Following on from our blog this month where we focussed on key areas for developing early reading and phonics, we are going to devote this month’s book review to decodable texts.
We know that in order to support pupils with their developing phonics skills there is a need to provide them with books matching the sounds they are learning.
What do we need to look for in a phonetically decodable book?
Check the book only contains GPCs pupils have been taught to avoid the need for other strategies to be used to decode.
Check the high frequency and tricky words in the book. Do they also match the progression in teaching?
How to use these books?
Remind pupils of the GPCs they have been learning and will encounter in the book.
Revisit high frequency and tricky words they will be practising in the book.
Pick out additional vocabulary to discuss (this shouldn’t be too much but one or two words which may need explaining).
Model fluent reading as appropriate.
Allow pupils to re-read the book for different purposes e.g. decoding, fluency, comprehension and prosody.
What do parents need to know?
The purpose of these books is to allow pupils to practise reading words containing the GPCs they have been taught in school.
There will be repetition in the books as this allows pupils to build on their prior learning and to keep practising what they have been taught.
Pupils should be able to read the text independently (although you may still want to talk about some of the words and model some of the reading yourself).
It is good for pupils to re-read these books a few times to develop their fluency
These books do not replace wider books and it is still important to read books together that develop vocabulary and understanding of stories.
Choosing the right decodable texts.
You need to ensure that the books you choose match the phonics programme you deliver in school. The following publishers will be able to help you out and point you in the right direction.