Articles & Videos

How to prepare your classroom for Decodable Readers

Paper airplane

Subscribe to our newsletters

Receive teaching resources and tips, exclusive special offers, useful product information and more!


Back to articles & videos

How to prepare your classroom for Decodable Readers

Sound Waves Literacy 23/8/23

If you’ve recently made the switch from levelled texts to Decodable Readers, you may be wondering how you can organise these books. Here are our tips for setting up your classroom for reading success!

Provide easy access to the Decodable Readers

Ideally, you want your students reading and interacting with the Sound Waves Decodable Readers as often as possible. In your Sound Waves lessons, you’ll explicitly teach the focus phoneme–grapheme relationship then model reading for your whole class using the relevant projectable Decodable Reader. The Decodable Readers come in three levels of difficulty (support, core and extended), so the books for each phoneme–grapheme relationship can be used in various ways throughout the week. The core books are ideal for whole-class modelled reading. Students can then practise reading the support, core or extended books in small groups, in pairs and independently. Unlike levelled texts, which are often only brought out for guided reading, Running Records or home reading, students should have easy access to Decodable Readers throughout each school day.

Tip: Spread Decodable Readers that feature previously taught phoneme–grapheme relationships across the desks in your classroom so students can read them when they arrive at school.

Build a library of Decodable Readers

A great way to develop reading fluency is to have students re-read previously introduced Decodable Readers. In an early years classroom, Decodable Readers should be part of the classroom library. When students have access to previously introduced Decodable Readers, they can continue to consolidate their knowledge of phoneme–grapheme relationships and build fluency. As the school year progresses, students will learn more and more phoneme–grapheme relationships, which means they will have an abundance of books to choose from (that are entirely decodable!). Students can also revisit their favourite Decodable Readers for enjoyment.

Tip: You may want to group the Decodable Readers by terms so students aren’t overwhelmed with options when selecting books to re-read.

Get creative with storage solutions

Finding storage solutions that don’t take up too much space can be challenging. Here are some creative ways teachers are storing and displaying the Sound Waves Decodable Readers in their classrooms.

Trolleys: This storage solution is great for teachers sharing books across different classrooms, or for those short on space. You can also store each set of books on a different shelf to keep books with the same difficulty level together.

Brochure stands: An efficient way to see the cover of each Decodable Reader and its focus grapheme is to display the books in a brochure stand. It comes with the added benefit of the beautiful covers being on display, and if you love a rainbow bookshelf, you can even arrange the books by their cover colour!

Book tubs: Place book tubs containing the Decodable Readers at the front of your classroom or in a reading corner to encourage students to read the books multiple times. You can even use colour-coded tubs that match the colours of the Decodable Reader sets!


Sound Cards: Using the A5 Sound Icon or Sound Box Cards, you can group the support, core and extended Decodable Readers by the featured phoneme. Not only does this help reinforce phonemic awareness, it also makes locating books easy.

More Sound Waves Literacy articles & videos