Saturday, April 26, 2014

Decoding Resources for Children Who Struggle to Read

March and April were very busy months for us here at Brennan Innovators. In addition to providing our usual consultation services and reading tools for challenged readers, we also attended two educational conferences here in the Midwest.

Again and again at each conference, we spoke with parents as well as teachers who mentioned the issues with decoding that their children and students were experiencing when trying to read. We enjoyed providing strategies and resources at each event both through presentations and at our exhibit tables. The attendees were very interested in and most grateful for the ideas presented. We came away from both conferences feeling that we had made a difference for more than a few families and classrooms, which is always our goal.

What is this reading skill called decoding? Decoding is the process of using known words to figure out unfamiliar words. It is based on the idea of looking for and seeing small words or sound units inside larger words. For struggling or non-fluent readers, decoding demystifies reading. It also removes the "fear factor" and starts them on the road to becoming fluent, confident readers. Decoding is a kind of learning tool to help tackle the fear of reading aloud. When faced with a word that he or she doesn't know, instead of going into panic mode, the eyes can quickly scan for the small words they recognize. Almost immediately, they begin to read independently with more confidence and less dread.
(Source: Teach ALL Kids: ---see direct link to follow)

Because of the number of requests for decoding strategies received at our March and April conferences, we thought it might be helpful to provide a few decoding resources here for the good readers of our weekly blog. So for this week's post, we have done just that. We hope you will find the links and resources provided here to be helpful for a child or student you know who struggles to decode words yet wants to read those words and their sentences with much more success.

Happy reading, everyone!

Decoding Resources for Challenged Readers

Decoding and Reading Comprehension Resources---from Cambridge Public School
A long list of assistive technology links for young children, older children and young adults who are new or challenged readers.

Reading Comprehension and Decoding Strategies---from Scholastic
Ideas and resources for helping children learn how to decode words and begin to read with success.

Reading Focus Cards---from Brennan Innovators, LLC
Customizable, low-tech tools to help readers improve focus, decoding & tracking

Desktop APP---Reading Focus Cards (Patent 8,360,779)
This desktop app is the digital version of the low-tech, physical Reading Focus Cards tools (Patent 7,565,759), solutions for struggling readers. This app provides very practical support for children and adults with ADHD, dyslexia, low vision, stroke or brain injury issues, autism and other conditions that can affect reading success. This desktop application promotes more FOCUSED online reading of almost ALL digital media (webpages, PDF files, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets & more.) In addition, the app supports touch-screen technology (where applicable).
1. For Macs (desktops & notebooks):
Visit the Mac App Store and search for Reading Focus Cards or go directly to
2. For Windows PCs (desktops & laptops):
Visit Gumroad at OR visit the Microsoft Windows Store and search for the app called Reading Focus Cards. (No URLs are ever provided for apps in the Windows Store.)

Word Decoding Lists---from Teach All Kids
Practical decoding strategies to help children who are reluctant or challenged readers.

READING ACTIVITIES I---Teaching the Basic Code---Establishing the Alphabetic Principle---from
Classroom "learning-to-read" ideas, decoding strategies and more.

Decoding Strategies for PARENTS & More!
A Decoding Strategy Quick-Reference Guide for parents to keep and use at home.

For more information on customizable reading tools for ADHD, dyslexia & other reading challenges: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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