I’m frequently asked for book recommendations for beginning readers.
And I’m happy to help! After teaching kindergarten for so long, I definitely have my favorites.
However, after I give my list of choices, I’m usually met with the following question, “What do you think about the Bob Books?”
My response? I don’t like them. At All.
I mean, they’re not bad.
Maybe you’ve used them or are currently using them (so many parents are told to buy them, that they are the best) and that’s fine!
But they’re definitely not the series I recommend, ever. Let me explain...
Preschool Readers provides a systematic approach to sight word instruction. Sight words account for a large percentage (over 75%) of the words used in print. Preschool Readers was developed with the 80/20 principle in mind. At it’s simplest, the 80/20 rule means that you get 80% of the results from 20% of the work.
When we apply this to beginning reading, it means that knowing how to fluently read sight words (20% of the work) means a child will be able to read almost all of the words in text (80% of the results).
Bob Books are often filled with CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant).
Their stories include words like POP, DIG, and BAT… words children can sound out (unlike sight words) so why spend so much time on them? Plus, a sentence with so many CVC words makes it difficult for the child to read quickly and correctly… it’s like the sentence is a tongue twister (which can be frustrating)! Children also pretty much never encounter text with sentences like these in everyday print… they are just silly!
Their stories are not the easiest when it comes to making text-to-self connections.
Text-to-self connections are highly personal connections that a reader makes between a piece of reading material and the reader's own experiences or life. An example of a text-to-self connection might be, "This story reminds me of a vacation we took to my grandfather's farm." -Resource
So, what books do I suggest?
I prefer colorful little readers filled with sight words and relatable stories. Books where the child can apply their reading strategies -strategies used to solve and decode unknown words.
Here’s my recommend book list:
- First Little Readers- Level A, Level B, Level C
- Sight Word Readers
- High Frequency Readers
- Reader Sight Word Stories
- Sight Word Readers (different from above)
- Hubbards Cupboard- a website that provides free printable sight word readers
Lisa Vodola, Preschool Readers
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