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Decodable Books

Express Readers’ books have a special format, positive storylines, very few sight words, and relatable, lovable characters.

I Am Ready Decodable Book Set

The I Am Ready Decodable Book Set contains 6 books, all of which can be found in the I Am Ready Practice Pages in black and white.

The I Am Ready Decodable Book Set is the first set in the Express Readers collection. This set focuses on vc and cvc words.

Students are introduced to Bug and all his friends. Bug stars in one book in this set, but he appears in every single book on every single page through the entire Express Readers’ Collection.

Sticky Words*: I, a, the, go, to, too, from, was

*Sticky Words are sight words that have irregular sounds or phonics spellings that have not been learned yet.

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Step 1 Decodable Book Set

The Step 1 Decodable Book Set contains 8 books, all of which can be found in the Tool Kit, Step 1 in black and white.

The Step 1 Decodable Book Set focuses on vc and cvc words.

Bug stars in two books in this set, but he appears in every single book on every single page through the entire Express Readers’ Collection.

Sticky Words*: the, go, for, to, be, he, was, from, too

*Sticky Words are sight words that have irregular sounds or phonics spellings that have not been learned yet.

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Step 2 Decodable Book Set

The Step 2 Decodable Book Set contains 6 books, all of which can be found in the Tool Kit, Step 2 and Step 3 in black and white.

The Step 2 Decodable Book Set focuses on words with short vowels and blends. The books are beginning blends or ending blends, or a mix of both beginning and ending blends.

New Sticky Words*: see, puts, does, have, come, like, of

*Sticky Words are sight words that have irregular sounds or phonics spellings that have not been learned yet.

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Step 3 Decodable Book Set

The Step 3 Decodable Book Set contains 6 books, all of which can be found in the Tool Kit, Step 2 and Step 3 in black and white.

The Step 3 Decodable Book Set focuses on words with short vowels and digraphs. Step 3 has one book featuring -ng and -nk. The last book in this set focuses specifically on compound words with short vowels (closed syllables).

New Sticky Words*: good, she, where, are, all

*Sticky Words are sight words that have irregular sounds or phonics spellings that have not been learned yet.

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Step 4 Decodable Book Set

The Step 4 Decodable Book Set contains 7 books, all of which can be found in the Tool Kit, Step 4 and Step 5 in black and white.

The Step 4 Decodable Book Set focuses on words with long vowels that are spelled with sneaky e. One book focuses on soft c spelled with the ending e.

New Sticky Words*: they, do, again, wants, you, my, when, says, some, there, her

*Sticky Words are sight words that have irregular sounds or phonics spellings that have not been learned yet.

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Step 5 Decodable Book Set

The Step 5 Decodable Book Set contains 7 books, all of which can be found in the Tool Kit, Step 4 and Step 5 in black and white.

The Step 5 Decodable Book Set focuses on words with long vowels that are spelled with the basic vowel teams: ee, ea, ai, oa, ui.

New Sticky Words*: why, now, what, we, our, could, no, said

*Sticky Words are sight words that have irregular sounds or phonics spellings that have not been learned yet.

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Step 6 Decodable Book Set

The Step 6 Decodable Book Set contains 15 books, all of which can be found in the Step 6 Tool Kit in black and white. The Step 6 Decodable Book Set is the last set in the Express Readers’ collection. This set adds onto the skills from Step 5, only adding one new phonics structure per book for a more focused practice.

Phonics Spellings included: ay (long /A/), /ar/, er-ir-ur /er/, or-ore-our-oor-oar /or/, oo /oo/, oo /ʊ/, ow-oe (long /O/), ou-ow /ow/, oy-oi /oy/, igh-ie-y (long /I/), aw-au-al (short /o/), ew-ue (long /U/ and /oo/), silent letters (wr-wh-kn), compound words, and soft g.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Decodable books are a type of reading material specifically designed to help children develop their phonics and decoding skills. These books use a controlled vocabulary of words that follow specific patterns of letters and sounds that have been previously taught. Children can use their knowledge of these patterns to decode, or sound out, new words as they read.  Children can attend to the text and words, without needing to guess or predict, ensuring that students obtain the skills needed to become a good reader.

Read Decodable Books: 9 Myths and Misconceptions

At this time, our books are not downloadable for personal or class use.  Our books can be bought in print form in our Tool Kit consumables. These black and white books can be used as manipulatives with students, as well as at home for use with families.

