Make your own free website on

Development of Academic Skills

Identifying Individual Words

Resourceful Links

1) Phonological recoding (decoding)

-        Basically, sounding out letters in a word to figure out what the word is

-         Children visually examine a word in print and then try to locate that word in their long term memory. If they cannot retrieve the word they proceed to sound out the letters of the word and then blend the sounds together to identify what the word is (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).

-         This is one of several strategies children use when reading

-         Study by Gray & McCutchen (2006) examined the reading abilities of children finishing kindergarten and children completing Gr. 1 & 2.

-         They found that children who were above the average in phonological awareness were 5 times more likely to score above the average on word reading than their peers who scored below the average.

-         Thus concluding that phonological recoding ability influences the development of reading ability.



Activities to encourage development of phonological awareness (Candice Bray, 2001):



 -  Give me a word that rhymes with “ball” (hall, call, doll)

Syllable Segmentation: 

 -  Show me the syllables in: traffic - (tra/ffic)

Phoneme Blending: 

 -  Listen and tell me the word. Teacher says "t-e-nn-i-s", child tells them the word "tennis"  

Word to Word: 

 - Clap for each word in the sentence, "The man took his dog for a walk in the park"

Phoneme Isolation:

 - Tell me the sound at the end of the word: "snoop"

Phoneme Segmentation:

 - Tell me the sounds in the word: "stamp" - /s/-/t/-/a/-/m/-/p/ 



2) Visually based retrieval

-         influenced by many factors to help children determine new or unknown words

-         context is important in providing clues to the reader to help identify the word

-         children gather information from (Siegler & Alibali, 2005):

1) The particular letters of the word

        o    Word “thorn” – child knows that /t/ + /h/ = /th/ sound

2) The word as a whole

       o  Seeing the combination of letters forming one word “stamp”

3) The surrounding context in which the word is found

         o   Pictures: mailbox, letter, envelope

       o    Other words from the sentence: mail, send, letter, post-office, envelope 


Example: seeing a stop sign and knowing that the word on the sign is “STOP”


Return to Reading Homepage

- Sarah Steeves - Morgan Barnhill - Kate Heffernan -
- Cognitive Development -
- PSYC 3310 -