One of the joys of homeschooling is teaching kids to read. It’s amazing to watch them go from sounding out letters to putting them together to make CVC words to really reading. It’s not alway easy though to find books that excite them and make them want to read at this stage which can be hard work for them. At the very beginning we enjoy these leveled readers by Nora Gaydos. Each book focuses on a short vowel sound and usually consists of mostly three letter words so can be read by the very beginning reader. We also have and use Bob Books which are very similar in concept.
It’s the next step that I find harder. Our library has a lot of really dull early readers (The cat sat. On the mat.) or a lot of what they call early readers but that are full of sight words and that don’t work as well for us. There are very few books that have any kind of story or that really feel like something you want to read rather than an exercise for school.
I was happy to find this funny little book by Emily Arnold McCully (a Caldecott winner and author of many excellent children’s books. The words are simple enough and mostly focusing on the long a sound and there is an actual story accompanied by endearing illustrations. It looks like there are several others in the series that I’m hopeful will also be similarly good books that just happen to be for an early reader.
The other approach we take is to find good books that are too advanced for the reader but that are fun to read together. I have him read all the words he can and I read the rest. As we read I sometimes point out things he hasn’t leaned yet (“see that, oo makes the oooo sound”) and sometimes I just read the words he doesn’t know yet. The disadvantage here is that he doesn’t feel like he “read a WHOLE book all by MYSELF!”. The advantage is that we can read a lot better books. For us, it works well to mix it up. We read some of the leveled readers and some of the dull early readers that he can read alone and some of the harder but more fun books.
Somehow I missed Elephant and Piggie when John was at this stage. I’m not sure how that happened but we’re making up for it now. David loves these because they are funny. He can read a good amount on his own but does need help. I like them. Ruth likes them and frequently requests them to be read to her. It’s a complete win in our house. Other series that work well for this team reading approach are Little Bear, Frog and Toad and Henry and Mudge. All are much much better than “the cat sat on the mat.”
Stop by Hope is the Word for more Read Aloud Thursday!