Decoding or Word-Attack Strategies
Decoding or word-attack strategies help students decode, pronounce or understand unfamiliar words when reading. Students should use a variety of these strategies when reading. If one strategy does not help decode the word, then they should try another strategy. Below is a list of strategies students learn to help them know what to do when they come to an unfamiliar word as they are reading. To help students remember and visualize the strategy, animal references are used.
-Look at the picture for clues
Lips the Fish-Get your mouth ready to say the first sound of the word
-Stretch the sounds in the word out
-Put sounds back together to try to read the word
-Look for word chunk or word part that is known (for example if the word is "bat" and you know the "at" chunk you can use that to determine the unknown word- you can read /b/-/at/- bat!)
-Skip the word, read to the end of the sentence then hop back & read it
-Try to reread if something you read does not make sense. Try using a word you know that has the same letters and would make sense.
-Try flipping the vowel sounds if it doesn't sound right (try the short vowel sound and the long vowel sound).
-If you have tried all of the other strategies and still cannot figure out the word, ask someone for help!
When students are reading they should ask themselves the questions: Does it look right? Does it sound right? Does it make sense? If the answer to any of these questions is "no", they should go back and attempt to use a different strategy in order to help them correctly decode the unfamiliar word.
The document below is a bookmark of the strategies that students are taught to help them when decoding unfamiliar words in text.