The short response is, that matching structured synthetic phonic approaches with whole language type processes such as PM Bench-marking is incredibly difficult as the approaches to reading are vastly different.

The lengthier response is below.
The reading book sets that PLD stocks are decodable and also operate within a structured synthetic phonics approach. What does this mean? Let's look at the first set. The initial readers start with VC and CVC words with and no sight words. Gradually and progressively sight words, phonic concepts and length increases. Below is the first of the four main sets. Books 1-5 have no sight words and focus upon around 1/4 of the alphabet sounds. Books 6-15, gradually introduces all of the alphabet into the reading material but also introduces some of the the most common and simple sight words.



Home reader set 1: Is ideal for semester one in Foundation (Prep. in QLD,/Vic/Tas, Kindergarten in NSW/ACT, Transition in NT and PrePrimary WA)
Home reader set 2: is ideal for semester two in Foundation (Prep. in QLD,/Vic/Tas, Kindergarten in NSW/ACT, Transition in NT and PrePrimary WA)
Home Reader set 3: is ideal for semester one Year 1.
Home reader set 4: is ideal for semester two Year 1.
View the full flyer HERE

It is also true that a proportion of students will require decodable reading material for longer than others. This group of students may have presented at school with speech and/or language delays. These students may have had a history of multiple ear infections. They may have family members who have experienced literacy and learning difficulties (and hence present with a genetic predisposition to literacy difficulties). Alternatively there may be other reasons why additional structured reading material is necessary. In addition to the four general sets of decodable reading material for the initial two years of learning to read. Some students however (for reasons such as those listed) may require additional decodable reading material before progressing to higher levels. The only way to achieve this, is by supplementing with additional reading series. For this reason, three additional reading book sets have been sourced.

If students have read all of Home Readers Set 1 the additional set of 20 Home Reader Further Practise Set 1 may be appropriate. They are also suitable for students who are still acquiring accuracy and automaticity at an Exercise 2 level on the PLD Early Reading Profile.
If students have read all of Home Readers Set 2 the additional set of 20 Home Reader Further Practise Set 2 may be appropriate. They are also suitable for students who are still acquiring accuracy and automaticity at an Exercise 3, 4 and 5 on the PLD Early Reading Profile.
If students have read all of the Home Readers Set 3 and Home Readers Set 4 the additional 20 Home Readers Further Practise Set 3 and 4 may be appropriate. They are also suitable for students who are still acquiring accuracy and automaticity at an Exercise 5 and 6 on the PLD Early Reading Profile.

The books are designed to run alongside an evidence-based structured synthetic phonics program. Research repeatedly reports that the gains are greatest from the initial years of schooling when students are first learning to read. In terms of allocating reading books, tracking the progress within each school term, the Early Reading Profiles are recommended.

The Foundation version of the screen can be found HERE
The Year 1 and 2 version of the screen can be found HERE

The screen analyses word accuracy (i.e. percentage correct at each level) but also automaticity (i.e. reading strategies observed).
If below 90% accuracy and blending each letter at 'Exercise 2 CVC Words' the following sets are recommended: HRset1, HRset1b, SRmulti1
If below 90% accuracy and blending each letter at 'Exercise 3 and 4' the following sets are recommended: HRset2, HRset2b, SRmulti2
If below 90% accuracy and blending each letter at 'Exercise 5' the following sets are recommended: HRset3, HRset34b
If below 90% accuracy and blending each letter at 'Exercise 6' the following sets are recommended: HRset4, HRset34b

For many schools as they move from whole language programs and screening, towards structured synthetic phonics programs and screening, this can be complicated and will likely take several years to implement.

The following readings may assist:
https://www.dyslexiasa.org.au/current-issues/why-sa-schools-must-invest-in-decodable-readers-in-2018/
https://www.dyslexiasa.org.au/current-issues/running-records-must-be-abolished-in-sa/
https://pld-literacy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/DecodabletextsNSW.jpg

Matching structured synthetic phonic approaches with whole language type processes such as PM Bench-marking is incredibly difficult as the approaches to reading are vastly different. The best we can do is provide some information on the Home Readers Further Practise sets (Fitzroy Readers) which provide an approximate comparison to PM Bench-marking.


It is very challenging to navigate how schools start to phase out dated processes and start implementing more of the gold standard approach, structured synthetic phonics. One of the PLD blogs dealt with this issue, and provided a range of suggestion. (E.g. in the next school year aim for 50% PM Bench-marking and 50% decodables. This would mean two PM Benchmark Readers and two decodable readers per week). To read more: https://pld-literacy.org/leaders-call-for-running-records-pm-benchmarking-to-be-phased-out/

If we can be of further assistance, do contact the PLD office: mail@pld-literacy.org
Was this article helpful?
Thank you!