I was thrilled the first time my son read me a book. It was exciting time, but it also required a change in the type of books I was picking up from the library and book store. And the change wasn’t easy. I found it difficult to find books that were at my son’s new level. These books needed to have more than a few simple three-letter words per page, but they still had to be easy enough for him to read. And they had to have a decent enough story to hold his attention. Over the course of this year, we’ve discovered some great series. Here are some top picks for encouraging and inspiring your new reader to get into a book.
Bob Books: Bob Books was one of the first easy reader series we tried. Each boxed series comes with 12 easy-to-read books with 2-4 letter words that often can all be sounded out. Their first set of books are for kids who have learned their letters and are just starting to read simple words. The stories are short and my son loved being able to successfully read an entire story on his own. Once your child is more advanced, they can move on to sets 2 through 5 that cover word families, long vowels, and complex words. There are also box sets for rhyming words and sight words. The stories are short, have odd, but interesting chacaters (Sam is a triangle with a face, arms and legs) and had enough of a plot and humor to keep my son interested. I like that skills build through the series and also that the characters remain the same so kids get to know them. BOB Books are available as physical book sets at book retailers and are also available as e-books.
Sounds Like Reading: I found this small series at our local library and fell in love with their layout and funny sentences. With titles like The Nice Mice in the Rice, The Bug in the Jug Wants a Hug, and The Frail Snail on the Trail, these books help readers master short and long vowel sounds by using rhymes. Kids can use both the text, the pictures, and the rhyme to help them decode new words and master the silly sentences. The stories don’t do much for plot (the words and silly sentence on each page is unrelated to the next), but they do help build vocabulary and confidence.
Scholastic Phonics Boxed Set: These sets of books have been a huge hit with my kids. The 12 books in each set focus on a different vowel sound, but even better, they come in dozens of themes so you can choose a character that your child will be motivated to read more about. The Star Wars set was popular for my boys, but you can also choose from Clifford, Lalaloopsy, Hello Kitty, Dora, Superheroes and more. In addition to the story books, the Star Wars set also came with two workbooks that my son used for additional practice.
Step-Into-Reading Level 1: This series of books by Random House is another great choice for new readers. While the Level 1 of some other new reader sets often includes lots of words per page and tricky vocabulary, the Step-Into-Reading Level 1 series has short sentences, appropriate vocabulary, and uses repetition of sounds and words that helped my son to build mastery. This series also has dozen of books featuring both interesting stand-alone stories and those with your kid’s favorite characters like Nemo, WALL-E, Barbie, Lightening McQueen and others. My son was a huge fan of Cars, so it was easy to get him motivated to read a story about Lightening McQueen. Especially if you have a reluctant readers, choosing books with your child’s favorite character can be a great way to encourage them into a new story.