This week I have a trio of books for introducing and reinforcing early reading skills!
Rocket’s Mighty Words by Tad Hills (Schwartz & Wade; ages 2-5)
Warm, engaging art is paired with bold text labels in this oversized board book. Sturdy construction makes it suitable for even the youngest child to enjoy independently while irresistible illustrations make it a frequent selection for story time. Repeated readings and intuitive imagery create early sight word recognition (e.g. up, out) leading to enthusiasm for reading and increased reader confidence. The incorporation of blackboard pages (depicting a blackboard filled with a variety of simple images and labels) allows for introduction of a broad variety of words that include both simple and blended letter sounds (e.g. gr-, sw-, fr-). The book closes with a spread of notecards depicting a variety of sight words that are more difficult to illustrate, such as “since” and “were.”
Overall, this is an excellent resource for introducing vocabulary to babies and early reading skills as kids grow. I watch my children return to this book time and again to practice reading independently, and my daughter nearly burst with pride the first time she could truly read each of the words to me. It would be a great addition to any classroom or home for young children.
ABC See, Hear, Do: Learn to Read 55 Words by Stefanie Hohl (Chou Publications; ages 1-6) is the first in a series of books that includes a second volume, coloring book and tracing book featuring a teaching method designed to build early reading skills by integrating auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles.
Clear guidance on how to best utilize the book is presented at the beginning in a “How to use this book” page. Letters are then introduced in sets of four, which are followed by a series of three-letter words that incorporate the preceding letters. Each letter is represented in its upper and lower-case form accompanied by an illustration featuring its sound and an action that reinforces the letter sound (e.g. P…p…P, Porcupine, open and close your hands like they are popping). All 26 letters are represented, and a total of 55 words are featured in this volume. Volume 2 then features blended beginning sounds and an additional 51 words.
Overall, this book creates a unique and fun way to introduce reading skills that quickly builds reader confidence. My kids love doing the motions, and acting out each letter invariably leads to loads of giggles. I’m sure there are many kids who would respond well to this innovative approach!
In How to Teach a Slug to Read by Susan Pearson, illustrated by David Slonim (Two Lions; ages 4-7), a little boy gives Mother Slug ten pieces of sage advice about how to teach Little Slug to read.
Presented as a series of rules, the boy advises things that emphasize reader interest, repetition, and visual association of sounds and printed words (e.g. labeling his favorite things, re-reading favorite books, sounding words out together). Each recommendation is straightforward and easily implemented in a classroom or home setting. He also notes that learning to read takes time and practice. Following this sequence of rules, we see Little Slug proudly reading books to his mom and friends at story hour. A final note about the power of reading to learn new things and explore the world closes the book.
Bright, cheerful illustrations with references to familiar books and poems makes this an engaging read for young kids. Mine think the premise of teaching a slug to read is hilarious, and they love the reference to beloved books (e.g. Go Slug, Go!). With a collaborative tone and concrete guidance, this is a great book for parents of young kids embarking on the journey toward reading.