Phonic Books series 

Phonic Books come from the UK and comprise an extensive range of books for both beginner and catch-up learners. For younger learners they have the Dandelion launchers and Dandelion readers series. For older, catch-up readers they have a variety of books designed to appeal to the older age group, including The Quest Series. They are available from Learning Matters and Smart Kids. They have accompanying workbooks and some also have games.

Beginner Readers        Catch-up Readers

Little Learners Love Literacy

LLLL is an Australian company whose books are available in NZ from Liz Kane Literacy. Liz also stocks the Teacher’s manuals and a range of associated games and resources. LLLL has added a new series called Wiz Kids to their original Pip and Tim series. Wiz Kids goes through to LLLL stage 4. 

Pip and Tim Stage 1    Big World Nonfiction Stage +4

Agility With Sound

This is a range of decodable books developed in NZ by Betsy Sewell. They are available in kits with accompanying resources from Betsy’s website Agility With Sound. These books do not have pictures, which can be really useful for children that have developed a strong reliance on using picture cues.

Agility With Sound Books

Betsy also produces the Wordchain app which will soon be available as a Wordchain for the web. This will allow users to access Wordchain in a browser on most internet connected devices – ipads, Chromebooks, Windows and Mac desktops, phones etc. So a student could work on a Chromebook at school and then continue on an iPad or PC at home for example.

Wordchain Reading Apps

Sunshine Phonics Decodable Books

These have recently been launched in New Zealand and are available from Sunshine Books. These books introduce the alphabetic code more rapidly than the other decodable texts above but have been well received by teachers and come with a good teacher’s manual.


Heggerty Decodable Books

Already well known for their phonemic awareness programme, Heggerty are now bringing out decodable books to sit alongside their Bridge the Gap Intervention programme. They currently have a series of six decodable books aimed at catch-up readers from Year 3 plus, but also useful for younger readers that have been taught the sounds, for building reading stamina. Available from J and J Literacy.

Simple Words Books

These are decodable chapter books, brought in from the US by Switch Learning. Great for catch up readers who want to have a chapter book to read like their peers. A series for younger readers is now available too.



SPELD South Australia

SPELD SA has two series of free downloadable decodable books. These follow a different sequence than the more commonly used books above.

Their original range is here and a new series, produced in 2020, is available here

Phonic Books

Phonic books also released a series of free decodable books during the COVID 19 Lockdown that can be printed out. They also have accompanying worksheets.


Little Learners Love Literacy

Some of the LLLL range are available as apps on both iTunes and Google Play

Phonics books

Phonic books have their Dandelion Launchers series 1-7 available as iPad apps

Decodable Readers Australia

This company has their books available as apps for download on both the App store and the Play store . They feature a bunch of cute little Australian critters. Each series introduces a lot of grapheme-phoneme correspondences at a time and so may be more suited for revision than teaching.


These are high interest, lower level books which are available in many libraries. They are not decodable, but are useful for older readers who have a good bank of sight words to build their reading stamina. Available in NZ from Switch Learning


There are of course many, many other decodable books available worldwide. We have only featured the books most commonly used amongst our group members. Alison Clarke of Spelfabet has a great blog post with a more exhaustive list of decodable book options that you may want to check out here


Please be aware that the new Ready to Read Phonics Plus books provided to schools by the Ministry of Education are not considered to be decodable books. The main reason for this is that they attempt to teach two languages with differing grapheme-phoneme correspondences at the same time. In addition, they are not particularly cumulative and this leads to many of the words not being decodable at the point in the scope and sequence at which the children are expected to read them. We do not consider these books to be appropriate for use with dyslexic children. For more information please read the deb’s position on “Better Start” 


Many NZ schools have invested heavily in predictable texts – what do we do with them now that we know they don’t support a Structured Literacy approach?

This recent blog from The Right to Read Project has some excellent ideas for activities that use these texts in a way that can build literacy skills. 


Created by Paula Short who is an amazing, passionate mum who supports the deb in may ways and advocates with Lifting Literacy Aotearoa for all children to be educated using Structured Literacy.