A code is a systematic use of symbols. In reading, the symbols are letters (and such ancillary elements as punctuation) and the system is the spelling and syntax of the language. Therefore, decoding is turning written symbols into language.

Decoding subskills include phonemic awareness, sound-letter correspondence rules, sight word recognition, and structural analysis of complex words.

Decoding skills tend to develop in phases.

One can develop decoding skills through phonics instruction.

This table presents the sequence, content, assessment, and instruction of decoding.

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NRP, 2000