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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:27 by NZTecAdmin
Teaching decoding: step 1 (PDF, 41 KB)

Many tutors have identified that learners need additional help to progress with their decoding skills. Below are further specialised activities that follow the steps in the Read with Understanding progression. Some have been adapted from material available at: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/ curriculum_literacy

Learners at the 1st step of the Decoding progression

Use important key words for the learner (possibly taken from a key word list plus those identified by the learner and the tutor). Make lists for each learner because every person will have a different list according to their needs and interests.

Sight words

  • Highlight own name, street, town or other key words from a list.
  • Play games like Snap to match key words.
  • Highlight days of week and other key words in familiar material, for example, newspapers, TV listings, magazines.
  • Encourage the use of strategies for remembering key words, for example, put word cards on the fridge.


  • Develop phonemic awareness, for example, by listening to, learning and reciting the words of raps, jingles or sound poems and exploring rhyme, alliteration and other sounds.
  • Insert vowels into gaps at the beginning or middle of words for example, bet, in, at, set.
  • Say words without certain sounds, for example, say pit but don’t say p (use sounds not names of letters).
  • Play missing vowel sound or initial/final consonant cluster bingo.
  • Highlight consonant clusters in a short text.
  • Practise reading some simple, illustrated customised texts made up of sentences, based on simple, regular words and familiar sight words.
  • Play games that require distinguishing words by their shapes or length or by a specific phonemic difference for example, cat/cot.
  • Sort letters into alphabetical order.
  • Use the keypad of a mobile phone to find and input first and second names.
  • Arrange key words in alphabetical order.
  • Match words in different fonts and styles, for example, NO PARKING and No Parking.


If you have any comments please contact us.

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