Decodable Books and Literacy Initiatives Being Offered at Ten Public Libraries in SD44

ReadingImage by Jill Wellington

CHESTER SPRINGS, PA — Join us at the Henrietta Hankin Branch Library on Thursday, June 6, 2024, from 5:30-7:30 PM for a “Books for all Readers” community workshop. This workshop is designed to inform educators, parents, and caregivers about the science of reading and ways to help early and struggling readers become skilled readers with the help of decodable books.

Decodable books are simple books written for beginning readers and contain specific grapheme-phoneme correspondences that students have learned. This provides learners with the opportunity to use their developing segmenting and blending skills to read words and develop automaticity, which is the ability to recognize words quickly and effortlessly, leading to independent reading success.

In November 2022, State Sen. Katie Muth (D-Chester/Montgomery/Berks) announced a $125,000 grant to establish a collection of decodable books in every public library across Senate District 44 and to offer training and professional development on these collections for librarians and our community members. The funding for this initiative comes from Pennsylvania’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. The 10 libraries in Senate District 44 eligible to receive decodable text collections include Atglen Public Library, Chester Springs Library, Henrietta Hankin Branch, Honey Brook Community Library, Parkesburg Free Library, Spring City Library, and the Phoenixville Public Library in Chester County; Lower Providence Community Library and Royersford Free Public Library in Montgomery County; and the Boone Area Library in Berks County.

“Learning to read is a fundamental human right. The process of learning to read and achieving adequate literacy skills is a unique process for each individual learner. Ensuring availability of phonics-based resources in both our classrooms and community libraries for young learners to practice decoding – a necessary skill for reading comprehension – will enhance structured literacy efforts implemented during explicit instruction,” Senator Katie Muth said. “Through this program, librarians across SD44 have already participated in several training sessions on decodable book collections that improve and promote fluency and accuracy, and help kids practice their phonics skills they have learned and build on those skills to master essential reading competencies. The next step in the program is the June 6th community event and I am really looking forward to seeing everyone at the library!”

The workshop being offered at Henrietta Hankin Branch Library (located at 215 Windgate Dr, Chester Springs, PA 19425) will focus on using decodable books in libraries as resources to support skilled reading for all children. Teach My Kid to Read (, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, will present this information. Cigdem Knebel from Simple Words Books will also share her story and present a system she created to assess the quality of decodable books.

After the workshop, attendees are invited to view a display of examples of decodable books, sign up for giveaways, and interact with the presenters.

“Every school community is working to ensure that all children are reading on grade level by third grade, and the library sees lending decodable books as another tool to support these new readers and their teachers and caregivers,” said Joseph L. Sherwood, Executive Director of the Chester County Library System. To register for the workshop, please visit:

Decodable Books

The mission of the Chester County Library System ensures that every resident has access to exceptional opportunities to read, learn, create, connect, and contribute to a better quality of life. Chester County Library & District Center is located at 450 Exton Square Parkway, Exton, PA. For hours or more information, visit our website at

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