As there are nearly a million words in English, it is only possible to remember or read them properly with some decoding skills. In comparison, although Chinese is considered the most complex language in the world, Chinese words are supposed to be read as full characters. Hence, decoding skill is a fundamental skill required for reading comprehension.
It enables you to decipher words you’ve never heard of and pronounce the sound of unfamiliar ones. And if you can read the sentences above accurately, you are doing a great job at decoding the words. So in this article, we will explore decoding skills and why it is essential for you.
We will also share with you several strategies to improve your decoding skills and how to highlight them in your job application.
What are Decoding Skills?
The term “decoding” means the act of pronouncing a word. Decoding skills refer to the ability to distinguish a unit of sound in a word. You rely on your phonemic awareness to be able to decode words.
Phonemic awareness refers to an individual’s ability to recognize individual sounds in words and associate those sounds with letters. Decoding skills include linking letters and sounds together to pronounce the words correctly.
Here are three ways that we tend to use to decode words:
- Understand the sound that each letter produces. For example, C can sound like an S (cent) or a K (catch).
- Know how to separate and combine the sounds in a word.
- Aware of how different letters can combine together to form a single word and make a sound, such as ‘sh’ in fish.
Understanding these connections between sounds and letters enables children to recognize familiar words and immediately make sense of unfamiliar words. Most children tend to pick up decoding skills instinctively from a young age.
However, some children face learning difficulties and may need special education to learn how to decode words. Not only do children use decoding, but adults also use it in their daily life. Remember when you saw the name of a new place you’ve never been to or a person’s name that you’ve not seen before?
What did you do? Did you pronounce the word out loud? If yes, then this is your effort to try and decode the unfamiliar word. But after repeated exposure to the word, you can recognize it in the blink of an eye.
Why Is it Important To Recognize Decoding Skills & Their Benefits?
Everyone requires good decoding skills to execute their tasks and job properly. Therefore, this skill is essential in almost every position and business. Furthermore, technology has changed the way we communicate with people around us.
For example, most of us now have laptops and smartphones to text and email our friends or co-workers. Decoding skill is one of the basic skills that employers expect their employees to have. In addition, managers usually request their team members to do work via email or text in the office.
So, the team members are expected to have excellent reading-comprehension skills to accomplish these tasks successfully. In addition, they need to understand the written instructions and what is expected of them without difficulty.
Thus, having this skill will allow them to communicate more effectively with others and provide work with higher quality. Some companies provide reading comprehension tests to potential job applicants at the workplace.
By using this test, employers can determine if the job applicants’ reading comprehension skill is up to their level of expectation. In addition, employers can filter out or provide training or workshops to those needing help understanding written materials.
Some of the key advantages of hiring individuals with solid decoding skills include the following:
1. Receiving and following instructions
No matter which sector you work in, you will receive all kinds of written instructions from their managers. If you are unfamiliar with the terminologies or words used in your job, it will affect your job performance, making your work extremely challenging and unproductive.
Thus, employers must ensure that their employees have excellent decoding skills to execute instructions properly.
2. Identifying important information
Decoding skills allow you to understand and identify the most critical aspect of a message. Then, it gives you the ability to take straightforward actions based on what you know from the information. Generally, we can use several words or sentences to express what we want to convey.
However, the way our minds work is not similar to computers. It’s not a direct line. When we provide instructions or write about something, our minds wander and think about many things. And this tends to lead us to write more than what is required.
You can scan the message or written instructions quickly with strong decoding skills. You can piece information together, find the most relevant information, and synthesize it into action items that you can start doing immediately.
3. Working in a team
You are bound to collaborate with others to get things done in any work you do. It can be costly and time-consuming to conduct physical meetings in a project to resolve issues or whenever a discussion is required.
So to speed things up, team members may choose to use email or text messages to communicate with others.
Imagine if your co-worker cannot understand what you wrote to them. You could face difficulties to complete your work or project according to the agreed timeline. And this may then jeopardize your project, incurring additional expense and wasting resources.
On the contrary, when the whole team has great decoding skills, the team can collaborate more effectively. This will result in projects being delivered within the agreed time and budget.
4. Identifying errors
Finally, with strong decoding skills, you tend to have a keen eye for identifying mistakes in written text or jobs. So you will ask probing questions to clarify the errors and understand more about the meaning behind the text.
Then you can take preventive measures to correct the mistakes.
There are no perfect human beings in the world. We make mistakes all the time, especially when we’re working on tasks alone. We may think that going over our work multiple times can ensure our work is perfect without any mistakes. But the odds of having spelling errors or expressing something incorrectly are still there.
