Literacy Q&A With Dr. Matthew Burns

Literacy Q&A With Dr. Matthew Burns

In this Q&A session, Dr. Matthew Burns, Assistant Director of the University of Florida Literacy Institute, explores the effectiveness of decodable books and evidence-based reading strategies.

How do decodables support reading achievement?

Decodable books, or decodable readers, are crucial in supporting beginning readers. They boost reading confidence and achievement by providing structured practice of the phonics skills they’re learning in class—within the context of engaging and colorful stories.


Read More

Read our Complete Guide to Decodables for a deeper look into why they are essential for effective literacy instruction.


What is the importance of explicit instruction?

There are several reasons why explicit instruction raises reading achievement:

  • It's systematic instruction that kids need to succeed
  • It walks through the learning sequence of modeled instruction, practiced automaticity, and generalized


What is the importance of family engagement?

Research indicates that when families support literacy development at home, there is a significant impact on academic achievement. 


What should educators think about when they plan for small group instruction?

Small group instruction has to be targeted to kids' needs and instruction should address those needs. If students receive phonics instruction in the small group, they need many opportunities to practice with a decodable book. 


Which resources should be used for independent practice?

Dr. Burns recommends for independent practice, students need to be able to read at least 93-97% of the text. The other 3-7% is the skill they are practicing. 


What are your thoughts about the Just Right Reader Take-Home Decodable Packs?

Take-home Decodables provides another layer of repetition that kids need in order to generalize the skills. It will lead to generalization almost better than anything else.

Ready to Transform Your Reading Curriculum?

Developed with leading literacy experts, our libraries align with all phonics curriculums, including UFLI Foundations, and are the perfect supplement to structured phonics instruction.

Just Right ReaderClassroom Libraries and Take-Home Decodable Packs feature: 

Just Right Reader Decodables
  • An extensive library of 750+ titles in English and Spanish
  • Explicit phonics instruction in every book
  • Lesson plans for every title that are perfect for small groups
  • 2-minute video lessons reinforce phonics skills in English and Spanish
  • Engaging and relatable stories with diverse characters 
  • Research-based, rigorous phonics scope and sequence that aligns to all phonics programs and curriculums 


Just Right Reader Samples

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