What are decodable books?

Decodable books are reading exercises.  They offer children an opportunity to practice the phonic knowledge and skills they have learned within a controlled text.  Like when children are taught maths, they need to practise what they have been taught, in order to internalise the new learning and to develop automaticity. This is what decodable books do.  They do not compete with wonderful children’s literature.  They are not created for the same purpose.

Detractors of decodable books confuse the purpose of these books. They are used for only a short time to help children develop good decoding skills. Once these are in place, children move on to reading wonderful rich and varied children’s literature.  Decodable books facilitate successful reading of children’s literature.

Decodable books are books that children can read independently, once they have been taught the target phonemes and spellings in that book.

Decodable books  focus on a target phoneme (sound) or grapheme (spelling) that the children practice when  reading.  The first books in the scheme will have simple words but as the children progress, the words will get more complex and will look similar to other reading books. The difference is that they are learning a specific part of the phonic code.

Why is this important?
decodable books encourage children to ‘blend’ and not guess unfamiliar words

they develop a self reliant approach to reading in the beginner reader

the  reader experiences immediate success  and develops confidence and enthusiasm for reading

– they practice  the phonics taught in the classroom within the context of a story

they make sense of phonics: we learn phonics in order to read fun books

– children start reading from the very beginning. They need to learn a  just a  few sounds and how to blend them and they will be able to experience reading independently!

To see our range of decodable books visit: www.phonicbooks.co.uk

Tami

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