However, great decoding skills can allow you to be meticulous in catching and correcting any mistakes. This will result in you producing quality work and to-the-point messages.
How To Improve Decoding Skills in The Workplace
1. Identifying Affixes, base words, and roots
Aside from splitting a word into syllables, the ability to recognize and interpret affixes, base words, and roots are also critical. It is essential for reading and writing increasingly complex words.
Understanding affixes, base words, and roots are required not only for spelling but also to pronounce a word or part of a word. Having this understanding is also helpful for deciphering multisyllabic words.
To improve your decoding skills, you can begin by practising segmenting. For example, when you come across a term you don’t recognize, you can start by segmenting the sound and parts of the word.Pronounce each word’s letter as you move from left to right.
Blending refers to you combining the sounds to pronounce the word. For example, you can blend the words by pointing your finger across each syllable in the word from left to right.
4. Marking Vowels & Consonants
When decoding, you can utilize a strategy called spot and dot.First, you examine the word and place a dot over each vowel and consonant you see. This allows you to determine the number of syllables in the word.
5. Chunking & Word Parts
Recognizing the different parts of a word is beneficial when you are faced with more complicated or multisyllabic words. Consider circling circle affixes, underlining bases/roots, and searching for spelling patterns they are familiar with.
Take, for example, the word ‘continuation’. First, you can use the spot and dot technique to circle the ‘-tion’ part. Then you can take out the parts of the word you know and experiment with splitting the syllables.
6. Splitting Syllables
Splitting syllables is useful in helping you to identify vowel sounds and split multisyllabic words. You can draw a line through the word to discern the patterns and separate syllables upon identifying the vowels and consonants.
After that, you can tag the vowels as either long or short. However, to practice this strategy, you must be acquainted with the six syllable types.
7. Covering Parts of the Word
Covering up a portion of a word you are unfamiliar with is another way to improve your decoding skills. You may be taken aback when you encounter an unfamiliar word. In this instance, you can decode the word one sound at a time or in chunks.
While you are decoding the first part of the word, make sure to cover the rest of the words with your fingers. Then you slowly move your finger across to decode the next chunk of words until you can decipher the word entirely.
How To Highlight Decoding Skills In a Resume or a Job Interview
1. Use specific examples
The more detailed your examples are, the better. Interviewers want to hear about how you applied your skill to achieve the results.
Interviewers want to hear about how you applied your skill to achieve the results. Don’t just tell the employer that you are great at decoding skills. You must give them examples of how you utilized this skill in your work or communication with your team members.
Remember that every applicant who applies for the role will say the same thing. And to make yourself stand apart from them is to show the interviewer how you apply the skills in an actual situation. Then, during the job interview, you can elaborate further on how you plan to use your skill in the job role you applied for.
2. Showcase what value your skills will bring to the role
The critical aspect of pitching your skills to your potential employer is explaining how your skills can contribute to the job position. Make it a point that they can visualize how you can contribute to the new job role and why you are the ideal candidate.
You can highlight this during the interview session. However, your resume is always the first thing an interviewer will see. So make sure you tailor your resume accordingly to include key points the interviewer wants to see.
3. Don’t only boast about your skill and forget to mention how it will add value to the organization.
During an interview, you should find opportunities to show the hiring manager how your skills can add value to the organization. For example, talk about how you can fit into their team and contribute to the organization.
When highlighting your decoding skills as a strength, remember to share a specific example and discuss the outcome. For example, did you manage to use this skill to solve a problem or perform what your supervisor requested? Talk about it with more specific details, your interviewer will be keen to know the exact details.
You should take note of the term you use during an interview. Don’t only use ‘I’ and forget about ‘We’. While the focus should be on how you utilize the skill to obtain results, you should also talk about how you use your skills in a team setting. Share how you apply this skill to collaborate with others or get things done as a team.
You should highlight how this skill helps as a leader if you apply for a leadership role.
Decoding Skills Frequently Asked Questions
What are the 5 decoding strategies?
The 5 decoding strategies are segmenting, blending, marking vowels and consonants, chunking and word parts, and splitting syllables.
Why is decoding important for children?
Decoding is an essential skill that is a foundation for reading and spelling. Having this skill enables children to decipher words they are unfamiliar with and words they’ve heard but never seen before. Other components of reading skills, such as fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension, also depend on the children’s decoding ability.
What is an example of decoding skills?
An example of decoding skills is understanding the sound that each letter produces. For example, C can sound like an S (cent) or a K (catch).