When children learn to read, it is important our children are provided with phonetically decodable books because it allows them to apply their knowledge of letters and sounds. Because the child can decode every word in the book, they feel successful, which in turn helps them build fluency and develop good reading strategies.
If the child reads a text that is NOT decodable (contains sounds they have not yet learned) the child is unable to use the skills they have learnt and often they resort to incorrect strategies that lead to reading difficulties - children can become frustrated and begin guessing at words. They lose the direct connection between phonics and the text they are reading.
To become a proficient reader, children must develop and practice applying their knowledge of letters and sounds. Decodable texts provide the child with material they have the skills to decode correctly. Decodable texts help children build necessary skills.
At Elveden C of E Primary Academy, we use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to teach phonics. Therefore, we provide children with the corresponding ‘Letters and Sounds’ reading books along with Big Cat Phonics books for Letters and Sounds – books that are expertly aligned to Letters and Sounds to ensure all pupils move from decoding words to reading fluently and for pleasure. These highly decodable books for early readers encourage children to practice and apply their decoding skills.
The phoneme progression chart can be found here:
We understand that it is crucial to avoid reading being reduced only to phonics, no matter its importance. Children should also have many opportunities to read and enjoy books for pleasure, outside of phonic lessons and the reading scheme. This is why we have our Elveden Essential Reads – a list of high quality books, per class, chosen to inspire reading for pleasure. We also have our extension lists to support our more able children and offer a wide range of reading opportunities. Each year, these are revised to include children’s recommendations and new releases.