Reading Teacher

Benefits of Using Decodable Books in Kindergarten and First Grade

Benefits of Using Decodable Books in Kindergarten and First Grade

Wondering what are decodable books for kindergartners and how they can help children read fluently? We have got you covered!

You may have some knowledge about decodable books, especially if you have a preschooler and first-grader at home. They are extremely valuable for children who are first learning to sound out words.

Before getting into the benefits of using decodable books in kindergarten and first grade, we will first explain how they work.

decodable books

What are Decodable Books?

In order to read fluently, readers have to decode unknown words as they go. Decodable books consist of words that are phonetically decodable. They are the teaching and learning aids that help children make connections between sounds and words.

Decodable books help children practice a particular letter-sound pattern instead of relying on pictures and guessing. These particular books have gained significant attention in education for quite some time now.

They are great for all children. However, they are absolutely essential for children who are starting to learn to read.


The phonics-based text that decodable books for first grade contain is usually based around 1-2 phonics skills. Decodable books are progressive. As basic phonic patterns are taught before third grade, decodable books are seen less in third, fourth, and fifth-grade classrooms.

If your child is an emerging reader, there are many teaching programs that you can enroll them in. 337 Decodable Words are learned in the Reading Teacher Program.

Why Should You Use Decodable Books in Kindergarten and First Grade?

decodable books in kindergarten

Decodable books for first grade and kindergartens are important because they help emerging readers practice decoding skills. They help children practice phonics patterns.

Let’s take a look at other benefits of decodable books for preschoolers and first graders:


Builds Confidence

Decodable books help emerging readers become confident in their reading abilities. Furthermore, they help them stop depending on others to solve word puzzles for them.

When children apply phonetic skills to connected text, they realize they don’t need to depend on others to help them. This helps them gain confidence and build their interest in reading.


Feeling confident is extremely important for struggling readers. If you want your child to be confident and become a better reader, it’s important that you celebrate their success.


Builds Neuronal Pathways

The opportunity for repeated practice help readers retain new vocabulary to a greater extent and builds neuronal pathways.

When the brain repeats a single word many times, it strengthens neural pathways and offers the comfort of predictability.


Encourages Strong Habits

By gaining the skills to decode unfamiliar words, emerging readers become confident. This discourages bad habits such as guessing words by the picture or based on the first few letters. They also stop skipping over unknown and difficult words and try their best to pronounce and understand the word's meaning.

Helps Taking a Step Towards Fluent Independent Reading

One way to read fluently is to read and reread words. Fluency is identified as one of the 5 pillars of reading, and it’s an outcome of effective decoding. They also help children develop and improve their comprehension skills.


A Final Word

There are many free printable decodable books for kindergarten and first grade. Decodable books encourage strong reading habits and help young readers build confidence. They give them the chance to apply phonics skills that they have previously learned.

They create a sense of motivation and achievement in readers and help them develop good decoding habits. However, do keep in mind that they are only meant to be used during a short window when kids are first starting to learn how to read.

Reading Teacher Reviews and Testimonials:

"My 7-year-old twins have ADD and it's difficult to keep them focused. They love to read the stories and then go back and listen again"  Natasha from San Diego


Read more reviews about our program here!

Start Teaching Reading for Free Now!

Access Level 1’s four interactive stories and the accompanying supplemental resources to teach elementary students how to read. No credit card is needed. Join the 42,635 teachers and students using our reading program.

Decodable Books: Do They Actually Work?

Decodable Books: Do They Actually Work?

how decodable books 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.

Closing Note

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.

Start Teaching Reading for Free Now!

Access Level 1’s four interactive stories and the accompanying supplemental resources to teach elementary students how to read. No credit card is needed. Join the 42,635 teachers and students using our reading program.