About Decodable Books

What Are Decodable Books?

Decodable books are part of an explicity, structured reading approach and are designed to help children practice decoding. They include a high percentage of words that children have been taught to sound out and decode.

They follow a specific scope and sequence, beginning with basic letter-sound correspondences, before moving on to words with irregular or complicated letter-sound correspondences. Quality decodable books limit the use of these more difficult words in the earlier stages to encourage children to use their decoding skills rather than guess or look around for pictures or cues.

Why Should Libraries & Bookstores Feature Decodable Books?

  • Research proves that a phonics-based approach to reading helps all children learn to read.
  • Decodable books enable children to practice the phonics skills they have learned and cumulatively build on those skills to develop fluency and confidence, becoming skilled readers.
  • For children with dyslexia, a phonics-based structured approach is the only way they will learn to decode. All children can benefit from this approach, whether or not they have a diagnosed learning difference.
  • Decoding is a necessary skill for reading comprehension. If children cannot read the words, children will not comprehend what they are reading.
  • As a matter of inclusion, all children should have access to resources that help them learn to read.
  • Many school reading programs minimize the importance of decodable text, and children have little opportunity to practice their reading skills independently and learn how to decode words properly.
  • Memorizing sight words is not the same as learning to read and should not be a primary teaching strategy, especially for children with learning differences.
  • Decodable books help children master essential reading skills so that they can learn to read anything!

What Are the Different Types of Books used to Teach Kids to Read?

Authentic Text

Written for information or enjoyment in natural language. Authentic text is not meant as a teaching tool.

Predictable, Repetitive Text

The style of writing meant to teach children to read using a combination of high frequency (sight) words repeated throughout the book and pictures for children to guess words that are more difficult. These types of books encourage memorizations as a strategy as opposed to decoding words.

Leveled Books

Books are organized according to a gradient system from A –Z utilizing predictable, repetitive text in the beginning and using a controlled set of high frequency words that will increase in difficulty, while sentences increase in length. They are not controlled by letter and sound correspondences in words.