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Phonetically Decodable Books         

Decodable Books                                                                                                                   

The National Curriculum 2014 demands that at the early stages of reading development, the books used by children are closely matched to their developing phonics knowledge and knowledge of common exception words. Further guidance from DfE advocates that the books children are asked to read for themselves (i.e. Guided Reading books and home reading books) must be 100% decodable, up until the end of Phase 5 (Year 1 for most children).                                                                                                                                                                          

In order to master phonic decoding as the route to decode words, children should work with books that are written and structured to provide opportunity for them to apply their developing skills and knowledge. For this reason, teachers should match books more closely to the phonics phase than book band up until the end of Phase 5. In addition to the books the children read for themselves, they should also encounter wider experiences of books and reading each day, experiences which will contribute to their language development, comprehension skills and love of literature (e.g. books explored through their free choice reading book, shared reading, story-time, library books, familiar books and class book corners). 

At St John’s, we are committed to this and children in EYFS up to the end of Year 1 (beyond if required), will be exposed to a number of phonetically decodable books. These books are matched appropriately to the child’s individual level and contain taught grapheme-phoneme correspondences (GPCS). Children focus on one book per week and read it repeatedly. As homework, children should take the book home and it is expected that they practise reading it daily with a parent or guardian before returning it to school. As they become more familiar with the book, they should be able to read with increased confidence. These books are read in addition to a colour banded reading book the child chooses which can be read to them by an adult to foster a love of stories and reading.

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