Some children seem to learn to read by osmosis; they just “get it” without having to learn the phonics code that makes sense of reading. But learning to read isn’t always that simple. Many children require a systematic approach to teaching reading that allows them to learn incrementally. And as children learn to read, decodable books become an important part of the learning process.
What are decodable books?
Decodable books are books that contain only phonetic code that the student has already learned. For example, a child at the beginning stages of reading who has learned the short vowel sounds could decode simple words like hat, bed, and pig, but would not be able to decode words like see and owl. A student at a higher reading level who has learned multi-letter phonograms like AI and OA would be able to decode more complex words like snail and goat.
When searching for books for your beginning reader, be aware that the term decodable books is often used incorrectly, particularly when it refers to texts in which only about half the words are decodable. Being able to decode only half the words in a book is very frustrating for most students, and does not support good reading habits.
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