Enhancing Opportunities for Decoding and Knowledge Building through Beginning Texts

2 elementary students reading while lying down, with a stack of books on either side.

Abstract

Learn how existing texts can be reorganized to give beginning readers opportunities to apply and extend their developing knowledge of letter–sound correspondences and of physical and social worlds.

Ensuring effective texts for student reading acquisition is a shared goal. This paper addresses the efficacy of decodable and leveled texts, their word features, and outcomes of reorganizing texts by vowel patterns and topics. Sparse evidence supports one text type’s superiority in building a strong reading foundation. Further, the decoding demands of decodable and leveled texts diminish after initial instruction. Studies show reorganizing leveled texts according to a decoding curriculum aids reading acquisition. This finding is the basis for illustrating how existing texts can be reorganized to boost reading volume, apply decoding skills, and offer coherent topic exposure.

  • To what degree are the texts in your reading program organized around critical word and world knowledge rather than text complexity levels?
  • How does instruction in your reading program support students who are in the early stages of reading acquisition or challenged in becoming proficient readers to access the wealth of knowledge available in texts?
  • How does word study instruction in your reading program support students in becoming flexible with the variation between letters and their associated sounds or what has been described as “set for variability”?

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Enhancing Opportunities for Decoding and Knowledge Building through Beginning Texts