word “the” build on that word.  “The,” with an “n” becomes “then,” “the,” with an “m” becomes “them.”  “The,” with a “re” is “there.”  “The,” with a “y” is “they.”  When she knows the sight word “could” look for the pattern to learn “would” and “should.”


  • Look for “word family” words and show her how to change the word with a new beginning or ending letter.  “An” with a “c” in front, becomes “can.”  “An,” with a “d” at the end becomes “and.”


  • Start with a simple blend.  When he knows the word “tree,” for example, use that familiar “tr” initial blend for other words that begin with “tr” such as train, track or truck.


Once your child learns to decode new words, by building on what they already know, their confidence and reading comprehension will soar!

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