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Decodable Non-Fiction Set 9, Schwa and Syllables, Books 50-56

Grade Levels
2nd - 4th, Homeschool
Formats Included
  • PDF
  • EBooks
147 pages
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This is a sequential series of seven printable non-fiction phonics books that provides decoding practice for elementary school readers (advanced Grade 2 and Grade 3), specifically with multisyllabic words. This set of books focuses on the schwa sound (common in multisyllabic words, such as petrified) and the most common syllabication patterns: compound words (e.g., Yellowstone), closed syllables (e.g., pattern), open syllables (e.g., cobra), r-controlled syllables (e.g., current), vowel team syllables (e.g., cheetah, tidepool), and consonant + -le syllables (e.g., eagle, puzzle).

While there are other decodable texts available for emerging readers, this series is unique in combining systematic phonics/decodable text with non-fiction topics and photographs.

This group (Books 50-56) follows the first eight sets which focus on short vowels (Books 1-6)consonant blends (Books 7-11)long vowels with magic/silent e (Books 12-15)consonant digraphs (Books 16-21)regular vowel digraphs/teams (Books 22-28)special vowel teams and diphthongs (Books 29-35)R-controlled Vowels and hard/soft C and G (Books 36-42), and Variant Vowels and Silent Consonants (Books 43-49).

All seven titles in Set 9 focus on multisyllabic decoding.

  • Book 50 focuses on the schwa sound (soft short u), the most common sound in the English language, primarily found in the unaccented syllables of multisyllabic words. It is almost impossible to read multisyllabic words correctly without understanding that any vowel can take the schwa sound.
  • Book 51 focuses on compound words and closed syllables. Closed syllables end with a consonant, usually making the vowel short. For example, in the word compound, we split between the two consonants, creating com and pound. Com has a short vowel sound because a CVC word is created when we split.
  • Book 52 focuses on open syllables where the syllable ends with a vowel, usually making the vowel long. For example, in the word lemur, we split before the middle consonant, creating le and mur. Le has a long vowel sound because of the CV open-vowel pattern.
  • Book 53 focuses on r-controlled syllables where the syllable ends with a vowel+r pattern. For example, in the word forest, we split after the -or because we rarely separate a vowel from the -r next to it. If there is a consonant following the -r, we may include that in the first syllable, such as in the word turnpike. But more often, the consonant will end up in the following syllable, such as in the word tur-key.
  • Book 54 focuses on vowel-team syllables where two vowels stay together in the same syllable, creating a long-vowel sound (e.g., cheetah) or a special vowel (e.g., bookmark). This also includes words with a silent or magic e in the syllable, such as blue-bird.
  • Book 55 focuses on consonant + -le syllables, where the three letters make their own syllable. For example, -dle is pronounced dull in handle, and -gle is pronounced gull in eagle.
  • Book 56 is a review of schwa and all these syllabication patterns.

Each book can be printed in a single-sided version or two-sided version (instructions are included with each text). All 56 books in the entire series build on previous skills, so books should be taught and read in order. Because these books contain actual photos, rather than drawings, they can be suitable both for elementary students and for teens and adults learning to read in English. Most state standards include a focus on reading informational text, even in second and third grade, but finding materials that are suitable for young or struggling readers can be challenging. These decodable non-fiction texts are designed to fill this gap. If this set is too difficult, try starting with one of the earlier sets and building from there.

In addition to the multisyllabic, phonetically-regular words in these 7 books, here are the sight words and story words for each book.

High-Frequency Irregular Sight Words (red words)

50. English, special, syllable

51. active, easy, second, watch

52. father, middle, months, nothing, parents, usually

53. carry, either, lose, several, though, women

54. always, Indian, laughing, never, unusual
55. hearts, Japanese, millions
56. completely, natural, scientists

Story Words (less common sight words—blue words)
50. Arizona, canoes, carriage, coyotes, dissolved, eruptions, lava, lazy, museum, settlers, World War II
51. features, hospital, practicing, rattlesnake, structures
52. calves, controlled, cougars, guard, marsupial
53. monument, needles
54. Caribbean, discovered, eagles, honeycomb, scribbled, tropical
55. confused, created, edge, petals, popular, warn
56. caldera, erosion, Oregon

Sight words from the previous sets can be found by clicking on the links above for Sets 1-8. Additional titles, focusing on a full range of phonics skills, will be available in coming months.

Total Pages
147 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.
Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.
Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression on successive readings.


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