Decodable books are excellent for beginning readers, especially for those who have learning and/or reading disabilities. If you have read about the reading process, you know the steps to reading are very precise.
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When teaching reading, I recommend a sequential, multi-sensory approach. ONLY decodable books have words that the students have learned how to decode. These books allow the student to have reading success each step of the way. Each step is mastered before the student moves on to the next step.
When each step is mastered before the next step is tackled, the student says, "I can do this!" The student then has confidence to move on to the next harder tasks. This self motivation helps build the love of reading that will make him a life-long reader.
My favorite decodable readers are Primary Phonics. These are small booklets that have one or two sentences on each page. There are 12-15 pages per booklet. The pictures are not in color.
I have never had any child refuse to read these books because there were no pictures. This set of decodable books also has comprehension workbooks that can be purchased to accompany each set of decodable readers.
I've had several students that after they read their first decodable book, they ask for MORE. They even came to the next class telling me that they read the book to their dog, their doll and even to their stuff animals.
When I asked if they read it to their parents they would say, Of course. I read it 5 times to them."
My thought was that they probably read it so much to their parents, the parents told them to go read to the dog!
I also like the Alphabet Series decodable reading books. This series can be ordered through School Specialty Intervention (formerly Educators Publishing Service) or through this website. The Alphabet Series has attractive colored covers but the pictures inside are black and white.
However, again, I have not found this to be a downfall to get the students to read these books. These decodable books are designed to work with any systematic, sequential phonics curriculum.
There are other decodable readers on the market. However, these are the ones I have used for 23 years. These are tried and true! School Specialty materials are excellent. Any workbooks, readers or other curriculum that you get through them would be worth the money.
Step Into Reading books or I Can Read books are for beginning readers. These books are divided into grade level depending on the difficulty. However, the grade level is ONLY a guide and may not be the right level for your child.
Although these books are for beginning readers, they may not be right for the
learning disabled child. These books usually contain a high volume of non-phonetic
sight words which your child may not know.
NOTE: When using these beginning chapter books, make sure you have introduced any new words before your child starts reading it.
An alternative to these types of books is the decodable chapter books, Alphabet Series, 3. Using the entire Alphabet Series to teach reading to your struggling reader is the best way for her to learn how to read.
WHENEVER using anything other than decodable readers, please make sure that you look through the content and introduce the new words prior to the student reading the book. You may have to introduce a new phonics concept as well.
For instance, the word "cable" may be in the book you have chosen. If your child hasn't learned that ble says bul like in the word table OR if he hasn't learned how to divide a word, then the new phonics concept would be to teach him that ble says bul.
Many of these books use words with tion and sion. If the student does not know these say /shun/, than she will try to pronounce it as /tie on/. This is understandable if she hasn't been taught types of syllables and how to divide between 2 vowels.
Make a list of these new words so that you can drill the student on them each time you work on reading. If words are in an easy book, than they will more than likely be in the child's vocabulary. The child needs to be able to read the word rapidly and with accuracy.
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These other specialty book stores which are included in the Reading Cornerstone Store were created just for you so that you don't have to browse thousands of books only to obtain a book that may not be right for you. I have included not only books that I have read but books that have been recommended to me by colleagues.