Books for Your Earliest Readers

Books for Teaching Word Families: As we’ve discussed in the Articles on Word Families, word families are a great way to get your students started reading successfully as they learn spelling patterns in our language.

Below are a few of my favorite books that allow students to begin reading on a positive note:

Some of Dr. Seuss’ Best Books for Early Readers:
Hop on Pop
Green Eggs and Ham
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish
The Cat in the Hat

After forty years, these books are still absolutely delightful. Most of the books I discuss on this page don’t flow in a musical, natural way, but most of Dr. Seuss’ books are to the contrary, a pleasure to read over and over.

Phonics Box Sets
Sponge Bob
Scooby Doo
Dora the Explorer
Scholastic has done a fine job of creating books that tell a story while teaching word families with most of these books.

Bob Books
Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers
Bob Books, Set 2: Advancing Beginners
Bob Books, Set 3: Word Families
I’m not crazy about these books—the illustrations and flow of language are less than artistic. But I do use them and recommend them.

It’s important for students to have lots of easy books that they can finish quickly, and these books fit the bill perfectly. Students can feel pride as they progress quickly from book number one to book number two, to number three, and so on. These books are affordable, which is an important consideration in a program that uses many books briefly before moving on to others.

Reproducible Books
Decodable Little Books: 20 Reproducible Little Books for Short Vowel Sounds
As I’ve stated above, a good reading program can use lots of inexpensive books. These fit the bill while they do a good job of teaching word families. Reproducible books also have the advantage that children may color them and keep them at home. More reproducible books can be found on Books on a Budget.

Books that Use Alliteration See our articles on Using Alliterative Songs to Teach Letter Sounds and Books With Rhyme, Alliteration, and Other Word Play. The books suggested by Nancy Schimmel and Fran Avni in the these articles are fun for both children and adults.

Other Picture-Song Storybooks
Picture-Song Storybooks I Including Expository, Traditional, and Raffi Songs
Picture-Song Storybooks II Including Pop-Up Books and Motown Songs
Picture-Song Storybooks III Songs for Babies and Toddlers

Books that are just plain fun and easy to read:
Inside Outside Upside Down by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain
Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman
A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer
The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
No, David! by David Shannon
Books like these are easy to read because there are few words on each page and there’s a great deal of repetition. Many other books also have these qualities, and I encourage you to use them liberally.