If there is one thing Orton-Gillingham teachers can never have enough of, it is decodable text. Finding books that are highly decodable, engaging for our students and suitable for a wide variety of ages is challenging. Differences in scopes and sequences further complicate matters. However, there are some resources that I turn to again and again because of their appeal to kids and the success that I have found using them.
If you are seeking collections of decodable books or reading passages with decodable text, this post has compiled a large list for you!
There are 4 main types of decodable texts:
- decodable stories with pictures designed for younger students,
- decodable stories designed for older students as “chapter books”,
- printable books found online
- decodable passages written for the purpose of OG instruction , such as the ones found in my store.
Decodable Stories with Pictures
These decodable books are similar to leveled readers typically used in classroom except for one difference. Rather than using predictable repetitive text, they are highly decodable. Some of them are designed to accompany an Orton-Gillingham based programs, but can be used with other scopes and sequences with care.
Spire Decodable Readers — http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/products/literacy/readers/spire-decodable-readers/about-the-program
These decodable readers are illustrated in detail with black and white illustrations. They contain a mixture of fiction and nonfiction titles. They are engaging and interesting stories that provide not only an opportunity for practicing decoding and fluency, but also comprehension. While the early levels likely appeal more to younger students, they are not babyish and quickly move into content more interesting for readers of all ages.
Alphabet Series Readers — http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/products/literacy/readers/the-alphabet-series/about-the-program
This series of decodable readers are nicely illustrated with black and white illustrations. They include elements of both fiction and nonfiction and are appealing stories designed for grades K-3. Although beginning readers of all ages may find the upper level stories enjoyable. The readers follow the Recipe for Reading scope and sequence and are divided into 3 levels. Levels 1 and 2 are comprised of 18 books each with level 3 consisting of 3 decodable chapter books.
Primary Phonics Readers — http://eps.schoolspecialty.com/products/literacy/phonics-word-study/primary-phonics/about-the-program?gclid=Cj0KCQiArdLvBRCrARIsAGhB_sw4QMpvHvj_NxSoXqtwjjPBQVCV7LTlRkgxmd7PiVQcTVNjU2gT9CkaAqwZEALw_wcB
This series of decodable books is most appealing for a younger audience. Illustrations are simpler and storylines less complex. There are numerous opportunities to practice each introduced concept with additional practice books available at the early levels. Advertised for levels K-6, this does not equate to grade levels. These books would likely feel too young for an older beginning reader. They do have a distinct advantage of being quite affordable.
Reading for All Learners: See Sam Books— http://iseesam.com/reading-for-all-learners/
This series of books was a gem of a discovery. My younger students, grades 1, 2 and even 3, love these books. Using funny animal characters, the illustrations bring the simple and highly decodable text to life with a more engaging storyline. There are 8 levels providing a very gradual introduction of decoding skills. Ranging from grade levels K-mid 3rd grade, there are numerous resources available online, and books are available in full color, more affordable paper black and white or interactive digital form. One of the delights of this series is that the final book of each of the first four levels is available for purchase in quantities at a price suitable for gifting to a student upon completing the level. This story represents the culmination of their work.
Flyleaf Publishing — https://flyleafpublishing.com/
These beautiful books are a hit for all ages. They are full color beautifully illustrated authentic feeling literature that reinforces phonics concepts. They are not as strictly controlled as some readers, but are excellent for consolidation of skills and working of fluency or comprehension. The only drawback is that they can be quite expensive.
Geodes is a set of Both Levels 1 and 2 of Geodes include four modules, comprised of 16 books. Each book builds knowledge around a connected topic and reinforces student application of decoding and word recognition skills.
Bob Books https://bobbooks.com/
Bob books have been around for years and are great for your younger students. They start with very simple text and move up through stages of complexity. Parents will find these an affordable option for their children to practice decoding strategies.
These books are traditionally used to accompany O-G based programs like Wilson, and PAF.
Decodable Chapter Books
Dog on a Log Books— https://dogonalogbooks.com/
These books are actually available in both a chapter book format or a format with less text per page. Sold as affordable black and white compilations of 5 books or individually, they are also available in full color chapter books. The series has resources for parents, prereading skills, games and more available on their website. While they are not necessarily the most literary books, they provide students with abundant practice in reading controlled text in a format that does not look babyish. It follows a nice scope and sequence.
