Discover, DECODE, Dissect, Develop, Discuss, Define

Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Freebies | 2 comments

Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.

John Locke

Decoding for third graders and beyond should be reaching automaticity. According to Wikipedia, automaticity is the ability to do things without occupying the mind with the low-level details required, allowing it to become an automatic response pattern or habit. It is usually the result of learning, repetition, and practice. Yes, some third graders have some more learning of phonics rules and vowel sounds to master and obviously they need more repetition and practice, but, certainly some time should be spent celebrating the success they’ve had!

In my 35 years of teaching, I’ve had only a few reluctant readers remain so throughout the course of the year. Their reluctance usually comes from a lack of belief in their abilities to conquer the written word. While I can bring all readers to a love of books when they are read aloud and savored, I have a harder time bringing the desire to work at skills needed for decoding to make all of my students independent readers.

Children need to be shown patterns in our language. Then they need to be shown how to apply the patterns to their decoding efforts. Word Study Notebooks are one strategy that can help. For the student, the notebook is used to record word study activities and develop and apply word study concepts. To implement word study effectively, teachers and students alike must become word detectives, engaged in an ongoing attempt to make sense of word patterns and their relationships to one another. Spelling “rules” are not dictated by the teacher for students to memorize. Rather, spelling patterns and generalizations are discovered by students.

Ideas for Word Study Notebooks:

  1. Word Sorts – Example/Non-examples of a given sound, rule, parts of speech
  2. Flipbooks for prefixes and suffixes
  3. Foldables for syllables
  4. Headers to collect word types such as compound words, contractions, homophones, etc.
  5. Making Words – given a set of letters, create 3, 4, 5, even six letter words – glue the letters at the top of the page to make a word
  6. Word Jail for words that break the rules

Rhymes with Blue, Spellings for "oo"

Rhymes with Blue, Spellings for “oo”

Words Inside Words

Words Inside Words

Here are some fun activities to help with decoding.

I also sell headers at my TpT store:

Headers for Word Study Notebooks

A poster is also included for each type of word. I don’t know why I don’t include that!!



  1. I love your ideas and can’t wait to incorporate them next year.

    • Thanks so much! I am glad you found my newly redesigned blog!

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