As a reading remediation teacher, I spend quite a bit of time creating little decodable stories for my students. What does the word “decodable” mean? It means that the words that I choose for the stories contain only words of previously taught syllable types and sight words that are known to the student. It is important to choose words that the student can decode or sight words that have already been taught because I want the student to be able to work on using decoding skills rather than guessing skills.
My students don't need decodable stories forever. Once a student has solid phonemic awareness and decoding skills in the first three syllable types that I teach, I add a fluency element to the program. Fluency is one’s ability to read with speed, accuracy, and a natural expression. When my students are ready to work on fluency, they read timed passages of uncontrolled text from a fluency program such as Read Naturally or the Six Minute Reading Solution. Uncontrolled text means that the sentences can be made from words of all syllable types. It is important to add a fluency element to the lessons when the students are ready for it, because programs that use the Orton Gillingham method do not address fluency.
Even after I add the fluency element to a student’s program, I still write decodable passages to go with each lesson so that after I teach a new concept, the student can read some connected text that targets the new idea. Writing decodable text is important, but I must admit that it can feel like a chore. For this reason, I was delighted when I found a new free decodable text generator. It is available on the Project Read website. When I signed up for the website, they gave me a 1 year free membership. I see value in this tool for classroom teachers, reading remediation teachers, and for parents who want to support kids at home. Here is the address so that you can check it out: https://www.projectread.ai