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Decodable Texts for Kindergarten and 1st Grade

Here we are in the middle of the year!  By this point, it’s pretty clear to see how students are progressing through their reading journey.  Some students are making great progress, others are right at grade level, while others may be having trouble keeping up with the grade level content.  We usually have a mixed bag, and it can be hard to deliver each student what they need.  Decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade are a great help as your students progress.  This is why I’m providing you with decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade to help you maximize your reading time with our beloved early readers!  The use of decodable texts cannot be overlooked, and there are so many benefits to them.  Let’s go!

Focusing on Phonics Instruction

Now, before you start going over to your bookshelf and tossing your leveled texts in the trash – just hold those horses! Keep these books – they’re simply just books, after all, and they’re a great read for students who are further down on the scope and sequence. And speaking of a scope and sequence, I can’t stress enough here at Literacy with Aylin Claahsen the importance of sticking to a scope and sequence during your phonics instruction, and any science of reading article will tell you the same. We know that phonics instruction must be focused and explicit, which is why having a solid scope and sequence to follow is so important.  On this scope and sequence, you want to ensure that you have one that also includes high-frequency words that you can implement into your lessons.  Here are a few ways you can focus on phonics instruction in your classroom so that when you’re ready for those decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade, you will have established a beautiful reading foundation for their younger years, high school, and beyond.

  • Phonics instruction should be explicit and focused.  This phonics instruction, whether in whole group or small groups, should be quality time focusing on specific phonics skills.
  • Don’t move too quickly.  When we have our scope and sequence, it’s a little bit of a challenge to not move on too quickly to other phonics patterns.  But it’s vital for students to understand one phonics skill before moving onto another.  
  • Speaking of, incorporate cumulative review into each lesson. When a skill is mastered, say CVC words with short vowels, it’s imperative that you circle back and continue to review those skills in your daily phonics lessons. As you move on to digraphs and introduce those, use decodable words from your CVC set that was studied last week to teach these new digraph words.  Cumulative review should have a home in your phonics routine even when you’re learning a new skill.  This will produce mastery in previously-learned skills and deepen their phonics knowledge.  And yes, this includes letter sounds for our young readers!
  • Trust your scope and sequence.  Find one that you and your coworkers agree on and stick to it.
  • Incorporate high-frequency words when you’re studying a phonics skill that it includes.  For example, if you’re studying digraphs, go ahead and introduce high-frequency words like “then” and “that.”
  • Have the students apply what they’ve learned right away. Wiley Blevins states that, “It’s the application where the learning sticks.”  The application process of the lesson plan is the most important part – because that’s where all the good learning happens.  Gives students ample time to apply the skills that were just taught.  And you can do this through my great resource, Decodable Reader’s Theatre!

Decodable Reader's Theatre for Kindergarten and First Grade

When you hear the words “decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade” the first thing that might come to your mind is a simple passage that students can read with a mild interest.  Not so with these Decodable Reader’s Theatre texts!  And though lots of emphasis lately is placed on nonfiction texts, we wanted to give these fictional plays some light, too.  These decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade are fun, engaging, and have a great focus on phonics instruction.  Let’s review some of the best aspects of these amazing decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade.  These decodable passages…

