We learn and use these strategies to help us decode (figure out) words we don’t know when we read. Please encourage your child to use them at home when they read.
Eagle Eye teaches students to look at the picture clues to help figure out the word. This skill is necessary for students with limited letter sound knowledge. It allows them to use illustrations to support their reading. Students who would rely on this strategy are typically reading books that follow a pattern. For example, their text may read like this; “I see a cat. I see a dog. I see a frog.” Once they have mastered the pattern, they can rely on the pictures on each page to figure out the unknown word.
Lips the Fish teaches students to look at the first letter and get their lips ready to make the sound. This skill is great for children who have learned their letter sounds individually but aren’t quite ready to start blending them. This is an important skill because it builds upon Eagle Eye. For example, if the tricky word is “plane” and they look at the picture to help them, they might say “airplane.” However, Lips the Fish encourages them to use the initial consonant to correctly decode the word.
Stretchy the Snake teaches students to stretch out the word by making the sounds of each letter. This skill is great for students who are ready to start manipulating and blending sounds together to read words.
Chunky Monkey teaches students to look for chunks in the word. This skill is great for students who are blending sounds in CVC words and showing an interest in sounding out longer words. For example, they may not know the word “small” but if they can read “all” and add the “sm” sound to the front, they can now read the word in its entirety.
Tryin’ Lion teaches students to try a word and ask “Does this make sense?“ This skill is good for students if they have tried all the previous strategies and they still can not figure out the word. It important that they are focusing on choosing a word that fits with the other strategies (the picture matches, has the same initial consonant) and makes sense within the sentence