Practical Strategies to Improve Single Word Decoding Fluency in KS2

This lecture is the third in a series of lectures by Dr Grace Elliott and Emma Hartnell-Barker, and will offer practical classroom-based solutions for KS2 students exhibiting slow, non-automatic word reading.


Word processes that are inefficient hinder text understanding by reducing the cognitive resources available for comprehension. Slow, non-automatic word recognition processes in alphabetic orthographies typically occur when children are faced with trying to ‘sound out’ most of the words, or by laboriously using sentence context cues to guess the unknown word. Over 1 in 4 children currently leave primary school unable to read age-appropriate text with comprehension. Teachers need to prepare students for the demands of the high school curriculum and are time poor. Quick, effective, evidence-based strategies will be shared to improve decoding fluency and strengthen orthographic mapping skills.  

Course Description

With poor phonemic awareness, and only a limited knowledge of the phoneme-grapheme combinations that are used to represent the spoken code as text, many students move through primary school unable to develop automaticity in word recognition and reach the ‘sight word’ reading phase. As they can’t decode with automaticity they can’t develop fluency. They may read each word aloud, but it is with a robotic voice, they ignore punctuation cues and it’s unlikely they’re comprehending what they’re reading.

They also struggle to spell words phonetically and accurately map the phonemes to their corresponding graphemes, or effectively edit their own writing. They may recognize a word on paper, but still spell it incorrectly when encoding – and fail to notice. It can be difficult for KS2 teachers to know how to adapt activities and ensure that they move past this phase before starting high school. Four main activities will be introduced, that Year 3 – 6 teachers have reported being highly effective and easily implemented.

In the lecture delegates will consider the impact slow, non-automatic word recognition has on KS2 students, and the difficulties students with limited phoneme to grapheme mapping skills face when spelling. The following practical strategies will be demonstrated:

  • Grapheme segmentation as a visual representation of the phoneme to grapheme mapping of English words, and a practical application; using speech sound lines and numbers, to develop spelling skills.
  • Paired reading of texts in speech sounds to ‘train the brain’ to see written words as speech sound symbols positioned from left to right. This can speed up the rate at which students understand that graphemes can represent lots of different speech sounds, and speech sounds can be represented by many graphemes. Students do this on their own and in pairs.
  • Creating wall displays that enable students to explore the 350+ phoneme to grapheme patterns, including the 20+ ways to represent the schwa.

A quick (no preparation required) whole-class comprehension activity also suitable for those at the ‘single word’ reading stage. Teachers use a short piece of text with the whole class, to tackle the decoding and understanding of unfamiliar words, and focus on comprehension. Students will be activating prior knowledge, and using prediction, questioning, clarifying, summarising and inferencing.

Course Outcome

Delegates will learn free, practical strategies to engage and support KS2 students exhibiting slow, non-automatic word recognition processes. These can be used within the regular classroom setting, promoting inclusion. 

Target Audience

KS2, Learning Support


This training course is for one and a half hours from 1.30-3.00pm on Thursday, 17 November 2022 on GoToWebinar. Delegates will have access to the recording of the webinar for two weeks after to watch as many times as they like. If you cannot attend live on the day, you will still have access to the recordings from the same evening for two weeks from that date if you book a place.

Course Materials

Electronic copies of the handouts will be provided but delegates will be responsible for printing off their own copies as this event is online.

Joining Instructions

Delegates will be sent a link to GoToWebinar where the course will be held a few days before. You do no need specialist software or an app to attend.

Terms & Conditions

Please note, this training must be paid in full before access is given to the webinar. By submitting a booking you are agreeing to pay Patoss Ltd within 30 days and accept our Cancellation/Transfer Policy and Terms and Conditions which are shown at the bottom of the website page. 

Delegates will be responsible for ensuring that they have suitable Wi-Fi, hardware and software to enable them to view the webinar.


Sheila Rostill, Webinar Administrator


T:   07956 644 786

When & Where

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Cancellation/Transfer Policy 


This course is worth 1.5 hour general CPD

If you need help booking your event(s) please refer to our useful How to Book a Course Guide