Posts Tagged ‘create decodable text’

Create Decodable Text with Artificial Intelligence

Decodable text can be created with this tool.

Create Decodable Text

Reading specialists, language coaches, SLPs, EL/EB, SPED, and reading teachers will appreciate a new free tool to create decodable text with artificial intelligence (AI). The recently released open artificial intelligence site, ChatGPT (link will follow), is free and easy to use. It follows your directions to compose text with your own parameters. No more brainstorming sentences featuring r-controlled vowels; no more searching in vain for decodable narrative and expository text with the sound-spellings you have introduced; Wow! This is a game-changer.

Now of course the AI has its potential drawbacks. For example, students can enter their teacher’s writing prompt and ChatGPT will churn out a well-crafted, albeit a bit formulaic, essay with MLA citations. And each ChatGPT-generated writing text is unique; the AI learns from its experience and multiple submissions produce better and more detailed information. Secondary teachers are beginning to brainstorm ChatGPT detection ideas. At least I hope this free platform sounds the death knell sounding for all those essay-writing services stalking our students.

However, beyond the real concerns of plagiarism and questions about how to adapt to this new tool, I’m sure you will find plenty of useful applications to teaching reading. I’ll share a few helpful suggestions to create those in-demand reading sources that reading teachers are always asking about–decodable texts.

To direct ChatGPT (link will follow, I promise!), simply type (or copy and paste) what you want it to produce in its textbook. So easy to use, but the more specific parameters you assign, the better the results will be. It takes a bit of trial and error to get precisely what you want for your students.

One important caveat… True decodable text depends upon what has been explicitly taught and provides practice on those targeted sound-spellings. The AI produced examples I’ll share are not completely decodable texts by any means. BTW, I’ve written my own set of fully decodable Sam and Friends Phonics Books to align with my own reading intervention program and it’s tough work if one’s goal is fidelity to lessons explicitly and previously taught. However, I will say that my work would have been significantly easier had I been able to use this amazing AI tool. See what you think!


I typed…

Write decodable text focusing on words with the long a sound.

ChatGPT produced…

  1. “The snake lay in the grass and basked in the sun’s rays.”
  2. “Kate made a cake for Jake’s birthday and it was a huge hit.”
  3. “The rain came down in sheets as the thunder crashed.”
  4. “The waves of the ocean were calm and the boats swayed gently.”
  5. “The game was tied and the players battled for the ball.”

Not bad at all! It actually churned out quite a few more with other long /a/ sound-spellings.

Next, I decided to challenge the AI a bit more. I like how Marni Ginsberg uses these types of memory hook sentences in her Reading Simplified program (hers are better). Great practice orthographic mapping, connecting the sound-spellings to words to meaning to syntax. I typed…

Write a sentence including these long o words: go, boat, though, toe, show, poke.

ChatGPT (the link’s coming) came up with this long /o/ memory hook sentence…

I was going to take the boat out on the lake, though I knew I might poke my toe on the way there because I always seem to trip and show off my clumsiness.

With a bit of revision, that might do rather nicely.

Write a story for second graders, using these words: rain, made, laid, rays, play, game, waves, wait, weigh, eight, Jay, Kate, great.

ChatGPT produced this cute short story… Notice that my parameters directed the level of controlled text (second grade) and a set of randomly chosen long /a/ nouns and verbs. I add the bolded long /a/ words and threw in a few revisions in (parentheses).

Once upon a time, in a small town called Sunnyville (Maytown), Jay and Kate were best friends. They loved to play outside and explore the world around them.

One day, it started to rain outside, so Jay and Kate decided to stay inside and play a game. They looked for a fun game to play, and finally decided on a card game called “Go Fish.” (“Pay Day.”)

As they played, they could hear the rain hitting the roof and the waves crashing against the shore. They loved the sound of the rain and the waves, and they enjoyed the cozy feeling of being inside while it was raining outside.

After a while, they started to get a little hungry. Kate said, “I wish we had something to eat. I’m starving!” Jay thought for a moment and then said, “I know! Let’s make some cookies!” (bake a cake!)

So they gathered all the ingredients they needed (So they opened the cake mix) and started to mix and stir. They carefully measured out the flour (cake mix, eggs,) and sugar, and then added some chocolate chips for extra yumminess.

As the cookies (cake) baked in the oven, the rain outside began to ease up. The sun started to peek out from behind the clouds, and the rays of sunshine streamed through the windows.

Finally, the cookies were (cake was) ready! Jay and Kate took them (it) out of the oven and let them (it) cool for a few minutes. Then they laid them out on a plate and waited patiently for them to cool down completely.

When the cookies were (cake was) finally cool enough to eat, Jay and Kate each took a bite. (slice.) They were delicious! (It was so tasty!) They ate as many cookies as they could, (the whole cake,) and then weighed themselves on the scale to see how much they had gained.

“I think we gained about eight pounds each!” Kate laughed.

Jay and Kate had a great time that day, even though it had rained outside. They learned that sometimes the best days are the ones that are a little bit unexpected, and that it’s always fun to have a good friend by your side.

Next, I went all reading specialist nerdy and entered all the long /i/ words from the Fry’s 300 list and wrote an expository prompt. Let’s see if I can get a controlled vocabulary and syntax text with plenty of decodable long /i/ words. Will ChatGPT produce some decent background knowledge text along with the word recognition practice? I typed…

Write an essay at third grade reading level about George Washington’s achievements as President, using all of these words as possible: I, time, like, write, my, find, right, why, try, kind, high, eyes, light, while, might, life, side, mile, night, white, idea, sometimes

ChatGPT typed out the following. Not as good as the story, but useful for its purposes of building vocabulary, background knowledge, and practicing those long /i/ sound-spellings (I boldfaced). Of course, it would be far better if I had added other high utility long /i/ words, but I limited it to the Fry list to put it through its paces.

Hi there! I’m here to write an essay about George Washington’s achievements as President. George Washington was the first President of the United States, and he did a lot of important things during his time in office.

One of the things that I like about George Washington is that he was very fair and honest. He always tried to do the right thing, even when it was hard. He was kind to everyone, and he always treated people with respect.

Another thing that I find interesting about George Washington is that he was very strong and brave. He was a leader who was not afraid to make difficult decisions. He was also a great military leader and helped lead the Continental Army to victory during the American Revolution.

I think that it is important to learn about George Washington because he played a huge role in the history of our country. He helped to create the United States and set the standards for future presidents to follow. He is a role model for all of us, and his achievements should be celebrated.

Sometimes, it can be hard to understand why certain things happen in life. But I think that it is important to try to learn as much as we can about the people and events that have shaped our world. By learning about George Washington and his accomplishments, we can gain a better understanding of our own history and the world around us.

So, I encourage you to learn more about George Washington and the important role that he played in our country’s history. You might be surprised by how much you find out and how much you can learn from this amazing leader.

Think you’ll agree that the ChatGPT tool will be useful for us reading teachers. Finally, Mark, give us the link so that we can play with this amazing tool! To produce an AI essay in ChatGPT, simply copy and paste a writing prompt into the textbox on this site: Cheers!

Sam and Friends Phonics Books


Mark Pennington is the author of The Science of Reading Intervention Program–a full year word recognition and language comprehension program for grades 4-adult. His 54 Sam and Friends Phonics books feature teenage characters and plots with comic illustrations by the amazing David Rickert. Full decodable with two Heart Words per book, your students will love these stories. Formatted for booklet printing, tablet, and phone.

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