“Are we going to read today!?”

Jessica berg


“These decodables are the perfect addition to our ever evolving collection.”

My name is Jessica Berg and this is my 3rd year serving as the instructional coach at Ellis Elementary. Ellis Elementary is one of 25 elementary schools in Rockford School District 205. We are an urban school with over 400 students K-5. We have a diverse student body with many students from a low-income status background.

I began my Science of Reading journey at the end of last year. Our historical literacy data at Ellis was dismal with only 1% of our students meeting the state assessment. We needed to take a hard look at our current practices and make a drastic change. As an instructional leader, I began to immerse myself in the Science of Reading by buying books, attending conferences, listening to podcasts, and joining social media groups. 

With the help and support of my amazing administration, we soon got our staff on board through summer PD and planned to completely restructure our small group instruction. Balanced Literacy was not working for our kids. We decided to move from guided reading to skills-based groups. Leveled readers were not servicing our needs and decodable readers were what our budding readers desperately needed. We have seen monumental growth in our kids while simultaneously building the confidence in our teachers. Since beginning the SOR initiative in the fall, our data only supports the growth of which we are seeing every day. Our students now identify themselves as readers. 

Our diverse decodable library needed to match our diverse needs in our students. Finding decodables that matched those needs was of great importance. We have purchased decodable books from over 10 different companies to provide a wide range and rich collection for our kids. Teachers pull these different decodable texts to match the multiple skills that are addressed daily during skills-based small group instruction. 

Decodables have given our kids something that many have never experienced before, the confidence to open a book and know they have the ability to read EVERY word on the page. Many times the kids are so excited to read the next page, they skip over the pictures completely!  The pure pride our students express daily is unmatched. The first thing they ask when sitting down with the teacher is “Are we going to read today!?” 

What I really appreciate about Phonics Books is that they really drill down to specific skills. Even though the skill gets more complex, the passage lengths do not. They truly allow for quick application of skills and immediate student success. These decodables are the perfect addition to our ever evolving collection.


This is a guest blog by Jessica Berg, the instructional coach at Ellis Elementary. She reached out to us to speak about her science of reading journey and why she chooses Phonic Books for her school library.


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