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.)

Episode 105
Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea
Little Bear Boxed Set: Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home, and Little Bear’s Visit
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)
The Princess in Black
Henry And Mudge First Book
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))
Uncle Elephant: Reading 2
Great Day for Up (Bright & Early Books(R))
The Best Nest
Run, Bug, Run!
Chasing Henry
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
Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends (A Mouse and Mole Story)
Heirloom Antics
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)
The Voyage
An Elephant & Piggie Biggie! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
Ten Apples Up On Top!
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (I Can Read It All by Myself)
The Runt Pig
Cobweb the Cat
What Am I?
Queen Bee
Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury: 4 Complete Stories in 1 Volume! (I Can Read Level 2)

Want this list in printable form? Pop your email into the box below:

Links from this episode:

  • Series Books That Will Turn Your Struggling Reader Into a Voracious One (this is the list you want if your child is beyond the book recommendations in the post you’re reading now)
  • All About Reading
  • Curious about the idea that it doesn’t matter all that much when your child learns to read? Start here.
  • Get the FREE booklist and more – go to or text BOOKS to 345345
  • Get an invitation for RAR Membership

    More free resources and booklists

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If you’re looking for a solid program to teach your kids to read, All About Reading is my very favorite:

All About Reading

Even if you don’t use the whole program, the readers are excellent. You can purchase them by going to All About Reading, clicking on the appropriate level for your child, and then choosing “Individual products.”

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.”

Get the printable booklist

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