TOP 6 REASONS (and the RESEARCH to back it) why school districts across the country choose ALIGNED Decodables!
1. THE ALIGNMENT
Decodables are most valuable when they line up directly with what the students are learning, known as ‘lesson-to-text match’(LTTM)” (Pugh, Kearns, & Heibert, 2023; Spear-Swerling, 2019; Cheatham & Allor, 2011; Adams, 2009; Armbruster et al., 2001; Roit, 2008; National Reading Panel, 2000). Through a system that ALIGNED has created, their books are aligned by decodablility percentage lesson by lesson, sound by sound, word by word to 19 of the top ELA/Phonics programs on the market, with more on the way! This directly follows the Structured Literacy and Science of Reading approach. Literacy Directors, Curriculum Directors, Reading Specialists, and Teachers all love that this work has already been done for them! The Alignment Charts provided on the website guide which week to introduce each book, based on the Scope and Sequence of the curriculum you are using.
“The sequential nature of Structured Literacy means that teachers require students to practice only what they have been explicitly taught. Again, before teachers expect students to practice decoding specific phonics word patterns (e.g., short-vowel words with consonant digraphs) in reading text, or to recognize specific irregular words in text, they directly teach those skills in isolation first. SL approaches also build in cumulative practice and ongoing review of previously learned skills, so that students retain these skills and develop automaticity”.Louse Spear-Swerling, 2019, p. 1
2. THE CONTENT (Comprehension and Vocabulary)
Decodables are most valuable to practice newly developing phonics skills. However, the argument has been made that there is more to reading than just decoding, and that traditional decodables alone may not be enough. Three papers that reviewed a multitude of studies state that students need content/vocabulary rich, authentic texts to build the other valuable skills needed for reading (Cheatham & Allor, 2012; Birch, et al., 2022, Pugh, Kearns & Hiebert, 2023). This comes from the fact that some decodables do not provide texts that are “semantically rich and address meaningful and interesting topics” (Pugh, Kearns & Hiebert, 2023).
The ALIGNED Decodables are specifically written to bridge this gap!
Comprehension is easily achieved with stories that highlight characters’ feelings, story sequence, problems/solutions, and much more. Diverse and rich vocabulary is spread throughout the books. By focusing on letter sounds, common words have been substituted by more uncommon, yet more specific, words. For example, the skunk didn’t “run”, he “dashed” or “darted”. The girl didn’t “lay” in the sun, she “basked” in it. Through fun and interesting stories, surprise endings, a robust collection of non-fiction books, tons of variety, and beautiful illustrations, ALIGNED Decodables are designed to provide the “real”, authentic books children want to read!
There are comprehension questions at the end of each books, with one specifically written to be used as a possible discussion starter or writing prompt. Specific vocabulary and comprehension suggestions can be found on the Diversity and Content Map
“Exclusive use of one type of book has a detrimental effect. Rather, carefully selected and varied reading materials leads to more positive outcomes and attitudes to reading” (Mesmer, 2005; Wood, 2005).
3. THE LAYOUT
The focus of early reading practice should be centered on only the letters in the words, and not on anything that may give children a “cue” as to what the word could be (Lonigan, et al., 2018; Ehri, 2013; Stanovich, K.E., 2000). The ALIGNED decodables are formatted so that the text is alone on the page on the right hand side and must be read without the aid of a picture cue. The student then turns the page to view the corresponding picture to confirm meaning and build engagement and enjoyment!
“The 3 cueing approach to support early word recognition ignores 40 years of overwhelming evidence that orthographic evidence involves the formation of letter sound connections to bond spelling, pronunciation, and meaning of specific words in memory” (Ehri, 2014). “Moreover, relying on alternative cueing systems impedes the building of automatic word-recognition skill that is the hallmark of skill word reading (Stanovich, 1990, 1991)”. (Petscher et al. 2020)
4. THE DIVERSITY
ALIGNED Decodables were written with diversity and inclusion in mind. Explicit details about the diversity of characters, as well as vocabulary, comprehension suggestions, and phonic skill focus can be found in our “Diversity and Content Map”!
”When considering how to deal with classroom issues of ethnicity, culture, gender, and other differences among students, “teachers must create an environment that ensures that all learners see people from their identity group reflected positively in the instructional materials, pictures, books, and videos used in the classroom and throughout the school” (Vogt & Shearer, 2003, p. 118). These factors have powerful effects on self-esteem and motivation that affect the literacy development (Vogt & Shearer, 2003)” (Sitthitikul, P., 2014).
5. THE ILLUSTRATIONS/IMAGES
The ALIGNED decodables are professionally illustrated. Children love the variety of topics, concepts, and illustrative styles! The full color books are designed to keep the children engaged and motivated through laughter and smiles.
“Specific techniques and activities used to develop children’s letter-sound knowledge and its use in reading and writing should be as relevant and motivational as possible to engage children’s interest and attention to promote optimal learning” (National Reading Panel, 2000).
6. Non-Instructional Reasons
The Complete K-2 set is comprised of 123 titles, including our newly published chapter book. Fiction and non-fiction genres are included. With one-stop-shopping, you can cover all of your school’s decodable needs. ALIGNED Decodables are a great investment! If your school changes curriculums in the future, it is very likely you can continue to use these decodables, just with a different Alignment Chart. No training, teacher’s guide, or research study is needed because the books are used as a supplement to the curriculum you have already chosen. The Aligned Decodables have been vetted and approved for quality by The Reading League, MetaMetrics, and Teach My Kid to Read. These books are being used across the US and Canada, and Aligned is an approved vendor for the NYC SD DOE, LA Unified SD DOE and on SAM.GOV.