Phonetics and Decoding: Two Sources of Reading Problems

Phonetics is the study of the sounds of speech. Children with reading problems often have difficulty recognizing how letters sound, alone ("t") or in combination ("th"). They may be challenged by combinations that are similar (like "sh" and "ch").

Decoding is the ability to recognize words each time they appear. Often children with decoding problems have memorized certain words that appear regularly (like "the") but are unable to read or recognize other words ("these") and so mispronounce them or skip over them.

The Orton-Gillingham approach is world-renowned for helping children who have problems with phonetics, decoding and other aspects of reading. It is multi-sensory, which helps a child to recognize the connection between letters and their sounds. It is structured and sequential, each lesson building step-by-step upon the previous lesson, which improves decoding and gives a child the confidence to read, rather than memorize or guess at words.

At Windy Row Learning Center in West Peterborough, New Hampshire, our tutors let the child lead--our one-on-one tutoring eliminates competition between children, and each child can take as much time as needed to master a reading skill. The lessons target the individual child's specific issues with reading and favor that child's specific learning style, whether through ear, touch or eye. Many children come to us after years of frustration and failure at learning to read. Our tutors are sensitive to their struggles and make every effort to help children feel comfortable and capable.

If you have noticed your child stumbling over phonetics or decoding, please contact us. Reading is what we do.