Tips for Using Printable Decodable Readers in Kindergarten

One of my favorite ways to support beginning readers in kindergarten is by using decodable text.  In addition to practicing phonics skills, decodable readers can help students grow in fluency, comprehension, and confidence!  In this post, I’m going to share some helpful tips for using Printable Decodable Readers in kindergarten.

What Are Decodable Readers?

Decodable readers are short books that are used for phonics instruction and practice.  Each book generally focuses on one phonics pattern in order to give students multiple opportunities to practice a specific skill.  Other words found in the readers are generally very common high-frequency words or use prerequisite phonics patterns. For example, a decodable reader focusing on a consonant digraph would likely have some CVC words.

One page of a decodable reader

Although there are many options for decodable books, you can also find many printable decodable readers to supplement your phonics instruction.  They are perfect for highlighting the focus phonics pattern.  Plus, students can take them home when they’re finished!

6 Tips for Using Printable Decodable Readers

If you would like to use printable decodable readers in your classroom, here are a few tips to help you make the most of this low-prep resource!

1. Teach the Word Family First

My first tip comes before you even print out your decodable readers!  Before your students can practice a phonics skill in sentences, they need to learn it in isolation. Make sure that your students are familiar with the focus phonics skill being used in the decodable reader. 

One of my favorite ways to focus on a new phonics pattern is by using a variety of word family activities.  Students are able to become familiar with the pattern of the word by identifying word chunks.  It won’t be long until they are ready to identify the phonics pattern within the context of sentences.

2. Review Word Family and High Frequency Words

Once your students are ready to practice the focus phonics skill in a decodable reader, you can give them their own copy of the text!  However, it’s not quite time to set them loose on reading the story.  Instead, you should take a few minutes to review the phonics pattern by reading a list of words from the story. This gives students a chance to practice the phonics pattern once more in isolation.

This is also a great time to practice any high-frequency words from the story.  These words might have irregular spellings or they might use phonics skills that require a little refresher. 

A decodable reader open to a word list page

3. Go on a Word Hunt

Once students have had a chance to review the words that they will be reading in the story, it’s time to be word detectives!  Students can go through the decodable reader, page by page, and highlight the words that use the focus phonics pattern.  You can have them highlight the words, circle the words with crayon, or even underline them with a pencil.  

As students flip through the decodable reader for the word hunt, they will also notice the illustrations.  You can use this as a chance to ask some pre-reading questions based on what they see.

4. Do Repeated Readings

After all of the pre-reading activities are finished, it’s time to put those phonics skills to work!  Have your students practice the decodable readers several times.  First, you can read the story together as a group using choral reading.  Students can also practice reading the story with a partner.  They could take turns reading the entire story to a partner or they could switch readers for each page. You can even give students time to practice their decodable readers independently. 

Repeated readings of a story can help students become more confident and fluent readers. The more opportunities their brains have to decode a particular word, the more likely it will stick! You can also switch up the format by giving students a chance to practice the same text in a decodable passage.

Comprehension pages to go along with a printable decodable reader

5. Follow Up with Comprehension Practice

My next tip for using decodable readers in kindergarten is to incorporate plenty of comprehension practice.  With so much phonics practice, it’s easy for students to follow directions, decode the book, and move on.  We also want students to understand what they’re reading!  

Even though kindergarten decodable readers are simple stories, they still provide a great opportunity to practice comprehension skills.  Sequencing is an important skill that supports reading comprehension, verbal communication, and even writing. Students can practice putting the events from the decodable reader in order, which helps them build their sequencing skills.

6. Celebrate and Send Home

My final tip for using printable decodable readers in kindergarten is to celebrate the accomplishment of finishing!  Learning to read is hard work for our young students, so it’s important that we recognize their effort.  This is why I love to use printable decodable readers!  You can find fun stickers to add to completed readers or even write a word of encouragement in brightly-colored marker! Another fun way for students to celebrate the completion of a printable decodable book is to color the illustrations.

Students are then able to take home their copies of the reader to show off their reading skills to their families.  This is a great way to keep parents involved in their child’s reading progress.  Plus, when parents see the types of words that their child is reading, it can provide inspiration for other books to practice at home!

Printable Decodable Readers for Kindergarten

Are you ready to use printable decodable readers to support your beginning readers?  I have put together a set of short vowel CVC decodable readers that you can use to supplement your phonics instruction.  Each printable book focuses on a specific phonics skill that you can use to provide targeted phonics practice.  This bundle includes printable decodable readers, digital books, and additional printable practice pages.  You can head over to my shop to take a closer look at everything included in this resource.

Save These Tips for Using Decodable Readers

If you would like to come back to these tips and resources, be sure to save this post!  Just add the pin below to your favorite teaching board on Pinterest.  You’ll be able to quickly find these printable decodable readers whenever you need them.

6 Tips for Using Decodable Readers in Kindergarten