Are you looking for a developmentally appropriate tool for teaching decoding in Kindergarten that works quickly? Are you looking for a whole class approach?  Are you looking for a way to get special education students to read better – particularly boys?

Tucker Signing Strategy is an inexpensive strategy for teaching decoding. It can be used with any program. Dr. Bethany Tucker chunked the sounds of the alphabet into 46 “chunks” and gave a hand signal for each one.  She tells students that letters “are buddies” and often “hang around together.”  When they are “together” they don’t sound and act like they do when they are alone.



So for example, s and h often hang around together and when they do, they make the sound /sh/. The hand signal for sh is the finger in front of the lips.



R has lots of friends – e, i,u but when r “hangs around” with the letter a it is not so shy and it roars.

Indiana University did a study and found that as compared with students who did not receive such instruction, students who received instruction in Tucker Reading:

  • Made significantly larger gain in their reading.
  • Made significantly greater progress in the decoding of sight words.
  • (Those who were in some type of special program) made significantly greater progress.

The summary of the Indiana study states “The Tucker learning strategy can be an effective way of improving reading skills among students who may or may not have reading difficulty in grades K-12. The results of this study made it clear that the Tucker reading strategy is an important literacy tool for teachers of all grade levels to have available to them. It is a tool that can be incorporated into classrooms along with other learning strategies.”

aha! Process consultant Bethanie H. Tucker, Ed.D. is the creator of Tucker Signing Strategies and author of Tucker Signing Strategies for Reading and Reading by Age 5