[Reading Elephant is now on Instagram. To follow us, search for @readingelephant. https://www.instagram.com/readingelephant/]
Are you looking for decodable books for your k-2 student?
In this post, I will outline decodable books that might help your student build fundamental reading skills.
Decodable books (also called phonics books) are designed so kids can learn one sound at a time. This gradual introduction allows kids to adapt to new material, all while helping them feel like successful, confident readers.
Decodable books limit vocabulary to words that a child can “decode” sound-by-sound. For example, a word like “usually” should not be in a decodable book, since it does not follow the phonics code, is not a common sight word and is difficult to recognize. In contrast, words like “boat,” “bike” and “cat” are allowed in decodable books, since these words are entirely phonetic. Also, words like “would” “their” and “build” are also allowed in decodable books, since these are common sight words.
Unfortunately, a lot of suppliers slap “phonics” on early readers even though they are not phonics books.
I’m going to outline some real phonics books that have earned the “phonics” label.
Of course, there’s Reading Elephant printable phonics books! We use a gentle, step-by-step approach to learning to read. Reading Elephant printable phonics books introduce phonics sounds gradually, allowing children to slowly acclimate to harder texts. They’re designed for struggling readers and beginning readers.
Our printable books limit sight words at first, but then gradually, in later sets, introduce some of the most common sight words. This allows kids to practice the most common phonics sounds and the most common sight words in one phonics books series.
Their downside? Some may not like that the series is a printable product. You can download the product onto your device easily (with several clicks since the pdfs are assembled in folders). From there, you can print the phonics books as your student needs them.
This is my next favorite phonics books series, second only to Reading Elephant printable books of course. Primary phonics limits sight words, and they do this in the extreme. They may not be good for kids who need to practice common sight words. However, they are fantastic for kids who need to practice sound-by-sound decoding, the cornerstone of reading skills. They are an incredibly valuable resource. Plus, the stories are cute and sometimes funny.
These books can walk your student through short and long vowels.
These books can help kids build fluency with common phonics sounds. The series progresses rather rapidly, so you may need several other phonics series to support your struggling or beginning reader. These books have cute pictures. They highlight sight words, which can help adults identify when they need to tell the student to “make a sound tweak.” They also highlight common phonics sounds that the student likely needs to work on.
I have used their books designed for beginning readers and I’m not familiar with some of their other products.
Bob Books Set 1 & 2
The first two sets of Bob Books are solidly phonics stores. The latter sets are um… quite debatably suitable for kids who “just get” reading.
The first two sets are worth getting for beginning readers. These sets help kids master short vowels. However, don’t make the typical mistake and rely only on these books. Your struggling reader needs to practice with other phonics stories so she doesn’t memorize these select Bob Books. In addition, your student may need a gentle approach to a broader range of phonics sounds.
These are great books for kids who already know short vowel sounds. They are short stories full of colorful, fun pictures. There are not enough of them, however, so you’ll need to supplement your decodable books library with some other phonics series.
These decodable books gently guide students through phonics sounds while limiting sight words. Their downside? They can be expensive, even for phonics books, which tend to be expensive in general. However, they’re great for teachers who are working on developing a broad collection of phonics stories.
I have not personally bought Flyleaf Publishing products, but I have looked at samples, used only a few borrowed books and I’ve heard good things about them. Based on these encounters, I can recommend the product.
Typically, beginning readers and struggling readers need several phonics books series to practice decoding skills.
Reading Elephant printable phonics books are a great start to your phonics library.