Thursday, April 25, 2013

Decoding Practice Using Rules

Decoding Practice Using Rules

When students who find reading a challenge come across a word they don’t know, there is a tendency to freeze. They often tell themselves, “I don’t know this word” and give up. Memorization of rules provides the tools they need to overcome past habits of failure. It is important to teach a thinking process for attacking unknown words. The process for teaching rule application is as follows:

  • Write the rule on the board or chart in an area of the room  that can be seen by all students.
  • Read the rule to students pointing to each word as you read.
  • Show examples of the rule and tell how the rule fits the examples.
  • Have students choral read the rule as you point to each word. Repeat this process until the entire class is reading the rule in unison.
  • When reading with the teacher  is well established, ask students, “What is the rule?” Students repeat the rule without the teacher pointing to the words.
  • Repeat the rule rehearsal process every day until the rule and the decoding process are mastered. It is important to do this even if you are moving on to a new lesson.
  • Move the written rule to a place in the room where it can remain over a period of time. Students should be able to reference the rule at a glance. The ceiling or any “high spot” in the room is very effective.
  •  If remembering the rules is difficult, students can make their own rule notebook to use as a source for study and reference when reading in other classes or for leisure. A loose-leaf binder works well because students can organize and re-organize as they add new rules. One rule with examples should be placed on each page.
A few sample of rules found in Jacquie’s Reading Lessons and other reading programs are:

  1. In a three letter word the vowel is short.
  2. When an e is added to the end of a three letter word, the vowel says the alphabet name.
  3. When one vowel is followed by one consonant, the consonant is doubled before adding -ing, --ed, or -er.

Please note: There are exceptions to all rules. If a student cannot decode the word using the rule, the word is considered a sight word and must be memorized.

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