Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finding the Best Books for your New Readers

 It's always an exciting time in a child's life when the rules of reading finally click. It's even more exciting for a parent or teacher to observe!  But what can we do to foster motivation and improve these new skills?  Here are a few ideas to keep in mind before you run out and buy one million books for your little one!

1.  Look for books with one or two syllables that are easy to sound out.  Be careful.  Some of those books marked "beginner" aren't always appropriate for a new reader.  Some publishers are different than others.

2.  Look for books about situations that are familiar to you and your child.  If your child is into horses, the picture clues may help your child through some tough words.  If not, it could be a source of frustration.

3.  Rhyme and repetition help children to recognize words that may have been difficult to sound out. Look for books that repeat the beginning of the sentence and then change the last word each page.  I like dogs....I do not like sausage....I like pigs...I do not like worms.  Rhymes help with fluency and offer a great deal of confidence to the new reader.  They don't have to sound like a robot when they're rhyming!

4.  Look for a book with big type and clear illustrations to use as picture clues.  You may see your child's eyes wondering around the page when trying to figure out a word.  Don't worry!  This is a strategy of a new reader.  If your child can recognize the first sound in a word and use a picture clue to figure the word out, be happy!!

Here are a few of my favorite beginner books!

I love the Green Light Readers because of their simple text, rhyming words, clear pictures for use as clues and familiar situations.

While some of P.D. Eastman's beginner books are a bit lengthy, they all include three letter, simple words coupled with larger words that are supported by rhyme or clear picture clues.  We love Go, Dog. Go! (I Can Read It All By Myself Beginner Books) and Flap Your Wings (Beginner Books(R)).  We're working on Snow.

Random House's, Step Into Reading, Step 1 books are a big hit in our house!  These books provide short, easy to sound out words and often have familiar situations or characters.  We love our Barbie and Disney princess books.

 We really enjoy Silly Milly books.  Although some of the words are longer and tough to sound out, the picture clues make for very easy reading.  Silly Milly always has a "rule" that she follows throughout her books as well.  It helps children to recognize patterns and similarities in words...another strategy of a good reader! Scholastic Reader Level 1: Silly Milly is one of our absolute favorite books to read independently!

How could we forget Dr. Suess?  Hop on Pop is full of three letter, easy to sound out, rhyming words.  Fox in Socks and One fish, Two fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish are a bit above beginner, but serve as a stepping stone to the next level.


  1. awesome article. i want to buy the silly milly books for kenzie now. always struggling to find books she "wants" to read.....

  2. Great post! I'm also a former teacher who decided to stay at home with my kids. I taught my oldest how to read over the summer, and it was so rewarding and fun! I had huge success with the Bob Books for first starting out. I'm now getting ready to branch out and find more diverse books.

  3. Great reminder about pictures and their ability to help children learn new words! When my daughter was learning to read, she would often struggle with the word, look at the visual clue and then read the word herself. It provided her with a great sense of accomplishment, and boosted her confidence! She is now 8 and LOVES to read... no picures needed!!!

  4. Great book ideas. We are going to have to try a few. They look like FUN books too. My five year old really wants to read on his own and I am looking for some fun books to keep his interest and beginner level to boost his confidence. Thanks so much for this informative post...keep it up!!!


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