What are decoding and encoding?
Decoding involves translating printed words to sounds. It is literally the process of reading words in text. When a child reads the words “The ball is big”, for example, they need to understand what the letters are, what sound each letter makes, and how the letters blend together to create words.
Encoding is the opposite. It is the process of using individual sounds and letters to build and write words.
Both processes require an understanding of what these individual sounds are before children can match them onto letters.
For example, to decode the word letter, segment the word into each individual sound: l-e-tt-er. Then, blend these phonemes back together again from left to right to get the word letter.
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Phonics is the method that helps children build systematic connections between letters and sounds. Phonics has a better impact on children’s reading ability than any other type of reading program. It has also been shown to improve spelling, particularly among kindergarteners and first graders.
To find out more, read our Deep Dive into Phonics report. This report provides an easy-to-understand overview of phonics and phonemic awareness - why they are important and how they are taught in the classroom - and explains all the relevant terminology. It's perfect for sharing with colleagues, friends, and to Google Classroom!