Thursday, February 20, 2014

Favourite Books for Beginning Readers

I have not shared any of our reading lessons lately. There's a reason for that: I'm taking a break. I know it might seem crazy, now that SA has actually taken off with reading. The thing is, I think reading real books is doing as much for his reading ability as my lessons were. Each new book has a combination of words he already can read confidently and new words to learn. The new words are relatively easy to figure out in the context of the stories, and I see him reading these same new words elsewhere without any problem (He's not guessing and forgetting.). I do a bit of casual phonics teaching here and there as I notice he needs it (Peggy Kaye's Games for Reading are great for this), but my main method right now is just making sure he reads a book every day, whether it's a new one or one he's read before.

The books we use are a combination of books I already have and books I borrow from the library. I have not invested in readers (though I have nothing against them, as long as they're interesting.). Here are some of SA's favourites from the last month and a half:

A simple phonics reader, yes, but Dr. Seuss gives it rhythm and rhyme. SA often just picks this up and reads it for fun.

This book has a lot of repetition, which is great when you're building confidence in reading. The illustrations ensure that young readers do not get bored with the simple words.

The great thing about this little book is that it has three short stories, so it's not as intimidating as one long story. And of course Richard Scarry has a sense of humour that really appeals to children.

I've got to admit it, this is my favourite. But it works for SA, too. Other than the word Mother, almost all of the words in this book are simple, one-syllable words.

We have an out-of-print version called The Early Bird. The fun thing about this one is that we have a recording of my husband Stephen reading this book when he was four or five. It's too bad that even our old version has been abridged and is slightly different than the version Stephen read back in the early '80s. Once again, Richard Scarry always manages to make my children smile...Lowly Worm singing "O Sole Mio" in his bath in the sink is just so funny for them.

I'm sure I don't need to elaborate on these two. They were old favourites long before SA began to read. I've found that SA is much more likely to try to read familiar books. In the old days I might have questioned whether "reading" from memory is valuable (as opposed to sounding out every word), but I've found it one of the best, most confidence building practices in learning to read. Every time he looks at those words and says them aloud, he's reinforcing them in his mind.

Another old favourite. In fact, SA loved it when I read this to him when he was only six months old. (Honestly!) And now he can read it himself. Time flies... (sigh)

Every time SA reads a new book, we add it to his "I Can Read it All By Myself" ladder on the wall. We've filled one ladder and had to extend it on a new paper. He seems to find this quite motivating.

How about you? Are there books your beginning readers really enjoy? I'd love to hear of new ones I can look up at my library to try with SA!