Choosing and using decodable texts: Q&A





Literacy Hub


(c) Commonwealth of Australia


Literacy specialists Rebecca McEwan and Elaine Stanley present this question and answer session about choosing and using decodable texts in your classroom.

View the transcript. | View the slide outlines.

Resources mentioned in this video

Spelfabet what’s wrong with predictable or repetitive texts (YouTube) [9:10]

Free decodable texts [11:20]

Spelfabet list of decodable books [11:48]

SPELD NSW decodable book selectors [13:13]

Blog by Jocelyn Seamer [38:55]

Questions covered in this video

How should I group my students for reading a decodable text? [0:05]

Which students should be reading decodable texts, and when can students read other texts? [2:15]

Should take-home books be decodable too? [5:09]

Do you only use decodable texts for the phonics that students know or have been exposed to? [10:07]

Do you have any recommendations of some decodable texts for older students, and where can I access free resources? [11:02]

Should my school have a variety of decodable text series? [11:55]

How would you suggest assessing comprehension when using decodables? [13:26]

I've noticed that some of my students can read a decodable text but cannot read individual words from the text in isolation. [21:30]

What should you do when comprehension for a student is significantly below their decoding abilities? [23:42]

Many of my students sound out every letter in a word, even if they've just read the word on the previous page. Why do they do this? [27:06]

When my students are reading, they can say the letter sounds correctly, but when they read the whole word, it doesn't match. [29:07]

If a school wants to align decodables to levelled texts, what would you suggest for this? [32:02]

What are the other students doing when you are with your teacher focus group? [36:18]

I'm wondering how we fit everything into a literacy block. [38:21]

Who is this video for? 

Foundation to Year 2 teachers; school leaders 


Elaine Stanley and Rebecca McEwan are experienced teachers, school leaders and literacy coaches. They have had extensive experience implementing systematic synthetic phonics in primary school classrooms, and have recently coached disadvantaged school around Australia.  

Related content 

Phonics professional learning: Choosing and using decodable texts

The Literacy Hub provides free, online professional learning to support schools through each step of building a systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) approach for reading and spelling. This third topic in the series unpacks decodable texts.

Decodable words and sentences

This resource provides a bank of decodable words and sentences aligned to each phase of the Literacy Hub phonics progression to use as part of instruction or for independent student practice. 

Using decodable texts in the classroom

This infographic guides teachers on using decodable texts with students. 

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