All our products are digital downloads! We do not mail physical products.

What Are Decodable Books? Why Are They Important?

What are Decodable Books?

Decodable books are specially designed reading materials that align with phonics instruction and the science of reading.

These books use a controlled vocabulary that matches the letter-sound relationships (phonics) that children have been taught. For example, if students have learned the sounds for the letters "m," "a," "t," and "s," a decodable book might include words like "mat," "sat," "am," and "at."

The primary goal of decodable books is to help emerging readers practice and apply their phonics knowledge in a real reading context.

How to Use Decodable Books

Decodable books can be used in various ways to support early reading development:


  • Structured Practice: During guided reading sessions, teachers work with small groups of students, focusing on specific phonics skills. Decodable books provide structured practice as students apply the phonics rules they have learned in a supportive environment. Our Decodable Readers Books with Word Work are perfect for these sessions, offering engaging stories combined with word work activities to reinforce learning.
  • Modeling and Feedback: Teachers can model how to decode new words, think aloud as they read, and provide immediate feedback to correct errors and reinforce strategies.
  • Differentiated Instruction: Guided reading sessions allow for differentiation. Teachers can select decodable books that match the instructional needs of each group, ensuring that all students are challenged at an appropriate level.


  • Building Confidence: Decodable books are ideal for independent practice because they reinforce phonics skills without overwhelming young readers with unfamiliar words. This builds confidence as students experience success in reading. Check out our Phonics Books - Science of Reading Aligned for decodable passages that support independent reading.
  • Reinforcement: Regular independent practice with decodable books helps reinforce the phonics patterns and high-frequency words that students are learning. This consistency is key to mastering early reading skills.
  • Choice and Motivation: Providing a variety of decodable books allows students to choose what interests them, increasing motivation and engagement in reading practice. 

 Additional Tips for Using Decodable Books

  • Interactive Activities: Incorporate interactive activities such as word hunts, where students look for specific phonics patterns in the text, or partner reading, where students take turns reading to each other.
  • Tracking Progress: Use reading logs or journals to track students' progress with decodable books. This helps in identifying areas where additional practice is needed and celebrating improvements.
  • Reading Centers: Create reading centers or stations in the classroom where students can choose from a selection of decodable books. This provides a structured yet independent practice opportunity during literacy centers or free reading time.
  • Consistent Review: Regularly review previously learned phonics patterns through decodable books to ensure retention and mastery. This can be done through rereading favorite books or integrating old patterns into new reading materials.

By using decodable books in these varied and intentional ways, teachers can provide comprehensive support to emerging readers, helping them build the foundational skills necessary for fluent reading and overall literacy success. 

How to Choose the Correct Decodable Books

Choosing the right decodable books is crucial to ensure they are truly effective in reinforcing phonics skills. Here are some tips: 

Alignment with Scope and Sequence: Ensure the decodable books follow the phonics scope and sequence you are teaching. The books should introduce sounds and patterns progressively, matching what students have learned. 

Controlled Vocabulary: Good decodable books use a controlled vocabulary that includes only the letter-sound relationships and high-frequency words that students have already been taught. 

Engaging Content: While the primary focus is on phonics, the stories should still be engaging and interesting to motivate young readers. 

Illustrations: Look for books with supportive illustrations that help convey the meaning of the text without giving away the words.

What Makes a Good Decodable?

A good decodable book has the following characteristics:

  • Phonics Focus: Emphasizes specific phonics patterns or skills.
  • Repetition: Repeats words and patterns to reinforce learning.
  • Simple Sentences: Uses simple sentence structures to avoid overwhelming young readers. 
  • Gradual Progression: Introduces new phonics skills gradually and builds on previous knowledge.

Practice Blending Sounds to Read Words Found in the Text

One of the essential skills in early reading is blending sounds to form words. Here’s how to practice this using decodable books:

Sound It Out: Encourage students to sound out each letter or phoneme in a word and then blend them together. 

