Blending binder with short vowels reading CVC words

Master CVC Words with a Blending Binder

Master CVC Words with a Blending Binder

Today, I’m thrilled to dive into a game-changing resource that’s revolutionizing the way we teach young readers: the blending binder. If you’re serious about nurturing confident, proficient readers, then this tool is an absolute must-have in your teaching arsenal.

So, what’s all the buzz about? Let’s break it down:

What’s a Blending Binder, Anyway?

Simply put, a blending binder is a tactile, hands-on tool designed to help students master the essential skill of blending individual sounds together to form words. It’s a game-changer for promoting orthographic mapping—the process of mentally storing written words for instant recognition.

Blending Binder for mastering reading CVC words

Why Do We Need a Blending Binder?

In today’s fast-paced world, where context clues and guessing games often dominate reading strategies, it’s more crucial than ever to equip our young learners with solid decoding skills. The blending binder does just that by encouraging students to focus on each individual grapheme (that’s the fancy term for letters or letter combinations) and blend them together systematically. This method trains their brains to attend to every detail, instead of relying solely on context or guesswork.

How Does a Blending Binder Work?

Picture this: your students eagerly flipping through their blending binders, each page filled with grapheme cards representing different sounds. As they touch each card, they say the corresponding sound aloud. Then, like magic, they blend those sounds together to form words. It’s hands-on, engaging, and—most importantly—effective.

Multisensory blending to read CVC words

Top Tips for Blending Success:

1. Take it One Step at a Time: Encourage students to change only one grapheme card at a time. This helps them build confidence gradually and prevents overwhelm.

2. Start with Continuant Sounds: Begin by focusing on continuant sounds (think: /m/, /s/, /f/) in the beginning position. These sounds are easier to blend and provide a solid foundation for future learning.

3. Practice Makes Perfect: Consistent practice is key. Encourage daily blending sessions to reinforce skills and build fluency.

4. Transitioning to the Next Level: Once students can read words automatically without decoding each sound, they’re ready to tackle words with consonant blends and even multisyllabic words. The blending binder sets them up for success every step of the way.

Ready to Transform Your Reading Instruction?

With its focus on precision, attention to detail, and hands-on engagement, the blending binder is a game-changer for any educator passionate about fostering strong, confident readers. So, why wait? Dive in, explore the possibilities, and watch your students’ reading skills soar to new heights!

Here’s to unlocking a world of reading success, one blend at a time!

Happy blending,

Ready Reader Decodables

Blending Binder for reading cvc words

Are Decodables Only for Beginning Readers?

Decodable books, stories, and passages are texts that the author limits the word choice to include an abundance of the pattern currently taught, as well as exclude patterns that have not yet been taught. The goal of a decodable text is to promote repeated phoneme-grapheme correspondence in the brain, as we know that this is one of the skills needed to store words in the brain’s longterm storage (via orthographic mapping). A common misconception is that there is no use for decodables past the very early grades. Until a student is a fully competent decoder, decodable texts are still beneficial. Here is an example: Jonah is in second grade. Learning to read has been challening for him, but Jonah is making progress with short vowel patterns and gaining fluency with words, phrases, and sentences. Jonah is now learning the vowel-consonant-e syllable type (or magic e), and this is proving to be difficult for him as his brain wants to say the short vowel sound instead of the long. Jonah would benefit from reading various decodable texts that target the vowel-consonant-e pattern. For some students, their acquisition of the various orthographic features of our language may come somewhat swiftly with anywhere from 1-4 exposures. The reality is that most students will need somewhere between 5-20 exposures to a pattern before their brain recognizes it automatically. Decodable texts provide the needed practice and exposures for growing readers, at any age!


  • Ehri, L. C. (1998). Grapheme-phoneme knowledge is essential to learning to read words in English. In J. L. Metsala & L. C. Ehri (Eds.), Word recognition in beginning literacy (p. 3–40). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
  • Ehri, L.C. (2014) Orthographic mapping in the acquisition of sight word reading, spelling memory, and vocabulary learning. Scientific Studies of Reading 18(1).
reading and vocabulary with ready reader decodables

The Layers of the English Language

Hi all, 

At Ready Reader Decodables, we are committed to supporting our followers with their personal development and understanding the English language.  One of the reasons the English language can appear dense is that our language is a compilation of other languages. Just as we consider our population, we can consider our language a “melting pot” with many linguistic influences. 

Linguists agree that the primary influences are as follows:

  1. Anglo-Saxon (Old English): common high frequent words such as the, from, man, child, house, friend, earth, water, numbers 1-100, colors, animals, etc. 
  2. Latin: transport, misconduct, disappoint, infect, doctor, religion, student, library, grammar, words that end in the suffixes -tion, -ity, -ism, -ology, words that begin with the prefixes re-, in-, con/com-
  3. Greek: many scientific and medical words, words that contain the digraph ch as /k/ (Christmas, school, chaos, orchid), words that contain the digraph ph as /f/, words that contain the medial y as short /i/ (gypsy, crystal, mythical). 
  4. French: antique, boutique, ch as /sh/ (chauffeur, chez, chaise-lounge, chateau)

As your children and students are developing their decoding skills using our phonetically controlled decodable readers, you can also incorporate little “nuggets” of language knowledge to support their ongoing progress.

Interested in learning more? Here are a few great resources:

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Decodable books in the classroom

Explicit Phonics: How to Use Decodables

Ready Reader Decodables for Small Groups

Ready Reader Decodables are a valuable resource for implementing individualized, systematic, and explicit reading instruction in a small group setting. They are specifically designed to support early readers in developing their decoding skills, fluency, and comprehension abilities. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to effectively use Ready Reader Decodables with your students!

1. Assess and group students:

Begin by assessing students’ reading abilities to identify their instructional needs. Group students together with similar reading needs to ensure targeted instruction and maximize their progress.

2. Select appropriate decodable texts:

Align your students’ needs with the specific phonics patterns in the Ready Reader Decodables books.  Our books gradually increase in complexity. Ready Reader Decodables include TWO stories for each phonics skill to provide layers of differentiation for your students. 

3. Introduce the text:

Before reading the decodable text, introduce it to the students. Preview the cover, title, and pictures, and engage students in a brief discussion to activate their prior knowledge and build anticipation for the reading. This step helps set the purpose for reading and generates interest.

4. Pre-teach unfamiliar words or concepts:

Identify any unfamiliar words or concepts in the text that students may not know. Each book includes a list of high frequency words in the story.  Pre-teach these words or concepts to ensure students have the necessary background knowledge to understand the text.

5. Focus on decoding skills:

Ready Reader Decodables are designed to help students practice their word recognition skills. Guide students through the text, providing explicit instruction on phonics patterns, letter-sound relationships, blending, and segmenting syllables. Encourage students to use decoding strategies, such as sounding out or chunking instead of guessing or relying on picture clues.

6. Build fluency:

Reading fluency is an important component of comprehension. Help students develop fluency by modeling fluent reading and providing opportunities for repeated reading of the decodable text. Encourage students to read the text multiple times, individually or in chorus, to improve their accuracy, prosody, and expression.

7. Promote comprehension:

While decodable texts primarily focus on decoding skills, it’s crucial to also address comprehension. Engage students in discussions about the text, asking questions to check their understanding and encourage critical thinking. Make connections to their prior knowledge and real-life experiences to deepen comprehension.

Ready Reader Decodables Comprehension Questions

8. Provide individualized support:

In a small group setting, it is vital to provide individualized support to each student. Observe each student’s reading behaviors closely and provide immediate feedback, guidance, and corrective instruction as needed. Address specific challenges or errors your student encounters and offer strategies to address them.

9. Monitor progress:

Continuously monitor students’ progress and adjust instruction accordingly. Keep records of their reading achievements, note areas of improvement, and identify areas that require additional practice or intervention. Regularly reassess students’ reading abilities to guide their instructional path.

