Road to Decode:

Literacy Hub for New and Struggling Readers

What are Decodables?

Decodable books are a tool for practicing reading. In these books, word choice is controlled by phonics principles and story lines are less predictable. To decode a word means to “sound it out.” Using these books, your child can focus on one letter-sound rule at a time, practice that rule, and progress to more advanced rules of decoding. For example, a text will focus on mastering short vowel sounds before advancing to long vowel sounds.

Our Road to Decode collection is based in the science of reading, with kits, books, games, and resources to help kids learn to read and/or improve their reading skills with the guidance of an adult.


Science of Reading: Community Workshops

The library is hosting a fall 2023 series of six classes to explore how the brain learns to read, the systemic problems that are the root cause of the literary crisis in our country, and what you can do at home to support instruction in school. This series is perfect for parents, caregivers, tutors and other community members interested in diving into the topic of how we learn to read.

Sessions will be led by Kelli Johnson, a former teacher and expert in reading education and community engagement. Participants are encouraged but not required to attend all sessions and have the option to join either virtually via Zoom or in-person at the library.

Session One: Wired for Language, Not for Reading | Saturday, September 16th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Did you know that reading is a relatively new human invention and that no one on the planet is wired for it at birth? The human brain is an amazing organ that, with the correct instruction, upcycles regions of the brain designed for listening and vision to create an new area with the neural circuitry for reading. Learn more about how the brain learns to read and how you can be a partner in the creation of a reader. No previous experience required – just curiosity and a willingness to learn! Click here to register.

Session Two: Priming the Brain for Reading | Saturday, September 30th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Phonological awareness is the most potent predictor of reading success. Learn what it is and some simple tasks to build this skill. Ever heard of a fricative or an affricate? (No, they are not bad words!) Reading and writing are grounded in speech, and these words describe how sounds are produced in the English language. The importance of proper articulation as it relates to reading and spelling will be shared, along with how to support the development of this skill in emerging readers, regardless of their age. Click here to register.

Session Three: The Brain as a Pattern Detector | Saturday, October 14th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Did you know over 90% of the English language is decodable? Learn why the belief that English has “too many exceptions” is actually unfounded. This session is sure to up your Wordle game! Click here to register.

Session Four: The Brain as a Pattern Detector II | Saturday, October 28th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Practice the six syllable types by reading new and nonsense words and learn about the “Heart Word” strategy for the few spelling exceptions. Once you know the six syllable types and understand what makes a word “decodable,” you will never look at words the same way! Click here to register.

Session Five: Vocabulary: More Than Just Dictionary Definitions | Saturday, November 11th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Research reveals that students need to learn about 400 new words a year. That’s only 10 new words per week during the school year. Learn how to support an emerging reader’s growing bank of words and why it’s so important to developing reading proficiency. Click here to register.

Session Six: Beyond Dick and Jane: Decodable Text as Training Wheels | Saturday, November 18th from 1:00 – 3:00 PM
“Decodable readers” are like training wheels for emerging readers. Learn what makes a text decodable and explore the new collection of books and resources at the Skaneateles Library. Click here to register.


Library Resources:

Road to Decode Kits: Targeted kits aimed at Beginner Readers, Grades 1-2 and Grades 3-8. (found in Children’s Room)

Wonderbooks: Traditional books with built-in audio so that kids can read along as they listen. (found in Children’s Room)

Hi-Lo Books: Look for an orange stripe on the top of the spine to indicate books that have age-appropriate stories
written at a 2nd grade reading level. (found in Middle Reader and Teen areas)

Graphic Novels: A format perfect for kids who may need pictures to keep their interest and help them understand the text. (found in Children’s Room, Middle Reader and Teen areas)

¬†Books for Adults: Non-fiction books aimed at providing resources to help navigate your child’s reading journey. (found in Children’s Room)


Funded with support from the Literacy Coalition of Onondaga County and New York State Coordinated Outreach Service Funds. 


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