Segmenting: Break down words into individual sounds and then blend them back together.

Repeated Reading: Have students read the same decodable book multiple times to improve their blending skills and build fluency.

Practice Automaticity or aFast Readwith Tricky Words

Automaticity refers to the ability to recognize words quickly and effortlessly. To practice this:

High-Frequency Words: Focus on high-frequency words that appear in the text and practice them separately.

Timed Reads: Use timed reading sessions to encourage faster word recognition.

Flashcards: Create flashcards for tricky words and practice them regularly.

Sending Home Decodable Books

Clear Guidelines: Provide parents with clear and simple instructions on how to support their child's reading at home. This can include:

  • Reading Routine: Suggest a regular time and quiet place for reading each day to establish a routine.
  • Sounding Out Words: Encourage parents to prompt their child to sound out words rather than guessing from pictures or context.
  • Praise and Encouragement: Advise parents to offer plenty of praise and encouragement to build their child's confidence and enjoyment of reading.
  • Discussion Questions: Include a few discussion questions related to the story to help parents engage their child in conversations about the book.

Tracking Progress: Use reading logs to help students and parents track progress. Reading logs can include:

  • Date: The date the book was read.
  • Title: The title of the book.
  • Parent's Signature: A space for parents to sign off, confirming the reading session.
  • Comments: An optional section for parents to note any observations or challenges their child encountered.
  • Incentives: Consider implementing a reward system to motivate students. For example, after completing a certain number of books, students could receive a small prize or recognition in the classroom.

Parent Workshops

Understanding the Importance: Offer workshops or informational sessions to help parents understand the value of decodable books in their child's reading development. Topics to cover could include:

  • The Science of Reading: Explain the research behind phonics-based reading instruction and how decodable books support this approach.
  • Phonics Skills: Provide an overview of the phonics skills being taught and how decodable books reinforce these skills.
  • Reading Strategies: Share practical strategies parents can use to support their child's reading at home.
  • Interactive Sessions: Make workshops interactive by including activities such as:
  • Model Reading: Demonstrate how to read a decodable book with a child, including how to prompt for sounding out words and provide positive feedback.
  • Q&A: Allow time for parents to ask questions and share their experiences.
  • Resource Packets: Provide take-home packets with sample decodable books, reading logs, and instructional guides.
  • Virtual Options: For parents who cannot attend in person, consider offering virtual workshops or recorded sessions that they can access at their convenience.

By following these tips, teachers can create a supportive and collaborative environment that extends the benefits of decodable books from the classroom to the home, fostering a love for reading and strengthening foundational literacy skills.

Our SOR Aligned Nonfiction Decodable Readers MEGA BUNDLE provides a rich selection of books that can be sent home to support ongoing learning.

For educators and parents looking for high-quality, science of reading-aligned decodable books, check out our offerings:

Decodable Readers Books with Word Work

These books provide a comprehensive approach to reading by combining engaging stories with word work activities. Perfect for reinforcing phonics skills and ensuring students understand the material. Each book is aligned with the science of reading, making them an excellent choice for young readers. 

Phonics Books - Decodable Passages, Reading and Comprehension Questions

Our phonics books include decodable passages designed to strengthen phonics skills and reading comprehension. Each passage is followed by comprehension questions that help students practice critical thinking and retention of what they've read. 

SOR Aligned Nonfiction Decodable Readers MEGA BUNDLE

This mega bundle offers a collection of nonfiction decodable readers, providing students with interesting facts and information while they practice their reading skills. The nonfiction context helps build background knowledge and vocabulary, aligned with the science of reading principles. 

Decodable Readers + Word Work MEGA BUNDLE

This mega bundle combines decodable readers with targeted word work activities, offering a comprehensive solution for early reading instruction. The books and activities are designed to reinforce phonics skills and promote literacy in a structured and engaging way. 

Our decodable books are designed to support phonics instruction and help young readers develop strong foundational reading skills. Explore our collections to find the perfect books for your classroom or home library!