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Cracking the Code: Activities to Practice Decoding Skills in Reading

Cracking the Code: Activities to Practice Decoding Skills in Reading

Are you a parent or teacher working to improve your child and or student’s decoding skills in reading? In this post you will learn about activities to practice decoding skills in reading that can be used in the classroom as well as at home. Research has shown we learn to read by decoding. That means breaking down words into individual sounds (phonemes) and blending them back together. When building reading fluency, practice and repetition is extremely important so let’s get started! Get ready to crack the code and create opportunities to grow your readers’ confidence!

Decoding Skills Reading Assessments

Let’s begin with the decoding skills in reading assessments.  It is important to have a baseline to show the current decoding skills. This will help us target decoding skills and measure growth. This does not have to be a complicated practice! I use the simple assessment checklists included in the decoding cards bundle. I look for mastery before moving on to the next decoding skill.

The decoding cards bundle is a great resource for guided reading, phonics lessons, and homework. Children can practice decoding words in isolation and reading the words in sentences for fluency and comprehension.

Decoding Flashcards Organization

Two things that I absolutely love are activities and organization! When organizing these cards, I create a master set of the lists and cards.  This helps me to keep everything together and close by for quick and easy access.  I find it helpful to color code each set of skill cards.  For example:

I like to store the cards in a drawer, bin, or basket to keep them organized.  Whatever organization you choose, select a space that is within reach! This is a great time saver in the future! I copy the cards on cardstock, hole punch them, and use a binder ring to connect them for easy use and longevity.  This will allow you to use them for years to come.

To provide parents with quick and easy decoding skills in reading practice, I send home a master list of the words or a decoding skill ring for at-home practice.

Decoding Card Activities for Parents

Parents often want to help their child but are not sure where to start.  As educators, we know where to begin and what activities to try.   Providing families with simple resources to practice decoding skills in reading allows them to support their child effectively and confidently,

When beginning to use decodable cards for segmenting, blending, and fluency, it is important to get parent support. I always send home a friendly family letter to explain the importance of decoding skills. By taking a proactive approach to at home practice, parents are more likely to tackle the task at home with their child.

Decoding Activities for Home

We want parents to want to work on these skills with their children. For that reason, they need to be clear, concise, engaging, and fun! In order to reach all our students and their home lives we want to focus on activities that are simple and do not require a lot of materials.

When working on decoding skills in reading, send home a list of easy activities for parents to practice.  When parents are given options, this provides the freedom to choose the activity that works best for them and their child. 

3 Activities to Help Parents Practice Decoding Skills in Reading

  • Sound Squish
    • Write the word your child is learning. Roll a small ball of playdough for each letter in the word. Your child will squish down each ball of playdough while saying the letter sound. Say the whole word. Repeat!
  • Scrumptious Sounds
    • Draw a long rectangle and divide it into boxes. Each box will represent one sound. Place a small snack above each sound box. Write one sound in each box. Your child will say each sound and slide the snack down into the box. Say the whole word and eat the snacks. Repeat!
  • Word Soup
    • You will need magnetic letters, a cup, and spoon for this game. Choose a word and give your child the letters or “ingredients” to put into the cup. If you picked the word “dog”, it might sound like this, “For this word you need g, d, and o.” Your child should find the letters, put them in the cup, and use the spoon to mix them.  Tell your child the word. “Can you use your ingredients to make the word ‘dog’?” Your child should pour out the letters and build the word.

These activities for decoding skills in reading give families and children different options to play together as they grow their reading!

Click here to download the family note, activities, and Short A CVC Word Cards for FREE! 

Looking for sight word activities for families? Click here for fun ideas!

If you liked these decoding skills in reading activities, then I think you will love the 60 games and activities in Reading Games! It is filled with an abundance of easy, actionable games and activities to build pre-reading and reading skills.  The games and activities can be used in your classroom and then at home with your families as well! The games can be easily adapted to meet classroom objectives.  It is a wonderful resource for teachers and families!

I hope this post was helpful in giving you some great tips and resources for practicing and developing decoding skills in reading with your students and their families. If you’re looking for some more ideas check out these 3 easy sight word games that can be used with the decoding skills cards too! Don’t forget about the decoding cards bundle.  Remember our goal is to keep things simple and organized as you create a school and family connection.

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Emily Yerty

Emily Yerty

I’m a teacher who believes in creating a classroom kids love and activities that keep them engaged all day!

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