  • …come in an array of phonics patterns.  This means that they can truly be used for any reader – even our beginning readers!  One of the reasons I love these decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade so much is because it allows all students to participate.  Have a student just starting out learning short decodable words and short vowel sounds? No problem.  Ready for CVC words?  We got you.  Have a student ready for diphthongs?  Not an issue.  These decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade provide a safe spot for everyone.  And because students will be reading in front of partners or the class, this safe environment is so important.
  • …provide amazing support in students decoding words in context.  It does this in a way that’s different from a usual decodable passage.  Students will get into diverse characters and get the change to act it out in a fun play.  The theatre aspect makes it fun, engaging, and gives students a sense of ownership.  Which leads to…
  • …give students confidence!  As students make their way through these decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade, students will gain confidence and feel good about themselves as readers.
  • …incorporate common sight words throughout these decodable passages that your students will be able to focus on as well.  Beforehand, consider reviewing the high-frequency words in small groups so that the students can become comfortable with the unfamiliar words.  
  • …build fluency!  With more confidence comes more fluent reading, and we all know that fluency develops more proficient readers.  Consider reading and re-reading these decodable texts for kindergarten to 1st grade to practice fluency, because studies show that repeated readings can increase fluency.
  • …increase comprehension skills!  Students will answer comprehension questions after each play to practice their comprehension skills.
  • …are a ton of fun!  These Decodable Reader’s Theatre passages for kindergarten and 1st grade are just what you need to practice phonics patterns in an engaging way and to ramp up your phonics instruction.  Kindergarten students specifically will fall in love with these because they get a chance to be up in front of a class!

Need I say more? These decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade readers align to the science of reading and are sure to be a great addition to your lesson plans.  To boot, even 2nd grade students can find fun in these and can use them to focus on fluency!  

A bit of advice: Before jumping right in, take the time for students to read and re-read these passages individually before going up to the class and practicing.  This way, these can be truly predictable texts and give students the confidence they need to perform in front of a class.  They can ask questions about the phonics rules or learn any unknown words that they might encounter.  And if you sense that the students really find these fun, you can staple a variety of plays together to make a reading booklet they can grab when they like!

Free Decodable Texts for Kindergarten and 1st Grade

If all of those amazing bullet points didn’t convince you the first time to check them out, don’t just take our word for it.  Below, I have links to these awesome decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade so you can see what they’re all about.  And for some holiday fun, I’ve included samples of the Valentine’s Day themed decodable texts!  These two samples decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade are the perfect way to try them out for free before jumping right in (though you’re going to want to take the plunge, trust me!)


Looking for more decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade?  

I’ve got you covered there!  Below are some great ways for you to incorporate more decodable texts into your instruction, sharpen your students’ reading skills, and instill the joy of reading in your students.

  • Kindergarten and 1st Grade Phonics Focused Review Reading Passages

    • This resource contains 15 review phonics focused decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade.

    • As always, they cover a wide variety of phonics patterns so you can use them for your students, no matter where they are at on the scope and sequence. However, they are most appropriate for end of the year kindergarten and beginning of the year for 1st grade.

    • This resource has students reading, highlighting, and writing down words that contain the focus phonics skill to sharpen those sound-spelling relationships.

    • Students will also focus on comprehension questions at the end of each passage.

    • Best part? Each passage is decodable and gives students confidence, which will help instill a love of reading.

  • Kindergarten Closed Syllables Decodable Reading Passages Phonics Focused Review

    • These decodable texts for kindergarten and 1st grade are great worksheets to review closed and open syllables.

    • This resource comes with 25 closed syllable decodable reading passages with word sorting activities and comprehension questions.

    • These decodable texts for kindergarten and first grade have students working on decoding short vowel CVC words with closed syllables with specific focus words for each passage.

  • First Grade Syllable Types Phonics Focused Review

    • This awesome resource gives you 25 syllable types of decodable reading passages that you can read with your first graders.

    • Simply print and go!

    • Students will partake in syllable sort activities and comprehension questions.

    • Syllable types include closed open, magic e, vowel teams, and r-controlled vowels!

Decodable texts are such an important part in a reader’s journey.

They help with decoding, confidence, fluency, comprehension, and beyond.  They instill an excitement for reading in kids and produce a confidence in a way that leveled texts just simply can’t.  Even so, there DOES come a time where we have to “let go” of our beloved decodable texts and introduce more authentic texts. But in the meantime, decodable texts have a huge and vital place in our reader’s journey.  It’s my wish that these decodable texts for kindergarten and first grade can be a major resource for you that you can tuck neatly into your phonics lesson!

Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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