GRADES 1 & 2:

Help Children with Decoding

Your child will do a lot of sounding out words in Grades 1 and 2 as s/he learns to blend sounds together. It is tempting to jump in automatically to provide the word for them, but I only do this when I know it is a word that is at their frustration level (No first grader will be able to sound out the word colonel!). 


So instead, help them use blending and segmenting strategies. Blending is when we push sounds together to make a word; segmenting is when we break a word apart into its individual sounds. Here are some ideas on how to help at home and here is a great video on Teaching  Kids to Sound Out.

  • Look at the first letter(s) of the word. Say the first sound(s).

  • If the word is ____________, what would you expect to see at the beginning / middle /end of the word?

  • Spell the word out loud. Look at each letter.

  • We’ve seen that word before in this book. Let’s find it on the other page.

  • Do you see a part of the word (word chunk) that you already know?

  • Let’s cover up a part of the word and read the part we see. (For example, if the word is jumping, cover up the -ing)

  • Sound it out. (This only works if the child has the word knowledge and/or strategies.)

  • Do you see a prefix in the word that you know? (longer words)

  • Do you see a suffix in the word that you know? (longer words)

  • Can you break the word into syllables?

Did you. note. that encouraging your kids to skip the word, to guess based on its shape or its first letter are not on the list of strategies!? That's because they are ineffective approaches - and there's a  fair amount of research on why (take a listen to this fascinating podcast).

​A quick side note - I get lots of questions about letter reversals  and the b/d confusion. This video is great to help kids with b/d confusion!