Decoding is the ability to make words out of letters and sounds.

Decoding is an essential skill, because it is the foundation in which all other reading is built upon. Young readers will need basic words and text in order to read, as well as comprehend what they are reading.

However, for some children, even the simplest of words can be a struggle. This is when tools and reading strategies must be used.

Here are six decoding  strategies all young readers should learn and memorize. The more that they become familiar with them, the easier it will be for them to read fluently. We have created these to be memorable and we put actions with them so kids will remember them. 

Use your eagle eye to look at the pictures

Use your eagle eye to look at the pictures



  1. Eagle  Eye – Look at the Pictures Pictures can be a lifesaver for struggling readers. If your child cannot read a word, all they have to do is look at the picture to give them a clue of the meaning. This is usually the students’ favorite strategy because it is the easiest and most effective way to figure out a word and its meaning. However, it’s important to not allow children to only use this strategy. This should not be their only go-to strategy when they come upon a hard word.



  1. Lips the Fish – Get Your Lips Ready

    Get your mouth ready

If your child is stuck, then tell them to get their mouth ready by taking the word letter by letter. Instruct him/her to get their mouth ready to say the word but slowly take the word letter by letter. 







  1. Stretchy Snake – Stretch it Out!

Stretch the sounds and say the word slowly

Say the word slowly​, put the sounds together. Read the word and think about what it is trying to say. Then, go back and re-read the word.










Skip or hop over that word you can’t figure out


  1. Skippy Frog – Skip the Word!

If your child just simply cannot read the word, have them skip the word and continue reading the sentence. Sometimes after reading a little bit further, the meaning will become clearer and the reader can go back to the skipped word and re-read the sentence knowing the proper meaning.




  1. Chunky Monkey – Chunk it!

    Chunk the word into easier parts

    Chunk the word into easier parts

Teach your child to break the word up into more “manageable” parts. For example, the word “Remember” may look difficult to a young child. But, when

chunked up in to  “Re-mem-ber,” it will almost certainly be more manageable. Tell your child he/she can even clap the symbols to help them learn how to chunk a word. For the example “Re-mem-ber” they can clap three times, and this will help them break the word apart.






Try ( or flip) to another vowel sound

  1. Flippy the Dolphin – Flip the Sound!

Try another vowel sound if the first sound does not sound right. Some readers will have to read, and re-read a word several times in order to make sense of it. Teach your child that this is OK, and it’s a good thing to be persistent while reading.



Remember, in order for young readers to have full reading enjoyment, they need to first learn how to decode and comprehend what they are reading. Once they have mastered that, then they will have it all right at their fingertips.


Would you like to pin these strategies on your fridge? Click here to download the Decoding Strategies for Parents PDF file.