Decoding – The neglected skills set every MFL teacher should teach

The Language Gym

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Please note: this post was written in collaboration with Dylan Viñales as part of the GIS professional learning afternoons organized by Garden International School Kuala Lumpur

1. What are decoding skills? Why are they important?

Decoding refers to the process of converting the written symbols (graphemes) of a language into sound (phonemes). Decoding skills are very important in language acquisition for a number of reasons.

The most important reason is the fact that when we acquire new vocabulary, we need to be able to pronounce it correctly if we plan to use it effectively through the oral medium. In this sense, the ability to convert the spelling of a word into its phonological form is a major component of autonomous language learning competence. This is particularly true for those learners who acquire a lot of their vocabulary through reading and not through oral interaction or exposure to aural input.


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