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What are decoding and encoding?

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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Deep Dive

Read our report on the Science of Reading. Research-based reading instruction must incorporate the 5 pillars of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. This report provides an easy to understand overview of each of these pillars and explains the important connection between how the brain learns to read (the Neuroscience of Reading) and how we teach children to read (The Science of Reading Instruction). It also explains why helping children build connections between letters and sounds, through phonics and phonemic awareness, is so crucial for the developing reading mind. This report is perfect for sharing with colleagues and friends!