Decoding Strategy: Get your mouth ready is seen as controversial. AUTHOR’S NOTE: This strategy should be used in connected with stretch and blend. It should never to used to guess a word or distract from the letters in the word.
We all know students need decoding strategies, but we don’t necessarily know how to explicitly teach each decoding strategy. I have seen teachers provide clues and posters and language and “drive by” decoding, and expect students to use them immediately. BUT, we can’t do this.
We have to be strategic and we have to allow students to practice this skill BEFORE we expect it to become habit. Students need strategies. When they are starting to read, independence is gained when we can empower them to “figure out” the words ON THEIR OWN.
I try to make sure students WANT to be independent readers. We discuss being “word makers,” not “word takers.”
Decoding Strategy Get Your Mouth Ready
When students are reading, we make sure they are looking at the word.
Getting their mouth ready is the next logical step. Using the example, students should recognize the word wall words, “look,” “at,” and “the.”
The unknown on this page is “hen.”
Ask the students to look at the word and “get their mouth ready” with the first letter of the word and slide through the word. When they make the sound for /h/, they should be able to slide through the word, “hen.”
Decoding strategy Practice
BUT, this isn’t a one lesson fix. Make sure students are using the strategies easily and automatically.
To practice this skill, use cards with picture and word options.
Putting 2 cards in their guided reading basket OR passing out 2 cards each at the small group table, students can look at the card, get your mouth ready to point to the correct word.
With the card on the left, students will look at the “box” and get their mouth ready by making the /b/ sound.
Once they make the sound, they will choose the word.
Students can practice the cards daily for a week, then the “Get Your Mouth Ready” icon can be added to the strategy mat. this is perfect way to make sure they can USE the strategy, not just see the strategy.
Practice Makes Perfect
Using cards, make this practice part of the small group lesson. There are 4 levels of practice for this decoding strategy. This strategy should be used with “Look at the Picture” and “Sound and Slide.” By rotating the cards with other strategies, students make the strategies automatic.