One of the most surprisingly tough parenting moments for me was when my oldest was just learning how to read. I LOVE to read. I really, really love to read. And I was thrilled that my son was reaching the point where he would soon be able to read, too! From infancy, I had read aloud to him (I may or may not have even read to him once or twice when I was still pregnant…) and books were commonplace in our home and in his room. He already loved books in general, loved being read to, and loved listening to audiobooks, so I couldn’t wait for him to actually learn how to read. I so wanted to share my joy of reading with him!
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So, what happened? Was it magical and wonderful as I watched reading “click” for him? No. Not at all. He refused to read for me. I whipped out my “former teacher” tools and tried different strategies: I would read a page, he would read a page, I would read the page and ask him to find a certain word on the page,…but I was met with much resistance. He wrote letters and copied words from books into little spiral notebooks and practiced and practiced his writing. I suspected he was learning how to read, but he wouldn’t read out loud. Over the course of several months of silence (not actually silent, but it felt that way), he did go from not reading to reading. It was magical that he had broken the code, but not a happy magic, since he was so resistant to let me be a part of it. I was a teacher and my son refused to read with me!
Once he knew how to read, he would read aloud, but it was reluctant. I still don’t know if it was because he just didn’t like to read aloud, if he didn’t want to read until he had it “right,” or if it was because he didn’t like the choices of books I was providing for him. Personally, I think that last one was a huge part of it. But I had a really hard time finding engaging, yet very easy books for him to read. Most books we tried were actually kind of lame, and I could see why he didn’t enjoy reading them very much and wouldn’t want to read them aloud. I remember wandering through the library shelves, feeling helpless. It was ridiculous that it was this hard! I almost had to laugh about it, as I was in school studying to be a school librarian!
Since then, I have been on a mission to find quality very early reading books to recommend to those with little ones who are just learning to read but don’t want to read uninteresting, bland early readers like so much of what is available.
7 Quality Books for Early Readers to Read!
The Bob books, by Bobby Lynn Maslen
(I highly recommend this series. It starts with recognizing and identifying letters, and then slowly builds skill on top of skill until the child is reading! It is such a boost of confidence for a little one to hold a book in his or her hand and be able to read it! We used the alphabet set, and then sets 1, 2, and 3 with my younger son and they worked really well.)
I Like Bugs, by Margaret Wise Brown
Hi! Fly Guy, by Todd Arnold (and other Fly Guy books)
Go, Dog. Go!, by P.D.Eastman
The Bus for Us, by Suzanne Bloom
Uh-Oh, Max, by Jon Scieszka (and other Trucktown books)
We Are in a Book! by Mo Willems (and other Elephant and Piggie books)
Regardless of the process, my oldest became a good reader and then a great reader, and now voraciously devours books. My younger son, who was a much more willing participant in the whole learning to read experience, started with Bob books and loves to read as well—especially non-fiction books!
So, all’s well that ends well. I wish the same for your early reader!