School-Based Intervention Idea from


Word Decoding: Teach a Hierarchy of Strategies  (Haring, Lovitt, Eaton & Hansen, 1978)

The student has a much greater chance of successfully decoding a difficult word when he or she uses a ‘Word Attack Hierarchy’--a coordinated set of strategies that move from simple to more complex.

The student uses successive strategies until solving the word. (1) When the student realizes that he or she has misread a word, the student first attempts to decode the word again. (2) Next, the student reads the entire sentence, using the context of that sentence to try to figure out the word’s meaning--and pronunciation. (3) The student breaks the word into parts, pronouncing each one. (4) If still unsuccessful, the student uses an index card to cover sections of the word, each time pronouncing only the part that is visible. The student asks ‘What sound does ___ make?, using phonics information to sound out the word. (5) If still unsuccessful, the student asks a more accomplished reader to read the word.


Haring, N.G., Lovitt, T.C., Eaton, M.D., & Hansen, C.L. (1978). The fourth R: Research in the classroom. Columbus, OH: Charles E. Merrill Publishing.

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