Sample books from each Step can be downloaded on our Free Downloads page and you can flip through a color book from each Step on our Decodable Books page.  Also, please join our Facebook page Reading For All to gain access to lots of free resources!

If you know which skills your child or students are working to practice, look at our Scope and Sequence to identify which Step fits.  

If you do not know which skills or phonics structures have been learned, you can sign up for our free Online Assessment.  The Online Assessment places children within our Steps by identifying which skills need practice.

Grade-level and skill-level often coincide, but the most important factor in choosing decodable books for students is skill-level.  Students should be reading books that practice the phonics they have already been taught.  Looking through the Scope and Sequence will help inform which book set is best suited to the practice needs of your child or your students.  

That being said, most often, the I Am Ready Decodable Book Set supports the needs of the earliest readers since this set is based on the basic letter sound-spellings, simple sentence structures, and vc or cvc words.

Grade-level and skill-level often coincide, but the most important factor in choosing decodable books for students is skill-level. Students should be reading books that practice the phonics they have already been taught. Looking through the Scope and Sequence will help inform which book set is best suited to the practice needs of your child or your students.  

That being said, most often, the Steps 1-5  Decodable Book Collection supports the spectrum of needs and skill of a kindergarten reading curriculum.  At minimum, Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 cover the skills in most state standards for the Kindergarten year.

The science of reading is a large body of research that gives us information and data on how students learn to read.  Express Readers continues to inform our practices and drive our creation using this information.  

 

The science of reading is not a program, which means there is not necessarily a scope and sequence or order of skills to be followed.  If you are using the Express Readers’ program, these decodable books definitely support the research that students need to learn skills explicitly and systematically, including practice of those skills.  If you are not using the Express Readers’ program, look to the scope and sequence of your current program to see if our decodable books can help support your student(s).

What is important is to be explicit and systematic in teaching and practicing reading skills with children.  Decodable books, in general, support this method by allowing students to practice skills systematically, without adding too many skills at once or a large number of words that cannot be decoded yet.  As long as a student has learned the skills within a decodable book, that decodable book helps support the practice needed.  Look to our Scope and Sequence to see which set of books supports the needs of your student(s).

Yes!  We now offer class set bundles for our decodable book collections.  A bundle contains 6 sets of each Step in the collection to help with small group reading, partner reading, or multiple children in a decodable library.  The bundles contain a discount to make purchasing for a class more cost efficient.

You can find the bundles for our Steps 1-5 Collection, our Complete Collection, and our Steps 4-6 Collection.

Currently, outside of the flip-through books on our Decodable Books page our program is in a printed form.  Our mission was to get actual books into the hands of kids, and to give them a concrete reading experience, no matter their skill practice-needs.

The Express Readers’ Scope and Sequence has a more general structure than most decodable book series, allowing it to be used alongside many different programs.  Please contact us at contact@expressreaders.org if there is a specific scope and sequence you would like help with.

The purpose of decodable books is to provide children with an opportunity to practice and reinforce the phonics and decoding skills they have learned. As children progress through the books, the words and text structures become more complex, challenging children to apply their skills in new ways.

The basic purposes of decodable books:

  • to give learning readers a place to practice newly acquired skills
  • to review previously learned skills
  • to practice fluency and comprehension with text that can be decoded by the student
  • to provide practice that requires attention to text (and does not promote or require guessing)

Two spaces between each word allows for students to focus on one word at a time. As students begin to map and retain those words, the process of reading each word on the page will become effortless, but the spaces guide readers to practice and remain attentive to every word in the text.

Two spaces between every line has multiple benefits. One benefit is that students have the room to track beneath text with their finger. With the added space, the text appears cleaner, less overwhelming, and easier to access for learners of all ability levels.

The font used for our books is one similar to that of neat handwriting.  By using a familiar style and letters that do not have odd or unrecognizable shapes, students will recall and identify letters and phonics learned with greater ease.  Since decodable books are a source of practice for skills being learned, simple-text font does not add extra obstacles to reading practice.

Please visit our FAQ page for more answers to frequently asked questions about decodable books.

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The Teacher’s Platform Subscription (one year)

The Entire Platform Collection gives you access to every printable document, every visual PowerPoint lesson, and every updated document and resource for the entire Express Readers Program TK-2nd Grade.

Item# 5099 | $ 49.00 / 12 months

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