How Decodable Books Support Struggling Readers

By Michele Pentyliuk, Registered Psychologist

Decodable books are ideal for children learning to read or those who struggle to read because they include:

  • words with phonics patterns that have been taught.
  • high frequency words that have been taught. 

This allows children to practice reading with spelling patterns and high frequency words they have practiced. Sounding out the word is the only strategy for reading unfamiliar words.

This focus on word reading and letter-sound knowledge develops a habit of reading accurately.

When reading Leveled Literacy books, which are used in most classrooms, children use picture and context clues to “read” words they can’t decode or haven’t memorized. This can lead to a reliance on guessing, rather than reading words.

The goal of reading is comprehension, but until reading fluency is achieved, comprehension is taught through oral reading to students, engaging them in discussion. This is where leveled literacy readers and other literature are beneficial.

To learn more about early identification and intervention of literacy challenges in children, visit