LMD 041 : Judy Keen – Decodable Books Building Confidence

episode-41Welcome to The Luvin My Dyslexia Podcast:

Welcome to the Luvin my Dyslexia Podcast. I am Stephen Anderson and this is session 41. Today I am speaking with a rather unique author. Judy Keen is a Tasmanian student psychologist who has written over 30 books and at least two dozen of them are specifically designed to be decodeable. What that means is that they are set to the level of the student reading them. One of the major problems our kids have is when they run into a word that they can’t decode they are stopped from continuing through the passage. Judy’s books have been written with a finite vocabulary that only allows words that are decodeable to the reader, therefore no stumbling blocks and pages get finished, then books do too and in the process, confidence grows. I think the incredible thing is that even with these constraints she writes books that are being set for the whole class and even the good readers are enjoying them. Enjoy!

Take Aways from this Episode:

  • She is both a school psychologist and a teacher.
  • Students were referred to her by teachers and parents for a variety of reasons and the most common reason is that the students just aren’t getting the reading and writing thing.


Unlocking terminologies:



  1. a group of two successive letters whose phonetic value is a single sound (as ea in bread or ng in sing) or whose value is not the sum of a value borne by each in other occurrences (as ch in chin where the value is \t\ + \sh\)
  2. a group of two successive letters

~ Meriam Dictionary



 In reading instruction, the term ‘decodable’ refers to words containing only the phonetic code the child or student has already learned.  To determine if text is decodable you need to evaluate the phonetic structure of the vocabulary and compare it to the code knowledge the child has already acquired.  We often think of ‘decodable’ text as phonetically simple words and text. Although decodable text is simple in the beginning when the child has limited knowledge of the phonemic code, decodable text expands as the child learns more of the phonemic code.

~ http://www.righttrackreading.com/


Sounds and their corresponding symbols are taught in phonics lessons that are systematically organized, use direct and explicit instruction, provide blending and segmenting practice, and provide word manipulation practice. Students first read words, phrases, and sentences on phonics practice sheets, and then read continuous text in Decodable Books.

Students who learn phonics master the sound/symbol code that enables them to read and spell. Each phonics lesson is built on research-based strategies for introducing, teaching, and practicing a sound (phoneme) and its related symbol or symbols (grapheme or graphemes).




“I want them to be confident that they could decode every word in that book.” ~ Judy


Resources Mentioned:



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