Using Science Decodable Readers in the Classroom

We’ve talked a lot about the science of reading around here the last few
years.  And, specifically about small group instruction that aligns with
the science of reading.

We’ve chatted about why we should use decodables in the classroom, how to use
decodables, and how to assess your kids’ decoding needs for small group

But what about non-fiction texts?  Is there a world where a good,
non-fiction science text can be a decodable text?

YES!  Let’s chat about decodable science readers and how to use them in
the classroom!

What Are Decodable Science Readers?

Decodable science readers are exactly what they sound like.  A science
passage or booklet that is also decodable.

The difference is that science readers often have academic vocabulary words
like force or amphibians and those may not be decodable for the level of kids
we are working with!

So, decodable science readers include vocabulary words instead of
high-frequency words that show up in the text.  And each set of
decodables comes with a vocab word list to practice reading before starting a

Decodable science readers are great for integrating literacy into
science…especially during small groups!

Each set of science decodables focuses on a topic from the Next Gen Science
standards for K-2.  And whichever grade level the topic is for, the
decodable words are written for that end of year level.  For example, the
Force and Motion set of decodables are written on an end of year kindergarten
decoding level because the Force and Motion science standards are part of the
kindergarten Next Gen Science standards.

Routines for Decodable Science Readers

Once we have learned our science vocabulary, we are ready to tackle the
science passages or science readers.

For kids who struggled with the vocabulary words, I would use the passages
with picture clues first.  These are made to give extra support for
reading the vocabulary words.

They have simple pictures or symbols above the academic vocabulary words to
help support reading fluency.  

The kids who are doing well with the vocabulary words can use the passages
without vocab picture clues or the science readers.  In these passages
and booklets, the science vocab words are bolded and underlined when they
first appear… just like in a science textbook.

After we have read the text in our small group (or as a whole group!), we work
on the comprehension questions.  These questions are not necessarily
decodable, but intended to do as a teacher-led discussion!

Each set of these science of reading aligned decodables includes multiple
books and passages on the same strand of Next Gen Science Standards. 
Each book has a matching passage with and without vocabulary symbols. 

You can find the Force and Motion set shown in this post here.  And the
full, K-2 bundle here.

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