By following these steps and utilizing Ready Reader Decodables effectively, you can create an individualized, systematic, and explicit approach to reading instruction in a small group setting. This approach ensures that students receive targeted support and practice to develop their reading skills, leading to improved decoding, fluency, and comprehension abilities.

Ready Reader Decodables- ck books Level 1 and Level 2

Decodables: More Than Just Phonics

Decodables: More Than Just Phonics

As experts in literacy instruction and long-time advocates for evidence-based practices, the authors of Ready Reader Decodables are often asked how to meet the needs of all early readers. This is a question that has garnered much attention and debate over the years.  The science of reading tells us how ALL brains learn to read and our two levels of books for each phonics skill help students attend to all strands of the reading rope. 

It is important to recognize that all students have different needs and abilities when it comes to learning to read. Some students may struggle with phonemic awareness or decoding skills, some struggle with vocabulary and background knowledge, while others may have difficulty with sight word recognition. Therefore, it is important for educators to provide a range of Structured Literacy reading materials that cater to each student’s individual needs.

Decodables: Adapting for Students’ Needs

Decodable texts are a crucial component of this early literacy instruction. These types of texts provide students with the opportunity to apply their knowledge of phonics in a meaningful context. However, as students progress in their reading development, they need exposure to more complex text that incorporates a greater number of sight words and more complex vocabulary. 

Sight words (any word a student has stored in long-term memory for instant recognition) are essential for fluent reading.  They make up a significant portion of written language. By introducing students to decodable texts that systematically add in sight words, students are able to make the transition from simple, phonetically-decodable words to more complex text that includes a variety of sight words and vocabulary.

Ready Reader Decodables- Two levels for each phonics skill.

Ready Reader Decodables Support ALL Learners

Ready Reader Decodables offers two levels of decodable books for each phonics skill.  This format provides students with the opportunity to develop their phonic decoding skills while also building their sight word recognition and fluency. By gradually increasing the complexity of the text, students are able to make the transition from simple decodable text to more complex, multi-syllabic words and phrases.  Ready Reader Decodables understands the demands of the reading brain.  Our multifaceted books and comprehension questions support our early readers and are aligned with the science of reading.

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Decodable book with short u

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Ready Reader Decodables

Decodables for the 21st century classroom

Ready Reader Decodables is passionate about supporting students of all backgrounds, cultures, and ethnicities. We include diverse characters throughout our books so that every child can see himself reflected in the stories he reads. 

Science of Reading and Decodables

The science of reading tells us that skilled reading is a combination of language comprehension and word recognition.  At Ready Reader Decodables we are intentional about the level of support our illustrations provide.  We do not want our early readers to rely on pictures and context clues to decode unfamiliar words.  Instead, we aim to provide a structured framework of skills taught in a simple to complex manner.  Once taught, the students read connected text with those skills embedded in the stories.  Students are set up for reading success! 

Decodables to Support Language Comprehension

But Ready Reader Decodables does not stop at the phonic decoding step.  We also support students’ language comprehension skills by including comprehension questions, vocabulary, higher-level inferencing, and intentional connections to the reader’s background knowledge.  We strive to promote and include ALL students through our comprehensive approach to structured literacy. 

We look forward to expanding our already diverse group of characters as we write more Ready Reader Decodable booksSet 2 is coming out very SOON!  This set will focus on the digraphs sh, ch, th, wh, and -ck. Follow our blog and Instagram @ReadyReaderDecodables for coupons and special pre-ordering details!

Thank you for your interest in our decodable books and for the inclusion of all students in your classrooms.

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Myths About Phonics

Phonics Instruction

There are long-standing myths about phonics instruction. Keeping these myths alive
(and thus keeping phonics instruction from our students!) undermines a student’s
reading acquisition. As educators, we must constantly look to the current research and
adjust our instruction accordingly. The National Reading Panel recommended
systematic phonics paired with phonemic awareness as two crucial components to
foster efficient word reading. Current research still supports those findings. It tells us
that word recognition (through phonic decoding) and language comprehension are the
building blocks for skilled reading. So, if 50+ years of research supports a systematic
phonics approach, why are we not providing that for all our students?

There are likely many reasons, but several can be attributed to myths about phonics

Myth #1 Any Phonics Will Do

Although the recommendations of the National Reading Panel are still supported by
science, there is great debate on how to teach students to become proficient readers.
Many current curricula and teaching practices adopted portions of the National
Reading Panel’s recommendations, but they lack implementing phonics in a
systematic and explicit manner. For example, they sprinkle in phonics components
guided by student spelling errors or sounds in the students’ names. Some approaches
encourage multiple strategies for reading an unfamiliar word. These include using
picture clues, context clues, guessing, and phonic decoding. However, the science tells
us that proficient readers do not rely on context clues to read. So, by teaching these
compensatory reading strategies, we rob our students of opportunities to
orthographically map words (the cognitive process by which we store words for
automatic retrieval).

Research is clear on which phonics approach is most effective. It needs to be
systematic and explicit. The students move from simple phonics skills to more
complex skills. Students in kindergarten and first grade will spend more time learning
letter-sound correspondences, reading in decodable texts, and using their phonics
knowledge to help them spell words. As they progress through the systematic phonics,
they will foster their skills of reading comprehension and language by reading a

variety of texts, utilizing the morphological units of words for spelling, and engaging
in advanced written expression activities.

Myth #2: Phonics is Boring for Children

Some portray phonics as robotic and void of engagement. Although quality phonics
instruction requires direct instruction and repetition of skills, teachers can employ
many engaging techniques to keep the learner focused and energized. Consider some
of the following techniques:

  1. Make it multisensory! While the multisensory approach utilizes several modalities
    to optimize learning, it also makes the learning more engaging. Ask your students to
    trace with their fingers as they read or to tap out the individual sounds as they spell.
    They will enjoy jumping for rhymes and swooping under words as they combine
  2. Practice phonics skills with a game. My students love phonics games like matching
    pairs of words in Go Fish or Memory. They read the targeted phonics skill in the
    game, but don’t even realize they are learning!
  3. Get up and MOVE! Go on a scavenger hunt for beginning sounds, lay out sight
    words and have your students jump from one to the next, toss bean bags to the correct
    vowel sound, or hop for each syllable in a word. They sky is the limit when you add
    movement into your phonics lessons.

    As part of a structured literacy approach, phonics does need to be explicit and
    systematic. But weave in games, multisensory techniques, and overall movement to
    make the instruction engaging.

Myth #3 Too Much Time Spent on Phonics Takes Away from Reading Comprehension

Phonics instruction is an integral part of a structured literacy approach. It is one
foundational piece that helps support reading comprehension, instead of taking away
from reading comprehension. Quality phonics instruction teaches the student to attend
to all letters and their corresponding sounds. Building this connection between speech
sounds and letters leads to orthographic mapping and fluent word reading. When a

student reads fluently, he no longer uses as much working memory to decode. Instead,
he can use that cognitive energy to comprehend the text. Studies show that direct
phonics instruction leads to gains in word reading and reading comprehension scores.

MYTH #4: English is too Irregular for Phonics

87% of English words are decodable. That leaves a lot of work for direct phonics
instruction! This implies that only 13% of English words are non-phonetic (not
following the patterns/rules of the English language). Many of these types of words
are adopted from other languages such as banquet from French, bagel from Yiddish
and patio from Spanish. Explicitly explain the origin of these types of words so that
they are not “irregular” to your students.

Other non-phonetic words include our function words (to, do, of, a, the,) as well as the
many Old English words which changed pronunciation during the Great Vowel shift.
While their spellings did not change, their pronunciations have changed many times.
They include words such as great and could. Teach your students the etymology of
these words. They will enjoy learning the “why” behind these irregular spelling

For example, many teach the word have as an irregularly spelled word. This
description would be accurate if the only job of the silent e is to make the vowel
sound long. However, the silent e has many other jobs. In the case of have, the
addition of the silent e goes back hundreds of years. In the 16th century, scribes wrote
the same symbol for -v- and -u-. They added on a silent e to words ending in -v- so
that the reader knew to pronounce the letter with a /v/ instead of an /u/. Knowing this
explains the spelling of high frequency words like love and have.

We should encourage students to attend to all of the regular letter-sound
correspondences in a word first and then focus on any “irregular” part(s). Using the
example above, the word have has three sounds. All three sounds follow the regular
letter-sound correspondence. Walk your student through those letters/sounds and then
teach him the reason for the silent e on the end.

MYTH #5: Only a Small Percentage of Students Need Phonics

Close to 60% of students require explicit, systematic phonics instruction to break the
code of reading. The other 40% of students learn to read with a broad range of reading
instruction. But to be able to decode novel, multi-syllabic words, ALL students
benefit from phonics.

Insufficient phonics instruction in early grades can impede students’ reading ability in
later grades. If we encourage students to rely too heavily on context clues and
pictures, they will not build a strong sight word vocabulary (words they can recognize
instantly). This will affect their reading fluency, spelling, and comprehension.

By directly teaching phonics, we give students a solid foundation of decoding skills.
This increases the likelihood that they will be able to read complex texts—containing
unfamiliar words—independently.

So, I hope that you will consider these myths about phonics instruction as you plan
your instruction, take part in phonics lessons, or choose your curriculum. We owe it to
our students to provide them with a systematic phonics approach as part of an overall,
structured literacy approach.

What are Decodable Books and Why to Use Them

What are decodable books?

A decodable book focuses on one new grapheme (sh or ă), spelling pattern (the drop e rule when adding a suffix), or morphological unit (prefix re-). It uses a controlled set of vocabulary with spelling patterns and morphological units that have already been explicitly taught to the student.  This way, students are encouraged to use the text to decode and not pictures or context clues. 

Why do we use decodable books?

Especially in the earlier stages of literacy instruction, decodable books require students to use their phonic decoding skills instead of guessing. While this reading approach has long been used for students with the Orton Gillingham approach and students with dyslexia, current research tells us that this is the correct reading approach for ALL students

“We TEACH reading in different ways; they LEARN to read proficiently in only one way. Teaching is what we do- learning is what their brains do.

Dr. David Kilpatrick

Reading decodable texts helps lead to orthographic mapping. Orthographic mapping is the long-term, efficient way that readers seemingly read “by sight.” But in fact, traditional readers do not use their visual memory at all for reading those words “by sight.” Instead, orthographic mapping builds the relationship between letters and sounds to bond the spellings and pronunciations of words in the most efficient manner. Once a word is correctly orthographically mapped, the reader does not have to laboriously decode it each time he encounters the word. Instead, the word becomes permanently stored (“mapped”) as a sight word for future, instant recognition. This improves fluency and allows the brain to focus its energy on comprehending the text…the ultimate goal of reading!

What is the difference between a decodable book and a leveled book?

Both types of books improve fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary. At some point both types should be a part of a reader’s personal library. While a decodable book focuses on one phonic/spelling pattern, leveled books combine many phonetic patterns, sight words, and vocabulary. As the word knowledge, vocabulary, and sentence structure increase in difficulty, the level of the book increases. Depending on the difficulty of these components, publishers “level” the text accordingly. Some companies use letters A-Z and some use numbers to level, but they all increase in text difficulty. Leveled reading texts use the terms Independent, Instructional, and Frustration levels to assess a student’s reading ability within a level. 

For most students, the use of leveled readers is appropriate after the students have mastered many of the decodable reading strategies for orthographic mapping.  Students in kindergarten and first grade should first use decodable texts to practice their decoding skills.  Teachers can use leveled readers for read alouds during this time to build students’ oral language, comprehension, and vocabulary. But, over-relying on leveled readers at this young age for independent reading encourages the student to guess at words. We don’t want them to use memorization, pictures, or context clues to read. We want them to use all of the letters from left to right to attack each word.  This is the focus of decodable books and why they are so crucial in building a foundation for our students’ reading success.  

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