This is not a list of best early readers for kids who have already started to read. Instead, this is a list of books to share with your three to six-year-old non-reader to introduce them to sounding out words. In my experience, the trick to teaching a kid to read is finding entertaining books that kids are motivated to read. Here are five entertaining books that I have been sharing with my 3 1/2-year-old daughter to get her excited about reading.
For those of you with young readers, what book first got your child excited about sounding out words?
Hug by Jez Alborough. This story of a young chimpanzee looking for a hug is told with engaging illustrations and only two words: hug and Bobo. Once you have taught your child to sound out these two words, they will be off and running, reading their first book. Ages 2+
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey. While author Robert McCloskey did not intend this to be an early reader, he chose names for the eight ducklings in this story that are perfect for your budding reader to sound out: Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Oack, Pack and Quack. Once your child has mastered the duckling names, she can try reading the captions. Ages 3+
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. The fanciful scenes depicted by Dr. Seuss are hilarious to many young children who have recently learned that eggs are not green, fish do not belong on trees, and fox do not really wear socks. Hop on Pop begins with words that are accessible to a child who has never sounded out words before: “UP PUP Pup is up…” Each page of Hop on Pop contains a stand alone joke, so your new reader is immediately rewarded when she is able to sound out a few words. Age 3+
Toot and Puddle: Puddle’s ABCs by Holly Hobbie. Puddle’s ABCs is an alphabet book that, like many alphabet books, is useful for teaching your child the sounds that letters make. In addition, Puddle’s ABCs contains a story in which Holly Hobbie’s adorable character Puddle teaches his friend Otto the letters of the alphabet and how to write his name. This story conveys the excitement of learning to read and write and encourages children to begin looking more closely at words. Ages 3+
My First Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Renee Graef and others. The My First Little House Books are a series of books adapted from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s wonderful Little House chapter books. This series includes stories about Laura’s life in the big woods of Wisconsin and Almonzo’s life in the New York State countryside around 1870. Both my son and daughter love these stories about life in the 1800s. Each of the My First Little House Books begin in the same way – either by introducing Laura’s family or by introducing Almonzo’s family. I read the beginnings of these stories slowly and let my kids “read” the names of the characters by sounding out the first letters of the names and guessing. Ages 3+
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