Decodable Books for Beginning Readers

Decodable books are books with text that children can sound out and combine the sounds into words. These are essential books for teaching reading skills because the books are organized by phonics patterns. The books facilitate decoding practice and will build confidence as children find success with reading.

Decodable books focus on specific phonics sounds or spellings. These books use words that follow phonics rules, such as consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words.

Read this article to understand the difference between a decodable book and a predictable book.

The downside of decodable books is that they are (in my opinion) mostly mind-numbingly boring. And yet, the more I learn about the science of reading, I realize that these books are absolutely essential when learning to read.

Once a child learns to decode, they will become confident, fluent readers who will be able to read wonderful books with more interesting content. So first, teach kids how to read. Then, they’ll be able to improve comprehension and experience the joy of reading.

The research also shows that phonics (decoding) should be taught explicitly with a sequential approach. Listen to the Sold a Story podcast about the Science of Reading to learn more. It’s well-researched journalism that does a great job explaining SoR and the curriculums, politics, and policies that have sought to ignore it.

I highly recommend the READING SIMPLIFIED program as a fast and doable approach for teaching kids how to decode.

Here are decodable books to consider when you’re teaching a child to read.

Decodable Books

BOB Books

My youngest daughter learned to read with Bob books the summer after kindergarten– and she caught on quickly! I was surprised at how fast she learned and went through the levels. The collection is separated into stages, starting with Reading Readiness then continuing with Stage 1, Stage 2, and Stage 3.

Dog on a Log

These decodable books are recommended for growing readers, especially those with dyslexia, starting with a few phonics rules and based on an Orton-Gillingham phonics sequence.

Flyleaf Emergent Readers

Flyleaf offers four series — Emergent Reader, Reading Series One, Reading Series Two, and Reading Series Three — for preK to grade 2 or 3 intervention. The books allow readers to apply phonics skills while enjoying the stories filled with fine-art illustrations.

Half-Pint Kids

Half-Pint Kids offers three levels of books. Each colorful book comes with multisensory activities, vocabulary words, and comprehension questions.

High Noon: Dandelion Launchers and Little Sprouts series

Dandelion Launchers focus on combining letter sounds to form CVC words. by the end of book y, all of the initial sounds of the alphabet will be introduced.
Little Sprouts are books with one syllable CVC words, single consonants, consonant /z/ sound spelled s, initial an final consonant blends, and inflectional ending – s plus final double consonants.

Laugh-a-Lot! Phonics

Scholastic mostly offers leveled books but here’s one decodable phonics series with simple short vowel words.

The Yak Pack

Comic book decodable readers!? Yes. Cute and fun, with different sounds for each collection, such as short vowels, diagraphs, and blends.


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