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Books for Beginning Readers

A List Compiled by Jessie Wise, author of The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading

(1) Phonetic or Decodable Readers

These readers contain no or very few sight words. Most of the words in the text can be sounded out.

Bob Books

Little Books and Little Owl Bowls

Modern Curriculum Press Phonics Practice Readers

Books to Remember series

J & J Language Readers, Levels 1, 2, & 3.

(2) “Partly phonetic” easy readers

These have lots of repetition and only a few words on a page. Some of these use non-phonetic sight words repeatedly. (The Carrot Seed—“It won’t come up.” and Fox Trot—“What’s that?”)

(3) “Easy Readers”

This category is confusing because most of these books are geared to whole language teaching and not to phonetic instruction.

They have just a few words on the page, but a beginning reader cannot read some of these books unless they memorize whole words. If there are many sight words or words the child has not yet encountered in his phonics instruction, I suggest you either read these books TO your child, pointing to the pictures OR wait until the child has been taught to read phonetically.

Some of these series are:

Road to Reading. Mile 1, Mile 2, etc. (Golden Books)

Early Step into Reading

Dr. Seuss and P. D. Eastman books

Hello Reader. Level 1, Level 2, etc.

An I Can Read Book. Level 1, Level 2, etc.

You will notice that many of these “early-reading” library books use non-phonetic sight words to make the story line flow. After your child has the habit of sounding out phonetically regular words, you can point out to your child which words to sound out and which words just have to be known by sight. When you are reading together, just tell the child the sight words, and then have him continue reading the story sounding out the phonetically regular words.

(4) Books that are not too difficult for the student who has finished a phonics program.

(From Straight Talk About Reading by Louisa Moats)

First-Stage Beginning Reader

Rex and Lilly

Go, Dog Go!

Cat Games

Harry Goes to Fun Land

A New House for Mole and Mouse

Second-Stage Beginning Reader

Who’s Afraid of the Dark?

Ice-Cold Birthday

Five Silly Fishermen

What a Hungry Puppy

Danny and the Dinosaur

Sammy and the Seal

Be Ready at Eight

The Cat in the Hat

Green Eggs and Ham

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

The Sunset Pond

Third-Stage Beginning Reader

The Case of the Hungry Stranger

The Toady and Dr. Miracle

Bedtime for Frances

Down on the Funny Farm

Nate the Great

Harry and the Lady Next Door

Miss Nelson is Missing

The Doorbell Rang

Curious George

Sheep in a Jeep (all of the Sheep books)

Ira Sleeps Over

(These suggestions are from Reading Reflex)

Aesop’s Fables

Kipling’s Just So Stories

American Tall Tales