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Learning to read is such an exciting time! One of the best ways to encourage reading skills is to introduce your early readers to great books.
When your child is interested in the material, it’s no longer a struggle to get him to read. It makes sense. Were there books you had to read that you hated in school? I know I had a couple!
Disliked books were SO MUCH HARDER to get through.
So if your child is fighting reading, it could be that you haven’t stumbled upon anything yet that is of interest. Keep trying new books, because you never know when you’ll come across the one that unlocks the love of reading for your child.
Here are 18 great books that I’ve used with beginning readers. They represent a variety of interests and difficulty level, because I’ve learned that children will stretch their reading ability if they’re engaged in the book. These all fall in the early reader (grades K-2) category though.
All of the links in this post will take you to the book on Amazon. They are affiliate links, which means I’ll get a small percentage for referring you, at no extra cost to you.
1. Fix It Duck
My mom, a former kindergarten teacher, introduced us to this book. Duck likes to fix things. Except, he’s not always very good at it. Like when he decides to use a hammer to fix a window.
It’s a fun book–you just should be sure to keep a close eye on your hammers after reading it! 😀 Because two of my sons thought they should try to act out that part of the book!
2. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
We love the pigeon books by Mo Willems! While some of the words will be a challenge for a young reader, the majority of the text will be easy. That makes it a great book to read together!
You read the challenge words and your child can read the rest. And don’t be surprised if this book leads to a writing session. My kids always want to create their own pigeon book after reading this one.
3. I Like Bugs!
Do any of your kids like bugs? My early readers all do. They’re always catching grasshoppers, making habitats for worms and keeping me informed of how many bugs they’ve found. Kind of grosses me out, but that’s alright. This book is the perfect one for bug lovers!
4. Puppy Mudge books
Henry and Mudge is a great first series for young readers. But, before they dive into those beginning chapter books, your child can fall in love with these characters in the Puppy Mudge series.
This was the series that got my very reluctant reader interested in reading finally!
5. You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You
These books have alternating colors of text. One color is for the parent to read, one for the early reader, and one color means to read the material together.
My kids love sitting and reading these. It’s a great way to model good reading at the same time as you let your child practice reading aloud!
I often have two of my kids read these together for some extra practice. They enjoy it more than just reading on their own.
6. Dr. Maggie’s Phonics Readers
These are my favorite phonetic readers. They actually tell a story that makes sense instead of just having random pages of easy to decode words. I highly recommend them as first books!
7. Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?
The repetitive pattern and beautiful pictures make this book engaging for early readers. It’s a great way to practice sight words such as do, you, and see.
There are other books in this series too, which makes for even more reading fun.
8. Go Dog, Go
This was one of my favorites as a kid. My mom hated it! Now my kids love it, and I love to hear them read it. It’s one of the first they can read aloud to me. The pictures definitely support the text, so it’s a good one to practice that skill with.
They also like to read it to Grandma, because she still doesn’t like it!
9. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Actually, any of the books in this series are fun for early readers. It’s a cause and effect story that ends up right back at the beginning. If you give a mouse a cookie, he’ll want something different. Then you’ll give him that and he’ll want something new. Until he ends up wanting a cookie again!
10. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
If you sing silly songs with your kids, you can often find matching books to go along with them. This is a fun way to practice pointing to each word as you read/sing the words.
11. Thump, Quack, Moo
The animals on Farmer Brown’s farm aren’t your typical farm animals! They’re always up to something. It’s a fun book to read with lot of words that are fun to read with expression, like THUMP!
12. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
What will the little caterpillar find to eat before he turns into a beautiful butterfly? My kids love looking at all the food as they read this book.
This is another one with great picture support. If they aren’t quite sure what a word is, they can look at the picture to see what the caterpillar ate.
13. Dragon Egg
Oh no, a dragon egg rolled out of the nest. Where will it end up? This easy reader explores a fairy tale world.
14. The Very Lazy Ladybug
This ladybug likes to sleep. But everywhere she goes, she gets woken up. It’s hard to get to each new spot, because she doesn’t know how to fly. This is a fun book, that has a few more words on each page than some of the others in this list.
15. Are You My Mother?
Another classic by P.D. Eastman, the little bird in the story doesn’t know where his mother is. He travels all around asking different characters, “Are you my mother?”
This is currently my four-year old’s favorite book. Though he’s not yet a reader, I can see him studying the words on the page as I read it to him. I’m pretty sure he’ll memorize at least parts of this one!
16. When a Bear Bakes a Cake
This fun rhyming book is perfect for early readers who can decode long vowel words. It’s great practice for reading long e words!
17. Llama Llama Mad at Mama
The little llama is so cute! He gets mad out shopping with his mom. I’m sure my kids can relate to this – we do our monthly shopping excursions and they can get a little long.
I love how patiently the mama deals with her little one. 😀
18. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Another classic, this Dr. Seuss book has all sorts of crazy characters. This book will give your child a chance to practice decoding nonsense words like Zeep and Yop.
Nonsense words actually play an important role in reading, so don’t discredit them. They help readers practice those decoding skills they’ve learned.
What Books Would You Add?
Do you recommend other books for early readers? I’d love for you to share them in the comments so I can check them out!