Knowing When to Jump in and Help Students with Decoding

Knowing When to Jump in and Help Students with Decoding

When students struggle to read a word, you don’t always want to jump in and immediately tell it to them. Give them a chance to practice their decoding strategies. Encourage them to work through the following steps:

Sight Read It
Give them a few seconds to recall the word by sight.

Sound it Out
If they can’t recall the word, encourage them to apply whatever phonics strategies they have (looking at first sound, looking for a word pattern, etc.).

Guess from Context
If they are unable to sound out the word, have them think about what word would make sense. That should narrow down the options considerably.

Just Say “Blank”
If they still can’t figure it out, encourage them to skip it. Students often stop as soon as they come across a word they don’t know. Encourage them to keep reading. Maybe the next word will be enough of a clue to figure out the unknown word.

Ask for Help
If they still can’t figure it out, then they can ask for help. Come up with a signal for when they want your help (raise a finger, etc.)

Always monitor your student’s frustration level. If you sense they are about to shut down, supply the word.

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