Simple Words Books — https://www.simplewordsbooks.com/
This series of books is perfect for middle elementary and older readers. They are engaging stories with an easy to read font and size with a good amount of white space. There are stand alone books, as well as books that follow the same characters. One of my favorites is actually told from the cat’s point of view. The website has additional resources for parents and teachers including free webinars.
If you are interested in a full set of these decodable chapter books, there is a Simple Words Chapter Books 9-Book set in my online store.
Additionally, I have been granted permission by the author, Cigdem Knebel, to create literature guides to use with these chapter books. Each guide has three sections: Vocabulary, Phonics and Reading Comprehension/Writing. The first guide I created was for “The Gold of Black Rock Hill.” if your students love stories about treasure maps and pirates, they’ll love this one!
Find Simple Words Literature Guides in my TPT store or The Literacy Nest Online Store on this website. I will be publishing 9 literature guides starting January 2020 until December 2020.
High Noon Books—Sound Out Chapter Books– https://www.highnoonbooks.com/listHNB-Phonics.tpl?action=search&cart=15763432974336056&cattrack=Phonicsatoc&xHNBCATEGORY=Sound%20Out%20Chapter%20Books&xHNBSUBCATEGORY=PhonicsAtoC&bobx=1st%20Grade%20Phonics-Based&eqGROUPdatarq=item
These are one of my favorite decodable books for older readers! They are stories designed for older learners with topics of interest to tweens and teens. They are also excellent for comprehension work.
High Noon Books –Phonic Book Series — https://www.highnoonbooks.com/listHNB-PhonicBookSeries.tpl?action=search&cart=15763432974336056&cattrack=Phonic%20Book%20Complete%20Series&xHNBCATEGORY=Phonic%20Books%20Complete%20Series&xHNBSUBCATEGORY=Phonic%20Book%20Complete%20Series&eqGROUPdatarq=item&bobx=Phonic%20Books%20-%20Complete%20Series
For older, struggling readers, there are few options as respectful and fun for them as these books. Each 16 page fully illustrated book in one of the series is a portion of a longer serialized story. Each book not only moves the story forward, but adds an additional phonics concept. With a variety of different levels including catch up/review series that moves more quickly through concepts and characters recurring in more than one series, this is one resource very helpful for reluctant readers. This series is actually British in origin, but is sold in the US by High Noon Books. Like other High Noon titles, these are written with the older struggling reader in mind.
This publisher has created sets of chapter books for tweens and teens. The subject matter in some of the books is definitely for an older crowd. If you work with older students or adults, this is a site you will want to check out.
Printable Books Available Online
There are a wide variety of decodable books and passages available free online, especially for the emergent reader. I have found these resources quickly diminish when more advanced concepts like multi-syllabic words, vowel teams, morphology or different syllable types are concerned. The quality and formatting vary widely. Most effective when you have a gap in your collection of decodable books and passages, or when you need something a child can keep, these are some sites worth checking out.
A wide variety of phonics concepts available for use on a tablet on printable.
Printable books for the short and long vowel sounds.
The Reading Genie page has books written by teachers available in Powerpoint format. There is also a wealth of other resources and information including a link to a newly published decodable book series.
Printable books for closed syllables.
Not free, but available through a subscription, there is a good selection of both decodable books and passages.
It can be tricky to find just the right book for the skill you are teaching. Sometimes, I like to combine a reading passage that targets the specific skill with a longer book to practice orchestrating a variety of skills. For more advanced students that are reading books that are not necessarily controlled, decodable text, these passages are a nice learning tool for focusing specifically on a new skill before moving onto less controlled reading.
These passages are appropriate for a wide variety of ages, can conveniently be marked up and cover a wide variety of concepts. Not only do I have passages for phonograms for all OG levels, but for syllable division, prefixes, suffixes, roots, spelling generalizations, non-fiction, and advanced passages for older students ready for a challenge.
The Literacy Nest passages with decodable text– Over the years, I have written hundreds and hundreds of passages with decodable text. They mainly follow the progression I was given during my first Orton-Gillingham training through trainers using the Massachusetts General Hospital O-G training curriculum which is IMSLEC accredited. You may also order a bound copy of my decodable passages directly through my online store.
Bonnie Kline Stories: Originally written to accompany Project Read Phonology, these are a little tricky to find now. You’ll have to hunt around online to find used copies.
The ABCs of O-G Phonetic Readers by Emi Flynn I used these for several years before writing my own passages. They follow The Flynn System progression, which is a little different than mine, but they’re still excellent.
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