Welcome to OPEPP​
Ohio Partnership for Excellence in Paraprofessional Preparation

Content: Decoding Challenges


Readers who experience difficulty breaking the sound-symbol code often become frustrated. They may become so discouraged that they stop trying. When decoding problems last for a long time, students may come to see reading as punishing, rather than enjoyable.

Reading Intervention Programs - Who, What, & Why?

                           What should teachers and parapros 

                             do to reduce student frustration? 

First, they should make decoding activities fun.  Second, they should make sure that students are successful.  Experiencing success will build students’ confidence and enthusiasm for reading. Finally, teachers and parapros should provide opportunities for students to use spaced practice when they are learning new phonics skills. Arranging many short practice sessions over a longer period of time works better than scheduling longer sessions over a shorter period of time.

  • make decoding activities fun.   
  • make sure that students are successful
  • spaced practice is used to help students (receive, recall, repeat, and retain)
  • short practice sessions over a longer period of time works better 

Experiencing success over short practices over a  longer period    of time will build students’ confidence and enthusiasm for reading


Assessing Phonemic Awareness Skills

If a student appears to struggle with decoding, the teacher or parapro might find it helpful to see if gaps in phonemic awareness or letter-sound association are part of the problem. 

  1. Start by asking the student to name the sounds of the consonants as you point to each of them. 
  2. If the student says the name of the letter, such as “letter t,” say, “Yes”
  3. Then say, “What sound does that letter make?” 
  4. Then do the same thing with the sounds of the vowels  (remember that vow­els have both long and short sounds)
You can use a phonics inventory to assess what a child knows.
Here is one fro the National Center on Intensive Intervention: LINK

Module: Helping Students Read (Clone)

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