Explore Our Picks: Must-Have Decodable Books for Kindergarten

By Jen Jones

Explore Our Picks: Must-Have Decodable Books for Kindergarten


Are you on the hunt for the best decodable books for kindergarten? Look no further! Here's a quick roundup of our top picks to make your search easier:

  1. The Sizzy Books Fun Phonic Series
  2. Flyleaf Publishing’s Emergent Reader Series
  3. Continental Press’ Early Phonics Readers Series
  4. Jolly Learning’s Jolly Phonics Catalog
  5. The Supercharged Readers Series by Sopris West
  6. Specific Learning Difficulties South Australia's Phonic Readers
  7. All About Learning Press Series

Decodable books are essential tools for early literacy, designed to help children decode words using phonics. These books provide young learners with practice in applying the letter-sound knowledge they've been taught, making reading a bit more manageable. By focusing on phonics, these books can transform a child's reading journey, bridging the gap between recognizing letters and comprehending full texts.

Initially, it might seem that decodable books are too simple or slow for proper comprehension. However, as students become more fluent, their ability to understand the text improves. This is because fluency frees up cognitive resources, allowing young readers to make sense of what they're reading without struggling over each word.

Moreover, decodable books have come a long way. They're engaging and enjoyable, ensuring children look forward to reading time. With vibrant illustrations and relatable stories, today's decodable books not only teach reading but also foster a love for it.

Ready to dive deeper? Let's explore some must-have decodable books specifically tailored for kindergarteners.

Decodable Books Overview Infographic - decodable books for kindergarten infographic process-5-steps-informal

What Are Decodable Books for Kindergarten?

Decodable books are specially designed to help young readers practice phonics skills. They focus on teaching the relationship between sounds and their corresponding letters or groups of letters, known as grapheme-phoneme correspondences. By using these books, children can develop a strong foundation in phonics, which is crucial for reading success.

Phonics: The Building Block of Reading

Phonics is the method of teaching reading by correlating sounds with letters or groups of letters. For example, understanding that the letter "b" represents the /b/ sound. Decodable books use this approach to help children decode, or sound out, words.

Grapheme-Phoneme Correspondences

In decodable books, the text is carefully crafted to include only the letter-sound pairings that children have already learned. This helps them practice reading without getting frustrated by unfamiliar words. For instance, a book might focus on short vowel sounds and simple consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words like "cat" and "dog."

Blending: Putting It All Together

Blending is the process of smoothly combining individual sounds to form words. Decodable books for kindergarteners often include simple, repetitive text to help children master this skill. For example, a sentence like "The cat sat on the mat" allows children to practice blending sounds to read whole words.

children reading - decodable books for kindergarten

By focusing on phonics, grapheme-phoneme correspondences, and blending, decodable books provide a structured way for children to practice and improve their reading skills. They are an essential tool for any kindergarten classroom or home reading program.

Next, we'll look at when to start using decodable books with your kindergartener.

When to Start Using Decodable Books

Starting decodable books in Year One is ideal. At this stage, children have usually been introduced to basic phonics and are ready to apply this knowledge. Decodable books help bridge the gap between knowing letter sounds and reading whole words.

Phonics Knowledge

Children need a basic understanding of phonics before they can benefit from decodable books. This includes recognizing letter sounds and understanding how these sounds form words. According to the Science of Reading, structured phonics instruction is crucial. This foundational knowledge enables children to decode words systematically.


Fluency is the ability to read text smoothly and accurately. When children first start with decodable books, they may read slowly as they decode each word. Over time, with practice, their reading speed improves. As noted in the Simple View of Reading, fluency acts as a bridge between decoding and comprehension. Once children become fluent readers, their brains have more capacity for understanding what they read.

Practical Tips

  • Start Simple: Begin with books that focus on basic CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words.
  • Consistent Practice: Regular reading sessions help reinforce phonics skills and improve fluency.
  • Use Illustrations: Pictures can provide context and make reading more engaging, although children should not rely on them to decode words.

By starting decodable books in Year One, children get the practice they need to become proficient readers. Now, let's explore how decodable books compare to guided reading.

Decodable Books vs. Guided Reading

When it comes to teaching young children to read, decodable books and guided reading serve different purposes. Understanding these differences can help you choose the best approach for your kindergartener.

Practice Duration

Decodable Books: These books are designed to provide targeted phonics practice. Each book focuses on specific phonics skills, allowing children to apply what they've learned. The repetition of phonics patterns helps solidify their understanding.

  • Short, Focused Sessions: Decodable books are best used in short, frequent sessions. This keeps young readers engaged and prevents fatigue.

Guided Reading: This approach involves reading leveled books that match a child's reading level. The focus is on comprehension and using various strategies to understand the text.

  • Longer Sessions: Guided reading sessions typically last longer and may involve more complex texts. This approach encourages children to use multiple cues (such as pictures and context) to understand the story.

Instructional Levels

Decodable Books: These books are structured to align with a systematic phonics curriculum. They introduce words and phonics skills in a specific sequence, building on what the child already knows.

  • Skill-Specific: Each decodable book targets particular phonics skills, ensuring that the text is within the child's decoding ability. This makes it easier for children to read independently and gain confidence.

Guided Reading: Books in guided reading are leveled based on their complexity and the reader's ability. The levels range from simple texts for beginners to more complex stories for advanced readers.

  • Balanced Approach: Guided reading includes a mix of decodable and non-decodable words. This helps children develop a broader range of reading strategies, but it may be challenging for those who haven't mastered basic phonics.

