Decodable Books: Do They Actually Work?
Learning to read comes naturally to some children; they seem to just get it without needing to understand and learn the phonic codes that make reading sensible. For some, on the other hand, learning to read isn’t always that simple.
When it comes to reading, several children need a systematic approach in teaching in order to acquire this skill incrementally. As they begin learning to read, decodable books prove to be an integral part of the entire learning process.
At this point, some of you are probably asking a pretty important question: “What are decodable books?” Don’t worry – in this blog post, we’ll answer all your concerns regarding decodable books and reveal if they actually work or not.
What we’ll cover:
- What are decodable books?
- How do decodable readers work?
- Purpose of decodable books
- Why are decodable readers important?
- Do decodable readers work?
What Are Decodable Readers?
Decodable books or decodable readers are texts that only contain specific phonics patterns or codes, which the student has already learned. These books usually involve high-frequency words.
How Do Decodable Readers Work?
Decodable readers are designed particularly to align with precise, systematic phonic instruction. They’re simple stories formed using exclusive terms that are phonetically decodable, using letter patterns that students have already learned in phonics classes.
For example, a student at the initial learning stages of reading who only knows short vowel sounds can decipher simple terms like bed, pig, and hat; however, he/she will not be able to decode words like owl and see.
On the other hand, a student at a greater reading level who already knows multi-letter phonograms like OA and AI will be able to decode more complex terms like goat and snail.
Moreover, Education Week reveals that decodable books have no storyline; they’re entirely nonsensical whether you begin on the first page or the last page, and even if you read backwards.
Purpose of Decodable Books
The purpose of decodable readers is to enable students to practice the phonic patterns and codes their teacher is teaching them. So far, they’ve proved to offer an outstanding opportunity for in-context practice. Many experts believe that students should practice phonics words and patterns in isolation as well as in the context of writing and reading.
Additionally, these books are used only for short periods to help students develop and improve decoding skills. Once these are in place, students move on to reading varied and wonderfully rich children’s literature.
Note: When searching for decodable books for kindergarten or 1st grade, know that the word ‘decodable readers’ is often used improperly, especially when it indicates books in which only half the terms are decodable. This can be extremely frustrating for many children and may not even support good reading habits. Therefore, keep in mind that good decodable readers – like the ones provided in Reading Teacher programs – are fully decodable and allow your students to read each word.
Why Are Decodable Readers Important?
Apart from effectively teaching phonics skills, there are some other ways decodable books help students and teachers. Here are some of them:
- Children learning to read can read decodable books independently
- Decodable readers encourage students to practice their decoding skills rather than merely relying on images and guessing.
- These books establish and foster a self-reliant approach among beginning stage readers.
- With decodable books, learners experience immediate success and acquire interest, enthusiasm, and confidence for reading.
- These books focus on a target grapheme (spelling) and phoneme (sound).
- Decodable readers aid successful reading of children’s literature.
Do Decodable Readers Work?
Yes, it is true that decodable readers effectively teach phonics skills to struggling students, but they do not teach them some of the other vital decoding skills of vocabulary and grammar.
A decodable reader is an excellent tool if you intend to teach and improve the reading skills of young learners. They will not only make learning how to read easy and effective but also fun.
Click here to see our range of decodable books for kindergarteners and 1st graders or explore other Reading Teacher programs that can make reading lessons fun and successful. You can access interactive videos, quizzes, stories, and printable books that have set over 40,000 students on a straight road to academic achievement through our platform.