The Science of Reading Teaching Decodables : Definition, Benefits & Resources .


Reading Teacher, a digital platform purpose-built to provide comprehensive, step-by-step reading platform for early readers, uses decodable texts to enhance children’s literacy ability.

But how does it work? What are decodables? What’s the science of reading teaching decodables? How will it benefit young readers? And is it really better than leveled reading? These are the questions we know are quick-firing throughout your teacher/parent brain right now. 

Don’t worry. We’re going to answer all your burning queries right here. Let us show you how teaching reading through decodables is the way to go — and how it is all backed by 30+ years of research. 

The Science Behind Reading


The Science of Reading, shortened in the field to SoR is a huge body of research. Experts have been looking into the factors deemed necessary for reading proficiency for years, and it’s not stopping anytime soon.


The SoR has debunked the myths of how we learn to read. It has been concluded that we learn to read proficiently in one way only, even though it’s taught using multiple methods.


Here’s What We Know About The Science of Reading Teaching Decodables


As you can imagine, the texts on this matter are extensive. So, we’ll break it down for you. This is what we know from the wide array of research papers and evidence:


  • The majority of reading difficulties can be prevented in at-risk early readers (i.e., Kindergarten to third grade, the age group catered for by Reading Teacher).
  • Amazingly, even students who present reading difficulties in older grades can be helped through intensive decoding training and phonemic awareness.
  • Teaching memorization of whole words is limited. Teaching phonics uplifts, empowers, and builds exponential knowledge.
  • An extensive orthographic lexicon (i.e., sight word bank) can’t be built unless exposure to decodables is given, allowed, and encouraged.

Does That Mean Using Memorization as a Teaching Tool is Redundant?


In short, no. It’s not entirely redundant. However, as we mentioned, it’s nowhere near as effective as learning decodable phonics. 

Think of it this way — if a child memorizes 10 sight words (i.e., words recognized by sight not sound or other factors), they can read 10 words. That’s it.

But if they learn the sounds of 10 letters instead, they can read 350 three-sound words, 4,320 four-sound words, and a whopping 21,650 five-sound words!

In schools, we see a lot of overreliance on sight words since the children lack the skills to comprehend and decode texts with new words. Thus, they have to learn thousands of sight words before they can progress onto the next grade/level of reading.

This all changes when you use decodable texts like the Reading Teacher platform.

How Reading Teacher Fits With the Science


Now you know the science of reading and a bit about why decodable texts trump sight word memorization, we’ll discuss how Reading Teacher uses SoR to turn your child into a proficient reader from very early on.

The digital platform, designed using the decodable phonics teaching method, contains 100 interactive, animated stories to suit 25 levels.

In each story, your child will discover/review new phonemes, high-frequency words, and new words. These will be repeated 5 times or more throughout the same book, and then 5 more times in the subsequent 10 stories.


If desired, your child can even choose to “listen” or “read” to allow for different exposures of the same phonemes/words. The decodable world is always highlighted too. This indicates a clickable that allows your little one to hear the word while reading it which helps along their journey.


So, How Does This Help?


The online learning platform uses phonics to allow your pre-K, Kindergarten, and early elementary school children to build a solid reading foundation. They’ll achieve academic literary success by going through the program thanks to the focus on decodables and not memorization.

Your child will not only understand the sounds but understand the meanings of the sounds to be able to work out new words for themselves.

It’s the personalized reading journey your child needs.

Still not convinced?Let’s take a look at a comparison of leveled reading over decodables to see which comes out on top (hint: it’s decodables!).


Leveled Reading VS Decodables: A Comparison


You’ve been hit with a lot of information to think about here. So let’s take a step back and have a peek at this table. You’ll find it clearly represents the differences between leveled reading teaching and decodable texts:



Leveled Books

Decodable Books


Books characterized by the difficulty of the text. Your child is assigned a level based on accuracy, comprehension, and fluency.

Books focused on a particular word family or phonetic pattern. They are mainly used for early and/or struggling readers to increase automaticity, fluency, and confidence.


Often exclusively used in schools. Overused.

Hardly seen in early years. Underused.

Word Decodability

42% success average

62% success average


Picture cues and guessing the meanings of new words

Knowledge application and self-confidence in their understanding of reading foundations

Granted, there is an argument to be had for both sides! However, science, as we’ve discussed at length, consistently points to decodables as the more effective way to teach early readers.

The Benefits of Decodables

We’ve covered many benefits of decodable texts. However, we think it’s worth reiterating them:


  • No More Guessing or Needing Pictoral References — Decodable books allow children to break patterns of estimation, struggle with multisyllabic words, and confusion over isolated words. 
  • Improved Orthographic Memory — Sight words aren’t just irregular words like memorization leads us to believe. Instead, they need to be transported to long-term memory to ensure they are instantly recognizable when in texts without pictures. Your child’s orthographic memory will improve thanks to the elimination of untaught phonetic patterns and irregular uses. 
  • Increased Knowledge Application — The structure of increased exposure used in decodable teaching methods allows dependable literacy foundations to be constructed. 
  • Systematic Progression — Carefully chosen decodable texts will ensure your child learns at a pace that suits them. New concepts are introduced in a deliberate, systematic way to ensure a strong base before moving on.
  • Huge Leap Toward Independent Reading — Fluency is one of the 5 pillars of reading. Since this realization, it has become a focus in schools. Research shows that fluency doesn’t come from independent reading initially, but it’s born from effective decoding.

How Reading Teacher, a Systematic Decodable Approach, Is Helpful For Struggling Readers


So far, we have focused on early readers. But the science of reading teaching decodables determines that it’s also effective for struggling readers, particularly children with dyslexia. 

Systematic, structured decodable approaches like the program adopted by Reading Teacher, ensures the child can actually read the texts they’re looking at before moving on. They develop letter-sound associations and build upon this knowledge without muddying their brain with other sounds at the same time.

Multi-sensory experiences are even more effective which is why we implemented the “read” and/or “listen” functions on our interactive stories. 


Decodable teaching is the most effective method for teaching early readers, struggling readings, and children with dyslexia — science approved.

Reading Teacher: Backed by Science
Reading Teacher has a wide range of decodable books that will expand your child’s literary ability exponentially using proven phonetic teaching techniques.


You’ve seen the facts, stats, benefits, and everything in between. We love Reading Teacher, and we know you and your child/classroom will love it too. It’s a package of enjoyment and education all rolled into one!


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Are your children really learning to read in the most effective way possible? Probably not! Find out more about the Science of Reading and how decodable texts are the way forward.