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10 Excellent Decodable Readers

Once a child learns the basics of sounding out words, they’re often anxious to practice those exciting new skills.

And then there is nothing more frustrating than when they go to the library and there isn’t a book in sight that they can actually read.

Even the books in the “easy reader” section are often packed with challenging words or way too text heavy.

I’ve been working on collecting books that are true decodable readers with 99% words that can be sounded out by a beginning reader and that I could find at my local library.

No “engineer” or “giraffe” or “pneumonia” thrown in just for funsies.

Here are some of my favorite decodable readers – I hope you’ll find them useful for your beginning reader too!

decodable readers

10 Excellent Decodable Readers

I like my bikeI Like My Bike by AG Ferrari
If you have an emerging reader who needs a quick win, this book is a home run. It has about twelve total unique words and lots of repetition, with only 4 or 5 words per page, so they can blow through it pretty quickly. Definitely a huge win in the decodable readers category.

See OttoSee Otto by David Milgrim
This decodable reader has lots of repetition and only 3-6 words on most pages. The main word you’ll probably need to help with is “laugh” which shows up on the last two pages.

Gran on a fanGran on a Fan by Kevin Bolger, illustrated by Ben Hodson
This is one of the more text heavy books on this list, but it is perfect for lots of repetition and working on short vowel words – most beginning readers are going to have no trouble with this one, and they’ll love the illustrations that feel more like a graphic novel than a picture book.

See me runSee Me Run by Paul Meisel
This is the size of a normal picture book (rather than the size of an easy reader book) and it’s fun, full of energy and 95% decodable text. The surprise ending is especially great for readers who like an actual plot in their decodable readers.

Cat has a planCat Has a Plan by Laura Gehl, illustrated by Fred Blunt
This is one of those magical decodable readers where literally every word except one is either a very common sight word or decodable (that word is “Mouse”) AND it has a little section at the front to review words and sight words before you get started. My five year old was delighted to read this one aloud to her sisters instead of them always reading to HER.

Stop PopStop Pop (Flip-A-Word series) by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Yukiko Kido
This series of early reader books is GOLD. It’s fully decodable and each one focuses on lots of repetition, plus fun flip pages that change the illustration as the words change. My new reader was THRILLED when I brought this home for her from the library (other books in the series are Snow Bow, Pig Wig, and Snake Cake).

Happy CatHappy Cat by Steve Henry
When Cat finds himself stuck out in the cold, he goes inside and finds a whole group of new friends. There are a few tricky animal words in here (namely “Elephant” but plenty of picture clues and repetitive phrases to make it easier).

I HugI Hug by David McPhail
A whole day of hugging makes for a happy little girl AND an easy read for beginning readers. Each page follows the “I hug my _____” format with lots of decodable words and only one they might need help with (the word is “friend”).

I HopI Hop by Joe Cepeda
This big bright book has only 2-4 words per page, so it’s great for readers who are still building up their endurance. There are a couple longer words that they might need help with (mainly still decodable – just longer than 3-4 letters).

Cat DaysCat Days by Alexa Andrews
Broken into three short chapters, this decodable reader has lots of basic familiar words paired with bright, simple illustrations. It’s perfect for the youngest readers who will love reading a “chapter” book.

Any other favorite decodable readers? I’m always on the look out for new ones – please leave them in the comments! Those recommendations make this post more useful for everyone.

And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!


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  1. Thank you for this. We’ve been enjoying the “My First” I can Read series with my almost 5 year old. They’re a little longer but much more manageable than level 1.

  2. The series with Stop Pop is great! I checked them out after I saw your Instagram stories. Perfect for my kindergarten reader! Thanks!

  3. Thanks for this list! The only ones I was familiar with were the Stop Pop ones and agree they’re great. The other readers I’ve loved for my kids and kids I tutor are Elephant and Piggie books and First Little Comics by Scholastic. The comics come in 3 levels. My library doesn’t have them but I thought they were worth buying. https://shop.scholastic.com/parent-ecommerce/books/first-little-comics-parent-pack-levels-a-b-9781338180268.html?psch=SSO/ps/2017/Google/pla/boxsets/SmartShopping%7CPLA%7CBoxSets/PAG//83179771874//DedicatedHeadline/&k_clickid=_kenshoo_clickid_&gclid=Cj0KCQjwl7qSBhD-ARIsACvV1X2pZ_jMPFJtUYpofqYZMl6xbgcASdx5HVLMS-15LXTcP8vuRdol33gaAqA3EALw_wcB

    1. My new reader LOVES the whole Otto series. I could see his excitement, confidence and joy of reading growing with each page of each book!!

    2. I wanted to follow up with my own comment because my understanding of reading and teaching reading has expanded after listening to this 6 episode podcast from American Public Media. https://features.apmreports.org/sold-a-story/

      I would still use Elephant and Piggie books with kids. But for more decodable practice I’ll also be turning to the Starfall decodable books and Bob books.

  4. Thank you so much! Such great options, and I agree – these are SO hard to find! Appreciate you doing the work for us 🙂

  5. I had a lucky random pull off the shelf book this week for my almost 5 year old. It’s called “What Will Fat Cat Sit On?” by Jan Thomas. My little one was in stitches over this one and so proud of herself for reading most of it by herself.

  6. Fantastic list Janssen! That you so much for compiling and sharing it! I just came across the Budding Reader (Cat and Rat etc) series in Scribd that my 5 year old is just LOVING! It is genius! There are 5 series and 10 books in each. Each book in every series tells a single story with the same pictures in all 10 books adding a single decodeable word in each successive book starting with zero words in the first book with the final book telling the most detailed story. It has repetition until mastery, stacked parrallel sentences, handwritten lettering ( not differing fonts – e.g. ‘a’ in a type written font is actually a whole new letter to learn and decode for a new reader where a handwritten ‘a’ is a circle with a line attached), effortless achievement of decodeable words, and the best part is the unveiling of the most complete story at the end which your child has read all by themselves!

  7. We found the Bug Books Series at the library by Pam Mehlin. We’re currently working our way through all the books, but they are very decodable and lots of exposure to fun new vocabulary (learned what “gig” and “lox” meant this week).

  8. I knew you wouldn’t fail me! As school is about to end, I was looking for books to keep my new reader reading and improving. This is just what I was looking for. Thank you!

  9. My daughter is dyslexic so we searched decodable chapter books for her. Even old classics like Frog and Toad can be tough. I found the Miss Moss series and so far that has worked out for us. I think it is a bit more advanced than the books on this list. SHe has covered a lot in her reading tutorial so far. But I hope she can have this chapter book to keep on her desk at school and feel success.

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