TRT Podcast #15: Best decodable book series for a tight budget
Do you want to build a decodable book library but find yourself limited by your budget? Here are the best decodable book series to purchase when funds are tight!
Full episode transcript
Today, we're talking where to find the best decodable books when you're on a tight budget.
First of all, I guess we can talk about decodable books that you just print and assemble. I know it's fun for students to have actual real books that they get to read versus books that we print, but this can be a really great way to get started building up a decodable library.
I actually have a set of decodable books that I've been creating with a professional illustrator. Currently, I think we've created over twenty of them. As each set is complete, they will be put on my website. Right now, we've got Set 1 with sixteen books and these are actually free. You can download the individual color book at no cost. If you'd like, you can go ahead and purchase the other versions as well as all the accompanying materials including lesson plans, but the books themselves are free. I'll have links to those in the show notes.
You can also check out Reading A-Z's collection of decodable books. I used to really recommend Reading A-Z because of their leveled books. Now that I understand that's not a good choice for beginners, I don't recommend them as much, but I've heard that their decodable book section has really grown. You can certainly check those out and print them. A year's subscription to Reading A-Z is quite affordable.
Now let's talk actual physical books. I've recently become acquainted with Pathways to Reading Homeschool. They have got some really great decodable books. The pictures are black and white, but they're still really good pictures, and the stories make sense. These are actual physical books with covers and they're very inexpensive. Their first set as of right now, as I'm recording this, is a set of fourteen books for only $20. That's an amazing deal! Those are for beginners. I'm sure they're going to add more sets as time goes on, but I would check that out. Again, we'll link to that in the show notes.
Another set of books that is very inexpensive is the Half-Pint Readers. Half-Pint Readers are these really short little books, but they're great for brand new readers just starting to sound out words. Then they move on to blends and digraphs, and then long vowel sounds, and more. These were created by a kindergarten teacher and I think they're really appealing to beginning readers.
Another affordable set is the Reading For All Learners books. These books are pretty basic. They have a LOT of books at the very beginning level, and the pictures are great! They're really affordable when you buy a whole set and even cheaper when you buy the black and white editions. We'll have that in the show notes as well.
Then there's the Alphabet Series, a really high quality set of decodable books. The stories are interesting, and the pictures are black and white, but I found those books for about $3 each.
Another affordable set is Phonic Books. These are a favorite of many reading teachers. It's really nice because they slowly work you into harder words because at the very beginning, kids only need to know a handful of letter sounds. They have a really interesting illustration style, where there's a photographed background with cartoon illustrations on top. They actually have a variety of books for all different grade levels, but the early ones are just about $3 a piece.
If you want to get really cheap, you can check out Susan M. Ebbers' Power Readers. Now these are actually disposable books. There's a place in the book to write with some activities inside, but you could use them as permanent decodables and not use the writing part. Again, they're pretty flimsy, but they're very inexpensive, only about $1.50 a piece.
Maybe you've seen the Junior Learning decodable books. They have countless books, hundreds probably. In some of them, the stories don't make a whole lot of sense, and I'm not crazy about their early nonfiction decodables, some of them are really odd. You have to pick and choose. But honestly, even if you buy a whole set and you don't like all of them, you'll still get a good bang for your buck because I think they're only about $2 a piece.
Those are the decodable books that I recommend if you're on a budget. To get links to purchase any of these and to get a link to my Ultimate Guide to Decodable Books, you can head to the show notes at themeasuredmom.com/episode15. See you next time.
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Decodable book series mentioned in this episode
- My free decodable book series with custom illustrations
- Reading A to Z decodable books
- Pathways to Reading Homeschool decodable books
- Half Pint Kids decodable books
- Alphabet Series decodable books
- Power Readers
- Reading for All Learners decodables
- Junior Learning decodables
P.S. Check out my ultimate guide to decodable books here!