Do you have an emergent reader at home? We’ve got you covered!
The door has opened and you are beginning a brand new journey with your budding bookworm. Here is your ultimate guide to books for emerging readers.
They were each tucked into their beds, the day outside was fading to darkness, and both had their blankets snuggled up next to their cheeks. My big one spoke slowly, his voice unsteady, but his excitement was palpable. The sparkle in his eyes was brighter than any night light I could have bought for their dim room. My emerging reader read his little brother an entire book. I helped a bit. But still. He READ.
He was so proud of himself…
and I was so floored. After all, it seemed like just yesterday we were snuggled on the glider, his tiny hand wrapped around my pinky finger. The next day, I raced to my favorite indie bookshop and scoured the selection of books for emerging readers.
By way of background, I’m a reader. I’m a writer.
I’m a children’s librarian, for goodness sake.
But even with my background, I felt overwhelmed. Beginning Readers! Easy Readers! Books for Pre-readers! I Can Read! Step Into Reading! Level One Books! Level One Before the Real Level One! Easy Books that are Even Easier than the Easiest of the Easy Books for New Readers!
I had to make sense of all of these emerging reader books for my kindergartener, and if it was tricky for me to navigate, I couldn’t imagine how frustrated a parent without my background in children’s literature would feel. So I did what any good librarian would do. I bought a bunch of books, went to the library and got even more books, and then my boy and I read and read and read.
Is my kiddo truly reading? And if so, how do I know which books to get for my emergent reader?
First things first. If you have an emerging reader in your house, CONGRATULATIONS! There is nothing quite as magical as watching your child begin to read on his own. You’ll know whether your little one is ready to begin reading — and will benefit from early readers — if he is doing the following:
- recognizing all the letters of the alphabet, both upper and lowercase,
- exhibiting phonological awareness, such as the ability to identify rhyming words or words that begin with the same initial sounds,
- learning and mastering high frequency or “sight” words,
- beginning to decode unknown words, often through chunking the text (breaking words up into smaller components),
- building their fluency to make their reading smoother and less robotic, and
- self-correcting when the word they are reading doesn’t make sense.
What type of books should you look for? The best books for emerging readers include large fonts, short sentences, lots of repetition, and illustrations that provide supportive clues. Early readers contain not only sight words, but also words that can be decoded easily using the rules of phonics and “chunking” strategies (ie., breaking words up into smaller components.)
If you think your child is ready, check out some of the emerging reader books we love!
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Suggested Grade Level: Pre-K – 3rd