On my Learning to Read: Celebrating Success post, Bobbie asked about the Bob Books, a series of books for beginning readers that we use. So I thought I’d do a quick review.
The Bob Books are these short little books, that come in sets of 12, that incrementally build on each other. The very first book, covers just four sounds (M, A, S, T) and on sight word (on), and each book builds from there.
The stories are so short and so doable for a beginning reader that they instantly give the child a sense of success. They’ve read an entire book!
It’s an incredible thing to be able celebrate, and the beauty of the Bob Books is that they give that opportunity to succeed early and often.
The books themselves are not a reading program and should not be used on their own. Every child needs help learning the phonemic sounds, phonological sound combinations, and sight words of the English language. What the Bob Books give are an opportunity to practice reading in a book format very quickly, building on that sense of success.
Personally I’ve looked at and tested a LOT of different reading materials and tools over the last 10 years, as I’ve sought materials to help my own children learn to read, and I have to say that the Bob Books are crucial element to our reading program, especially at that early reader stage.
Even Z feels success with these books (he’s able to read the first few, and that knowledge that he can read at least some books, helps build his confidence and motivation for further reading).
Here’s an example of what you’ll find in a Bob Book. I grabbed the third book from the first set off our shelf. It’s title is “Dot”.
As you’d expect the book is about Dot. The whole book uses 9 words total to tell the story of Dot, her dog and cat, and a hat. So there’s a lot of repetition of common words, using sounds the child already knows.
At the beginning of each book is a list of the sounds that are covered in the book, which is helpful for determining if your child knows the sounds they need for that particular book.
Each page in the first set usually only has one sentence, but I have noticed that towards the end of each book, there might be a page that has one or more. So the child is feeling confident on each page, and has read the words in the book a few times before they get to a page with more words, like this:
As you can see the pictures in the book are simple, and not overwhelming, which for my kids is very important. When they are learning a new skill, they do much better on pages that are simple and in black and white, so this works perfectly for us.
I borrowed my first set for K, when she was just beginning her learning to read journey, as I always like to test something before buying it. Since then I of course have purchased my own copies (and have lent them out a few times too) of all three sets. J used these in early in his learning to read journey, as has Little E.
Z of course is still working through the first few books, but that’s Z and with his dsylexia these books play an important role in his feeling successful in his efforts.
Again, these are not a complete program, but rather one (essential) tool in your learning to read tool box. I do use other readers as well, but these are the first that my children use in their journey.
If you don’t already have access to the Bob Books, I recommend either borrowing a copy from a friend or fellow homeschooler, looking for a used copy (if you can find them), or grabbing a set on sale. (Today as I write this I see Amazon has a great price on them, so you might check there as well)
Hope this helps!
P.S. Thanks Bobbie (Clumsy Crafter) for asking the question!
P.S. S. Here are a few more of the resources we use for Learning to Read: