Storybooks logo

The Magic of Personalized Decodable Books


When it comes to learning to read, not all stories are spun the same. In the tapestry of educational tools, decodable books stand out, not just for their simplicity, but for their ability to unlock the code of reading for early and struggling readers. These are tales tailored to align with a reader’s growing phonetic knowledge, and they’re central to reading programs like the Orton-Gillingham approach. In this post, we’ll unravel the concept of decodable books, explore the scope and sequence of the Orton-Gillingham method, and discover the power of personalization in these educational narratives.

What Are Decodable Books?

decodable books are specially crafted narratives that use a controlled vocabulary to align with a reader’s phonics skills. They are composed primarily of words that can be sounded out or decoded based on the reader’s knowledge of letter-sound relationships. Unlike predictable or leveled texts, which often rely on repetitive patterns, context clues, and pictures to help a child “guess” the words, decodable books encourage the actual decoding process, reinforcing the relationship between letters and sounds.

The Role of Orton-Gillingham in Structuring Decodable Books

The Orton-Gillingham approach, a technique designed to help struggling readers, particularly those with dyslexia, is meticulous in its structure. It emphasizes the sequential, explicit, multisensory study of phonics and the English language. The “scope” refers to the content that is covered, while the “sequence” dictates the order in which this content is introduced.

An Orton-Gillingham scope and sequence might start with the most basic sounds and their corresponding letters, like /a/ as in “apple,” /t/ as in “top,” and so forth. As students progress, they learn blends, digraphs, diphthongs, and multisyllabic word strategies, all in a prescribed order that builds upon previous knowledge. This incremental progression is designed to prevent gaps in learning and understanding.

Decodable Books and the Orton-Gillingham Scope & Sequence

decodable books fit into the Orton-Gillingham approach by providing reading material that corresponds with each stage of the scope and sequence. For example, early stories might only include short vowel sounds and consonants that the reader has been taught. As a student’s knowledge expands, so does the complexity of the decodable text. This alignment ensures that students can successfully read the stories by applying the phonics rules they’ve learned without having to guess or memorize words.

The Importance of Making Decodable Books Personalizable

Customization is key in education, and decodable books are no exception. Here’s why personalizable decodable books can be such a powerful tool:

1. Engagement

A story that includes a child’s name, interests, or personal experiences is more engaging. This connection encourages children to practice reading and makes the learning experience enjoyable.

2. Relevance

When children see their own lives reflected in a story, they find it more relevant. This relevance can motivate them to apply their reading skills more diligently.

3. Comprehension

Personalization helps in understanding the text. Familiar contexts can aid in making inferences and understanding nuances, which is crucial for reading comprehension.

4. Confidence

Being able to successfully read a story that is personally meaningful can boost a child’s confidence. This increased self-esteem can lead to a more positive attitude toward reading and learning in general.

Creating Your Own Decodable Books

Parents and educators can create decodable books personalized for their children or students. By incorporating the child’s name, familiar places, and favorite things, these stories become more than just reading exercises; they become cherished tales that can help foster a lifelong love of reading.


decodable books are more than just simple texts; they’re a stepping stone to literacy. In the context of the Orton-Gillingham approach, these stories are instrumental in bringing the scope and sequence to life, offering learners a guided, confidence-building pathway to reading proficiency. When personalized, they transform from mere educational tools into captivating stories that resonate with young readers, making the journey of learning to read as enchanting as the stories themselves. As each child turns the page, they’re not just reading—they’re unlocking a world where every word is a triumph and every sentence is an adventure.

Create a decodable story!

← Back to Blog