Do you remember struggling through early reader books back when you were learning to read? Was it all Dick and Jane? Was it … boring?

Think about this: nobody asks you now, as a grownup, how old you were when you became a fluent reader. Know why?

Because nobody cares.

What age your child is when s/he learns to read fluently (whether at age 4, or 7, or 9, or even older) doesn’t bear on their ability to read well later on. Early readers are not consistently better readers when they are adults.

What does matter, though, (and it matters a LOT) is that your child’s thirst and desire for stories is not hampered by the reading process.

We want our kids– even through the slog of learning to read (and yes, it can be a slog for a whole lot of us)– to know that reading is one of life’s sweetest delights.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • why reading aloud is critical at this stage of the game
  • why your kids need to read words – lots and lots of words! – as they are learning to read (and how to help them get that)
  • my suggestions for books that your kids will truly enjoy, and that will help you build warm memories as your child learns to love reading

Helping our kids become independent readers is a hugely important job for most of us– and we want to do it well! If you have an early reader in your life, don’t miss this episode.

Click the play button below:

Listener Guide

Use the time stamps below to skip to any part of the podcast:

  • 2:41 What are the stages of reading development?
  • 4:48 It’s ALL OK (no really. It is.)
  • 7:14 Books for kids ‘in the process’
  • 8:46 You need options
  • 12:40 Get the list
  • 13:50 Readers by All About Reading
  • 19:16 Early/easy reader books + Cynthia Rylant
  • 22:14 Another favorite author/illustrator
  • 24:08 Arnold Lobel – a master!
  • 26:02 Little Bear
  • 27:10 Mouse and Mole, Ling and Ting, and Frances
  • 29:15 Fox and Crow, Inch and Roly
  • 30:00 Mo Willems and reading from memory
  • 31:12 Classics!
  • 33:01 Let the kids speak

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Books from this episode:

(All links are Amazon affiliate links.)

Early Readers

Scroll down to see clickable book covers for every title on this list.

Do you remember struggling through early reader books back when you were learning to read? Was it all Dick and Jane? Was it … boring?

Here are our best picks for the young reader that inspire curiosity, creativity, and delight.

Listen to our podcast episode to learn more about how to foster a love of books in your little ones. 

Inch and Roly Make a Wish
Fox and Crow Are Not Friends (Step into Reading)
Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same! (Passport to Reading Level 3)
The Frog and Toad Collection Box Set (I Can Read Level 2)
Frog and Toad Are Friends (Frog and Toad I Can Read Stories Book 1)
Strega Nona and Her Tomatoes (A Strega Nona Book)
Strega Nona and the Twins (A Strega Nona Book)
Go, Dog. Go! (Big Bright & Early Board Book)
Are You My Mother? (Bright & Early Board Books(TM))
The Princess in Black
Henry And Mudge First Book
Poppleton
The Andy & Sandy Collection: When Andy Met Sandy; Andy & Sandy’s Anything Adventure; Andy & Sandy and the First Snow; Andy & Sandy and the Big Talent Show (An Andy & Sandy Book)
Owl at Home (I Can Read Level 2)
Mouse Tales (I Can Read Level 2)
Mouse Soup
Uncle Elephant: Reading 2
Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends (A Mouse and Mole Story)
Ling & Ting Share a Birthday (Passport to Reading, Level 3: Ling & Ting)
Ling & Ting: Twice as Silly (Passport to Reading, Level 3)
Bread and Jam for Frances (I Can Read Level 2)
There is a Bird on Your Head! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
Elephants Cannot Dance! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
An Elephant & Piggie Biggie! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
Great Day for Up (Bright & Early Books(R))
Ten Apples Up On Top!
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (I Can Read It All by Myself)
The Best Nest
Dash Into Learning, Reading Set 1
Henry and Mudge Set 1
Dodsworth in London
Dodsworth in New York
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog
Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury: 4 Complete Stories in 1 Volume! (I Can Read Level 2)
Hi, Jack!
Garden Day!
Knight Owls
Jump (I Like to Read)
The Big Blue Book of Beginner Books
The Big Purple Book of Beginner Books
The Big Orange Book of Beginner Books
The Big Aqua Book of Beginner Books
Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea
Little Bear Boxed Set: Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home, and Little Bear’s Visit
Run, Bug, Run!
The Runt Pig
Cobweb the Cat
What Am I?
Chasing Henry
Shipwreck!
Heirloom Antics
The Voyage
Queen Bee

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Teaching your child to read

If you’re looking for a solid program to teach your kids to read, I recommend either All About Reading or Logic of English. Just peek at both and choose the one that looks more appealing to you (they are equally effective).

If your child is struggling to learn to read, be sure to listen to our episode on dyslexia. Dyslexia doesn’t always present itself the way we expect, and the good news is: there are tools you can use to help your dyslexic students thrive!

In fact, many dyslexics go one to be some of the biggest world changers.

Quotes to remember:

When your child is just learning to read, every time they come to the page and they’re sounding out words it’s hard. It’s like scaling a mountain for them, intellectually. So if they get a few times where they get to come to the page and know what it says without having to do all the hard work, that feels good, they feel like a reader, and those are experiences we want to give our kids.

“When kids are just learning to read or they’re just becoming more fluent and confident readers they’re actually at a critical part of their learning to love reading journey.

“We need to make sure we’re spending more time reading aloud to our kids than we are doing those ‘how to’ read sessions.”