Is your little one able to name the letters of the alphabet and their sounds? Do they understand what a word is? Are they starting to make an effort to sound out words when they see them? Then they might be ready to start learning to read! Congratulations!
Your friendly neighborhood Frisco Public Library has a whole section of books to get your child started reading called Beginning Readers. Many of these books are leveled 1-4 with some pre-reading and phonics books. What can make it complicated is that all publishers have different standards for how difficult their levels are. A level 1 book from one publisher may look the same as a level 3 book from another. One way to tell if a book is right for your child is the Five Finger Rule. Open a book to any page and hold up a finger for each word your child doesn’t know. Only 0-1 unknown words is too easy, 2-3 words is just right, 3-4 words is a challenging read, and 5+ may be too hard.
Here are a few publishers/levels that are great for those just starting to read. To make them easy to spot on the shelf, I’ve noted what color their spines are and included a picture:
- Ready-to-Read Pre-Level 1 (these have light blue spines)
- Ready-to-Read Ready to Go! (these have purple spines)
- My First I Can Read (these have yellow spines)
- Green Light Readers Level 1 (these have red spines)
- Penguin Young Readers Level 1 (these have orange spines)
When looking through beginning readers for your beginner, things you ought to look for include:
- Simple one- and two-syllable words
- Short, simple sentences
- Words repeated often
- A lot of white space and pictures
- Emphasis on parts of words and word sounds (phonics books)
- Rhyming words
Above is a great example of a first step, as the pages include short words and sentences that repeat themselves with a lot of space and pictures. This will help your new reader retain new words learned, build confidence, and keep them interested.
Above is a book in which your child can see how different letters and word sounds combine to make new words. This will help them understand what makes up a word.
Above is an example of a book that emphasizes rhyming words. Books like this will help your child learn different word sounds and understand what makes words similar and different.
Here’s a list of books that are perfect for your beginners: