Reading success

A commonly-held view in the educational establishment is that decodable books are boring, and children don't enjoy reading them.

Let's watch a child reading a decodable book. I dare you to say he's not having fun.

What are decodable books?

Decodable books are written with simplified spelling patterns, so that beginners and strugglers aren't constantly tripping over too-hard spellings, and can successfully sound out most or all of the words.

This gives them reading success, and success is fun.

Of course decodable books have a restricted vocabulary range, but it's still possible to write enjoyable stories, particularly if you have a good illustrator who understands children's sense of humour.

The Grade 1 and 2 children I've been working with have been so excited to find something they can actually read, as distinct from the library books they take home week after week and get stuck on. They often insist on reading one more decodable book when I suggest it's time to do a different activity.

Decodable book series gradually add more and more complex spelling patterns, until l the learner knows enough about letters and spellings to tackle regular books. In the meantime, they can still access quality children's literature by having adults read it to them.

The book in the above video is one of the very-affordable Piper Books, sold in Australia by Spearwood Press. As well as their books for little kids, they also have a range of books for older kids and adults, which I'll write about another time, as I've been corresponding with them, and they've just sent me some of their Mature Reading Instruction books and their Tutor Guide (thanks, Geraldine at Piper Books!). If anyone is in Melbourne and wants to come and have a look at them, just let me know. I can leave them at our reception in Clifton Hill and you can look at them in the waiting room if I'm not available.

I'd also love to hear feedback from anyone who's used decodable books. If you haven't but want to try some, there is a big list of all the ones I know about (including free ones, and the Fitzroy Readers seem to be in a lot of local libraries) here.

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2 thoughts on “Reading success

  1. Bronwyn

    I was keen to try decodable books with my son but was hesitant to buy decodable books.  Our Melbourne government primary school has been open for generations and I wondered if there might be some decodable books languishing about.  My son's teacher couldn't help me so I approached the teacher who teaches English as a second language for decodable books.  Her first offering wasn't actually a decodable book but then she said "or there are always the Fitzroy Readers".  Gold.  I borrowed a handful at around his level and we have enjoyed them over the recent school holidays.  I will return them and borrow another handful.  I would like to find more decodable readers, I wonder if I was allowed to cast my eyes over the dusty shelves in out of the way places about the school I can find more decodable readers.  Thanks to your post, I will also see if my local library has decodable readers.

    Reply
    1. alison Post author

      Bronwyn, that’s great to hear, and if your local library doesn’t have any decodable books you can always put in a request that they buy some. A lot of what libraries buy is based on requests from patrons. Also the SPELD SA and Auburn University ones are free.

      Reply

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