A student who has difficulty with decoding struggles to "sound out" unknown words and frequently misidentifies known words. Reading is laborious and characterized by frequent starts and stops and multiple mispronunciations. If asked about the meaning of what was just read, the individual frequently struggles to retell basic events of the story. This is because students who have decoding difficulties expend so much energy decoding words that there is little energy left for remembering and understanding what they have read. Students who struggle in this area need support to become automatic, fluent decoders. This enables them to focus their attention on comprehending, or understanding, what they read.
Students who have decoding difficulties are provided with systematic, intensive instruction learning and remembering the sounds of the English language. They are also provided with instruction about the different syllable types that make up most English words. Students are taught syllable division rules to help them break multi-syllabic words into smaller parts.
Syllable Division Rules
As students become aware of the different syllable types, they are also taught how to divide longer words into syllables.
Syllable division follows 4 steps that have to do with the patterns formed by vowels and consonants:
To divide a word into syllables:
1) Find the vowels (put a dot under each vowel).
2) Count the consonants in between those vowels (draw a line under each consonant).
3) "Break the word up" according to the rules: (scoop the syllables under the word)
4) Read the word syllable by syllable.