What are decodable books?

Beginner reader

What are decodable books? Although the rise of the Science of Reading movement has meant that systematic phonics teaching programs are gaining popularity in the US, one of the most frequently asked questions is still, “What are decodable books?”. Phonic Books co-founder, Tami Reis-Frankfort, provides a brief clarification of the meaning of the term, ‘decodable…

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Bridging phonics and phonemic awareness to build proficient readers

Phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge are the biggest indicators of how well a child will learn to read in the first two years of school. Yet phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge are NOT the end goal. Our end goal will always be proficient readers. To reach that end, we must work to instruct children on…

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Providing Reading Interventions for Students in Grades 4-9: How to build decoding skills to read multisyllabic words

The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) within the US Department of Education periodically issues free practices guides for teachers. They convene a panel, review the research, and formulate general recommendations based on the evidence. What I like about these practice guides is that they are concise, accessible, and practical. The goal is not to get…

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Cultural shift from letter names to sounds

Happy Spring!! The weather is getting warmer, the flowers will be in bloom, and the Kindergarten Center teachers are wondering when it will be time to teach letter names! For those of you who did not read, “Lynbrook Takes the Lead on Long Island,” the Lynbrook School District is revamping its reading curriculum and is…

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious – scaffolding the teaching of multisyllabic words

Scaffolding the teaching of multisyllabic words –  simple to complex Many teachers are focused on teaching kids how to sound out graphemes (spellings) and to blend sounds together into words.  They will even be teaching kids how to manipulate phonemes in phonemic awareness activities. These are all essential underlying skills necessary for learning to read. …

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To script or not to script?

What do you think of when you hear the word “scripted” pop up in conversations about teaching reading? For some teachers, the associations are negative. They may think of mindless robotic lesson delivery that strips teachers of their autonomy and creativity and turns them into zombies. The word can trigger worries about limitations in the…

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Aligning decodable books with your phonics program

Regardless of which program or approach to teaching phonics we use, teaching phonics systematically means we follow a particular scope and sequence with its own logic for introducing sound-symbol correspondences and spelling patterns. Many teachers are coming to recognize that when children are given reading material with words that match what they have been taught,…

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Can Lucy Calkins’ changing views shift the way millions of children are taught to read?

The news has been spreading that Lucy Calkins, head of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP), has been learning about the science of reading and making changes to her guidance and widely used curricula. Throughout her career, she has often characterized phonics as ‘low-level’ work that should be minimized and has promoted top-down…

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Books to engage and motivate older, struggling readers

Older, struggling readers often have gaps in the their phonics knowledge.  They find alternative spellings particularly confusing.  Many suffer from low self-esteem so offering them decodable materials that are age-appropriate is vital.  Vital because if the reading materials can engage the disaffected reader, his/her motivation to try and read will grow.  Without motivation it is…

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Consonant blends and consonant teams – what’s the difference?

Many of the terms in phonics are quite confusing.  Consonant blends and consonant teams are such terms.  So, what is the difference between the two? A consonant blend is a term used for two adjacent consonants in a word that represent two separate sounds.  Take the word, ‘blog’: the letters ‘b’ and ‘l’ spell two…

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