How can I use decodable readers alongside our existing PM levelled readers or our Reading Recovery Levelled system?
We understand that the PM levelled system provides an easy reference point to assist teachers in selecting reading material for their students. However, the ways in which this system levels books is based on things such as length of words, sentence structure, use of punctuation, amount of text and size of font. This approach was developed during the ‘whole language’ era of teaching reading.
Our readers are levelled very differently to this system. We have created these readers to support the implementation of high-quality phonics programs that teach systematic synthetic phonics. Our books are fully decodable to match the letter-sound correspondences that children have learnt in order that they can read independently and with confidence.
Children’s prior phonic knowledge is not considered when using the PM levelled readers but instead relies on repetitive, predictable text and multi-cueing reading strategies.
Consequently, as the two types of beginner readers have been created using contrasting pedagogical philosophies there is no way to mould the two together.
Our suggestion would be to use our decodable readers as your primary source to complement the implementation of an explicit phonics program and provide children with opportunities to have early success and build confidence. The Reading Recovery and PM texts could be used to read to, or with children, in shared experiences as they develop their love of reading, until such time that they have been explicitly taught the whole English code.