Learning Activity: Decoding Using Word-Meaning Clues

In the previous unit, we used phonemic clues to decode several challenging words. Now that we’ve learned about word-meaning clues, let’s try using those to decode the same words. Follow the instructions below and, as you work through each step, think about how you might guide students through a similar process.

Step 1: Remember the list of words from the previous unit.

  • Indigestible
  • Elucidate
  • Preternaturally
  • Malevolent
  • Prestidigitation
  • Demystifying

Step 2: Rewrite each word by splitting it into its morphological parts.

Step 3: Try to pronounce each word based on your decoding of it. If you don’t know a word’s meaning, make an educated guess based on any components that you recognize.

Step 4: Look up indigestible, elucidate, preternaturally, malevolent, prestidigitation, and demystifying online or in a dictionary. Did your decoding skills help? How? Why or why not?

Step 5: Reflect on which decoding tool was most helpful to you in pronouncing the words. Were sound-symbol clues or word-meaning clues easier for you to use? If you’re working on this unit with others, discuss your reflections with them.