Carefully selected books for beginning readers can increase confidence and produce success.
Are Phonics Books or Authentic Text Books Better For Beginning Readers?
Phonics Books Can Be Good and Not Good for Beginner Readers
Good: Reading phonics books gives a child practice paying attention to letter to sound relationships. The repeated phonics rules and patterns in phonics books give a child practice sounding out words. A child learns to pay attention to letter to sound relationships.
Not Good: However, if phonics books are the only books a child is given to read, there is a danger of a child becoming a word caller. Word callers are so interested in sounding out a word that they forget to think about the story. Some phonics books use unusual words or sentence structure to include similar sounds or phonics rules in one short story. When stories don't sound like how a person talks, many children aren't able to understand and enjoy the story. They become word callers, not readers.
Authentic Text Early Reader Books Can Be Good and Not Good For Beginner Readers
Good: Authentic Text or whole language books are stories written without attention to repeated phonics rules and patterns. Whole language books for early readers have simple language and are easy enough for a child to read most words. Many children learn a few sight words and can use sight word knowledge to help read these stories. There are strong picture clues and a flow of language that helps a child figure out difficult words. Many times a child is able to guess at a word. Children who read these stories are exposed to more words and real language.
Not Good: The problem with too many whole language books is that some children begin to rely on guessing at words, knowing words by sight, and ignoring letters instead of sounding out words. As a child gets older, books stop having as many picture clues. Books at higher levels have more and more words. Children can only memorize so many words before they need to start reading. Remembering a memorized word and reading a word using letter sounds requires a different part of the brain. Children are not able to pay attention to the story and keep switching back and forth. Some children figure out phonics and sounding out words without specific teaching or phonics books, but others don't. If you know a child who is guessing more than reading, please check out this page.
My favorite phonics based books are in a series written by Nora Gaydos called Now I'm Reading! Here's a video of my daughter reading a book from Now I'm Reading! On the Go Level 3 Each set has 10 books that stay neatly organized in the plastic sleeves of a hardcover case with a magnetic closure. Books can be removed and replaced easily.
Sometimes you can find the Now I'm Reading series books on Amazon for a good price. If you can't find them on Amazon, check out this link.
Children will love to practice their phonics knowledge, learn new sight words, and use picture clues in these fun books with repeated language.
Brand New Readers Blue Set
Brand New Readers Purple Set
Brand New Readers Red Set - Here's another post I wrote with free phonogram flashcards and a link to view an entire book from the Brand New Readers Red Set.
I've collected a few favorite Scholastic Level 1 Books here. Once you find my selection of Scholastic Level 1 books, you can search for more with the similar items section. Scholastic leveled books meet the needs of beginning readers. There are strong picture clues and many contain rhyme and spelling patterns.
Check out my Amazon Store for other recommended beginning reader books.
Starfall has free phonics books online with animations if you click on some of the pictures.
You can find information about The Reading Teacher and animated online versions of the systematic phonics book series I See Sam here.
Go to your local library and ask a librarian for help choosing books.