It’s one of my favorite phases, when that jumble of letters and spaces on a page suddenly come together, and everything clicks, and a whole new world opens up to them. And they get so proud of themselves as they learn to read, too. Suddenly, they want to read everything (side note: it’s inconvenient, but you can no longer spell things out in front of them. They’re on to you, and once you start with “I-C-E-C-R…” they start yelling, “I know where we’re going! We’re getting ice cream! Yeay! Let’s get ice cream!” and the question you were asking your husband about whether maybe you should take the kids out just became an absolute certainty. It’s a small price to pay.)
So here are some of our favorite books for new readers. They have short words and simple stories that kids can follow easily — but they still manage to be interesting, or hilariously funny, or quirky, or comforting. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with a few of these before bed to practice those new skills.
Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel — Owl’s quirks and silly predicaments are sure to make everyone giggle and come back to check on him over and over.
–It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw — the repetition and pictures give kids a few helpful hints as they read along
–Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion — a family favorite. My daughter laughs hysterically at the ending every time.
–The Little Bear series by Else-Homelund-Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak — beautiful, comforting stories about a little bear, his friends, and his mother who is always there to take care of him.
–George and Martha by James Marshall
–Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans — a classic. You’ll need to help with longer words (like appendix!), but such a fun book to read together.
–This is My Family (A Little Critter Book) by Gina and Mercer Mayer
–Down on the Farm by Merrily Kutner — fun rhymes and pictures in this book on animals going about their day on the farm