Category Archives: Early Reader Reviews

Emerging Readers

Among the hardest things to find in the library is a really good book for the earliest emerging reader. An ideal book would have just a few words on each page, easy words that can be sounded out, that repeat, that are reflected in the pictures on the page. They would feature topics that are concrete and use vocabulary that the children learning to read will already know. They will only introduce one new concept at a time, rather then overwhelming readers.

Perhaps most importantly, they will be published in hard back or library binding, and will each have its own ISBN number, so we can catalog them. This is because I know that there are lots of books put out for emerging readers in kits that are used by teachers and schools. Typically these are a few pages that frequently are stapled together and come as part of a kit where children build from the bottom up. Unfortunately, we do not have the capability to circulate these items. If we buy a kit with many books, they all have to go out together, which means they get put into an unattractive case and never go out at all. Now we don’t buy them at all.

So what is there for the emerging reader? Most publishers put out a level one reader, but that could mean anything—usually these books are too difficult for the beginners. Occasionally I find a pre-level one book, or a my first book, but these are few and far between. Here are a few examples of books suitable for the earliest reader:

Puppy Mudge Finds a Friend (Puppy Mudge Ready-to-Read)Puppy Mudge books by Cynthia Rylant are some of the most simple out there, and I wish there were more!

Hello, Freight Train! (Scholastic Reader, Level 1) Hello Freight Train is one of three books all very simple, all on transportation, which is one of those high appeal topics. The downside is these are flimsy paperbacks.

Inside Outside Upside Down (Bright & Early Books(R)) Inside, Outside, Upside Down, by the Berenstains. The very early Berenstain bear books were early readers that are very simple, just a few words to tell the story.

See Pip Point (Ready-to-Read. Pre-Level 1) There are a handful of Otto books, most out of print, but all good for emerging readers.

I’d love suggestions for other good very early reader books or series. We did order the Bob books that were printed together, but I’m always looking for more books!