Decoding is the ability to interpret graphic symbols, through the use of letter–sound correspondences, so the message can be understood. Another term for this process is phonological recoding.

The ability to identify and understand words is fundamental to the reading process. There are several strategies readers use to decipher unknown words including decoding, sight, analogy, and context. Decoding plays a fundamental role in students' early reading development because phonological recoding enables a bond, or connection, between letters and sounds to be formed. Reading decoding research shows that once the bond has been established, decoding the word is no longer necessary because the word is recognized in memory and can be read rapidly by sight. Decoding is one of the most important word-recognition strategies because it allows ...

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