Thursday, June 24, 2021

#road2reading - thoughts on decodable readers 6.24.21

I'm back with some thoughts on books for kids who are starting to read independently.  Kids who:
  • are sight word readers
  • need decodable text
  • read about 1-3 sentences on a page
  • need supports to help them figure out unknown words
Books for these readers are evolving quickly and we have some great stories.  In the past, these stories were dry because they stuck to some very formulaic writing due to the decodable nature of the text.  However, now we have authors that are infusing plots into their decodable text and the stories have become interesting!  Authors are making us laugh with some fantastic humor!  And readers are loving the characters they are finding in decodable text series!  This is a great time to be learning how to read.

Now that we have these books, how do we shelve them?  Some ideas for that too!

In a classroom, you have a bit more flexibility.
Lower grade level teachers may:
  • want to put series together, just like you do for picture books and chapter books
  • combine books into bins.  Some ideas:  books that make you LOL, friendship stories, animal characters, books about sports, outer space stories
  • combine your decodable text stories with their counterpart picture books.  A decodable text story about friendship can go with your picture books about the same topic.
School libraries may:
  • shelve them with the picture books
  • put them together in an area together BUT please think about how this area is labeled.  For a child with reading challenges, picking a book from the "easy readers" is degrading.  Don't do this.

Here's the big thing.  When placing these books in your library, they SHOULD NEVER BE LABELED.  Not with a guided reading level, not with a lexile level, not with a level one, two, three, etc.  
But what about how the publisher labels them?
  • put a sticker over the publisher label.  The circular garage stickers work well.  I use them for all of the books in my classroom library which makes it easier for me to reshelve books.
  • If you're mixing books together whether they are decodable, leveled, or just a trade picture book, readers will see all of the books mixed together which sends the message that the level is not important.
Don't forget to book talk these books too!  Every time we talk about a book we're telling young readers this book is important, this book is worthy of reading.  Know your readers and if you have readers who need these books, talk about them.  Not just to those readers, but to all of the readers in your room.

Looking for some suggestions?  Here are three of my absolute favorite series for newly independent readers:

Training Day
El Toro and Friends series
by Raúl the Third
colored by Elaine Bay

Ty's Travels: Zip, Zoom!
Ty's Travels series
written by Kelly Starling Lyons
illustrated by Nina Mata

Fox the Tiger
Fox the Tiger series
by Corey Tabor

Some other notables:

We Need More Nuts! (Penguin Young Readers, Level 2)         A Pig, a Fox, and Stinky Socks     I Will Race You Through This Book!     The Bug in the Bog: Ready-to-Read Pre-Level 1
anything by Jonathan Fenske!

I also love that Disney-Hyperion has a collection specifically for the Marvels fans.  Kids love the superheroes and it's nice having books that they can carry around and read!  Some new ones (This Is Ms. Marvel publishes July 13th):
World of Reading by Marvel Press Book Group     World of Reading This is Ms. Marvel

If you are looking for more early reading books, check out my goodreads shelf.

Looking for early chapter books?  Check out that goodreads shelf.

Please note there are also nonfiction titles on both shelves!

I hope this gives you some ideas for books and organization of these fantastic books for your readers.

And don't forget, starting next week....

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful post! These look like wonderful series to introduce to the youngest of readers, and your suggestions for how to use them in a classroom or school library setting are excellent! (I especially love your point about how the levels should be hidden so kids can simply read whatever they are ready to read, without judgment.) Thanks so much for this thoughtful, useful post!