Fact: According to the Iowa Reading Research Center, decodable readers introduce words and structures in a planned sequence, allowing children to practice phonics skills effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Decodable Books are ideal for focused phonics practice and building decoding skills.
  • Guided Reading offers a broader approach, incorporating comprehension and multiple reading strategies.

By understanding these differences, you can better support your child's reading journey. Next, let's look at how to select the right decodable books for your kindergartener.

Selecting the Right Decodable Books for Your Kindergartener

Choosing the right decodable books for kindergarten is crucial for fostering early literacy skills. Here are some key features to look for:


Illustrations play a vital role in engaging young readers. High-quality illustrations can make the story more enjoyable and help children understand the context. However, they should not be used as a crutch for guessing words.

For example, in our books, we hired a custom illustrator to ensure the pictures complement the text without giving away the words. This allows children to focus on decoding while still enjoying the visual story.

Diverse Characters

Representation matters. Diverse characters in decodable books help children see themselves and others in the stories they read. This can make reading more relatable and interesting for them.

In our collection, we prioritize stories that feature characters from various backgrounds. This not only enriches the reading experience but also promotes inclusivity.

Relatable Stories

Kids are more likely to engage with stories they find relatable. Look for relatable stories that reflect everyday experiences, emotions, and adventures that children can connect with.

For example, our book "Dot And The Velvet Dog" includes scenarios like putting on helmets and pads—common activities that children can easily visualize and relate to.

By focusing on these elements, you can make the learning experience enjoyable and effective for your kindergartener. Up next, let's discuss how long children should use decodable books to maximize their reading skills.

How Long Should Children Use Decodable Books?

Decodable books are crucial for developing early reading skills, but how long should children continue using them? Let's break it down into three key areas: word identification, reading accuracy, and smooth reading.

Word Identification

Decodable books help children practice word identification by focusing on specific phonics patterns. According to experts like Louisa Moats, this practice is essential for kids to become proficient readers.

Children should use decodable books until they can consistently identify words without relying on context clues or pictures. This skill is foundational and takes time to develop.

Reading Accuracy

Reading accuracy is another critical milestone. Decodable books are designed to reinforce the letter-sound correspondences that children have been explicitly taught.

In the early stages, kids might read slowly and make mistakes. However, with consistent practice, they will start reading more accurately. Research indicates that as children become more fluent, their brains can focus more on comprehension, making the reading process smoother and more enjoyable.

Smooth Reading

Smooth reading, or fluency, is the bridge between decoding and comprehension. Initially, decoding takes a lot of mental energy, which can slow down the reading process. However, as students practice, they will read more smoothly and naturally.

Fluency is achieved when a child can read with appropriate speed, accuracy, and expression. At this stage, children can transition to more complex texts that still incorporate some decodable elements but also introduce richer vocabulary and more intricate storylines.

In summary, children should use decodable books until they demonstrate strong word identification skills, high reading accuracy, and smooth reading fluency. This progression ensures they build a solid foundation for more advanced reading skills.

Next, we'll tackle some frequently asked questions about decodable books for kindergarten.

Frequently Asked Questions about Decodable Books for Kindergarten

What is the difference between decodable books and regular children's books?

Decodable books are specifically designed to align with phonics instruction. They introduce words and word structures in a carefully planned sequence, allowing children to practice the phonics skills they are currently learning. For example, a decodable book might focus on short vowel sounds or consonant digraphs.

Regular children's books, on the other hand, are not structured around phonics skills. They often include a wide range of vocabulary and complex sentence structures that may not be suitable for early readers who are just starting to decode words.

How can decodable books improve reading skills in kindergarten?

Decodable books are a powerful tool in early literacy development. They help children:

  • Practice Phonics Skills: By focusing on specific phonics patterns, children can apply what they've learned in a controlled setting.
  • Build Confidence: Successfully reading a book that matches their skill level boosts a child's confidence and encourages further reading.
  • Improve Fluency: Repeated exposure to decodable texts helps children read more smoothly and quickly, freeing up mental energy for comprehension.

As students become more fluent, their brains can focus more on understanding the text, bridging the gap between decoding and comprehension.

Are there free resources for decodable books available online?

Yes, there are numerous free resources for decodable books. For instance, our very own Hello Decodables offers a variety of engaging and structured decodable books that can be downloaded for free. Additionally, websites like the Iowa Reading Research Center provide access to decodable readers aligned with phonics instruction.

Many educators and parents also recommend exploring free printable series like the "SPELD SA Phonics Readers" and the "CORE Knowledge" series. These resources are invaluable for providing quality reading material without breaking the bank.


In summary, decodable books for kindergarten are an essential tool in early literacy development. They help children practice phonics skills by providing text that matches their current level of phonics knowledge. This structured approach ensures that kids can decode words accurately and confidently, setting a strong foundation for future reading success.

Hello Decodables: Your Go-To Resource

At Hello Decodables, we specialize in creating high-quality decodable books that are both engaging and educational. Our books are designed to align with the latest Science of Reading research, ensuring that your child is not only learning to read but also enjoying the process.

We believe in the power of structured phonics instruction. Each of our books is crafted to focus on specific phonics skills, making it easier for young readers to practice and master these skills. With vibrant illustrations and relatable stories, our decodable books are a hit among both teachers and parents.

Hello Decodables

Why Choose Us?

  1. Research-Based: Our approach is grounded in the Science of Reading, which emphasizes systematic, explicit phonics instruction.
  2. Engaging Content: Our books feature diverse characters and relatable stories that keep kids coming back for more.
  3. Free Resources: We offer a variety of free decodable books to ensure that every child has access to quality reading material.

Explore our full range of decodable books and resources by visiting our Guide to Decodable Books. Let’s make reading an enjoyable journey for every child!


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