My beginning readers are children who have been raised on a wide variety of literature, from Dora the Explorer books (which do not really count as literature) to classics like Heidi and everything in between. As they have begun learning to read one thing I have tried to find are beautiful books on their level. I’m sorry, I’ve seen those beginning readers where the whole story is 3 or 4 words repeated in different combinations with varying punctuation. You know, ones that say:
A cat sat.
Cat on mat.
My children very quickly made it clear that those insipid readers were not worth their time and effort. I heartily agreed. On the other end of the spectrum you find beginning readers that include a whole list of ‘sight words’, words the child is simply expected to memorize by sight so they can read a story. Most of these sight words are, in fact, decodable, once you learn the spelling rules, but with a beginning reader I want to find beautiful stories that do not depend on a list of sight words outside the child’s reading level. Imagine my excitement two years ago when I discovered the readers put out by All About Learning Press, publishers of the All About Spelling curriculum.
We own all the readers available at this point. They are beautiful! The illustrations tell an often funny story, one that goes beyond the beginning reader text. Even at this very early level a story is not limited to 3-5 words repeated over and over. Currently there are 3 readers for level 1 and two available for level 2.
Our most recent purchase is the Run, Bug, Run! reader. In the 157 pages the only words that were not ‘short vowels’, and therefore completely decodable for my beginning readers, were “the” and “A”. A quick talk about open syllables and closed syllables explained why the vowels had long sounds. Here is a peek at a page from this book: My 5 and 6 year old both love these readers. Even the 3 year old is beginning the sound out letters from this reader.
Here is a picture from one of the level 2 readers, The Queen Bee. As you can see, the artwork is simply beautiful, and the stories are original and sweet. In this book the facing page often has a few short paragraphs of text, combined with this text above the illustration. (You can read the rest of this storyin the sample HERE to see more.)
Every family has different tastes in reading material. Finding books for beginning readers can often be frustrating. If you are looking for beautiful books for a beginning reader be sure to check out the samples for each book in this series!
Tristan is the happily homeschooling mother to 6 blessings age 9, 6, 5, 3, 1, and 2 months old. You can drop in and visit anytime over at her blog, Our Busy Homeschool.