Children begin to read at many different ages. As a teacher for over 17 years, I’ve noticed most children start reading during Kindergarten or the beginning of 1st grade. Getting the right books for beginning readers makes all the difference in the world. You don’t want a book to be too easy and they fly through it. But you definitely don’t want it to be too hard, frustrating them, making them think that they are not good readers. You can always ask your child’s teacher what their reading level is. Depending on the assessment they use they should be able to tell you either a number or letter to look for.
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Five Finger Rule
One tip I give parents of beginning readers is to pick a random page in a book and have your child read it. If there are more than five words that they do not know, the book is too hard for them and you should find another book for them to try. If there are no tricky words or maybe 1 then it may be too easy.
I Can Read Books
Some of my favorite books that I always suggest to parents are the I Can Read Books. They come in different levels from My Very First Readers up to Advanced Readers. They also have some that are for Shared Reading (you can read to your child). Plus they have ones for more advanced readers. I love that these books have a plot that the kids can follow and aren’t just words of a similar word family or solely sight words. Those types of books often don’t have a plot, which makes it harder for students to follow. My students (and my own children) love all the different characters. Some of their favorites are Fancy Nancy, Pinkalicious, Danny and the Dinosaur, and Biscuit just to name a few.
Step into Reading
I recently starting using the Step into Reading Books and have really liked them. They are similar in the leveling to the I Can Read Books. Though for very early readers I think even Level 1 might be too difficult. Once a reader has a good sight word vocabulary and is able to use different strategies for figuring out these words I think they will really enjoy these books. They have many characters loved by children, including Dora, Cars, Barbie, and lots of Super Heroes.
Bob Books have been around for a long time, and for good reason. The very simple storyline with many of the same characters makes it easy for children to remember. Also the books have many decodable words so children who are good at identifying words in word families will do well with these books. I would use these along with other books though. Some children may not be interested in the simple pencil sketches. It is important for these early readers to be reading books with more of a plot.
First Little Reader
I use the First Little Readers in my classroom. I often send them home with my students to read for extra practice at night. They are very short (less than 10 pages) and only have 1 or 2 lines of text. Children may enjoy the simple story line and the colorful illustrations.
Though this isn’t a book series, I recommend that my students use this site daily. Teachers are able to set a level for students so children are reading books that are just right for them. Depending on the level, books can be listened to, read by the student, and students can also take a quiz to check comprehension. While I encourage parents to make sure their children are still reading physical copies of books, Raz-Kids has so many books for beginning readers.
In the district where I work the subscription is paid for by the school system. This is why I always encourage parents to ask their child’s teacher is their are any online subscription that their district provides to use at home.
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