Are you and your child ready to take your first steps into the exciting and magical world of reading? Learning to read is very much a process; as your child’s coach and teacher, he or she will need your encouragement and patience. Here are some thoughts as you and your child embark on your amazing adventure.
Signs of reading readiness
There is no specific age when your child will be ready to start reading. Because young children learn so much at a rapid rate, you may not be aware of how much they already know. Some children grasp reading concepts and are able to sound out simple words as early as age 3; others may not start until age 5 or 6.
Answers to the questions below can help determine where your child is in terms of reading readiness:
- Does your child know the alphabet?
- Can she or he recognize most of the letters (including both uppercase and lowercase letters?)
- Can your child recognize letters on everyday objects such as S T O P on a stop sign?
- Does your child know that letters are associated with sounds and can he or she demonstrate a fair number of those sounds?
- Can your child spell his or her own name?
If your answer is ‘yes’ to most of these questions, we recommend that you begin with Bob Books Set 1 • Beginning Readers. If your child is interested, pays attention, interacts with the book, and seems to have an idea of what you mean, then you are on your way to reading. If your child is wiggly, disruptive or sad, they may not be ready. Put the books away for a few months and try again later. Children learn at different rates. For a happy reading experience, it is important to find your child’s comfort level.
How do Bob Books work?
Bob Books introduce letters and words gradually so that children have success from the start. When children feel good from the first book, they are confident and eager to try more. Bob Books start with consistent short vowels and very short words to they are easy to sound out. New letters and words are introduced gradually, so that a child can soon say, “I read the whole book!”®
Each Bob Books set builds upon the previous set, with enough repetition that reading becomes comfortable and easy, with new material added to keep a the child interested. The stories contain silly and mischievous characters and simple plotlines that make children giggle. The illustrations are intentionally simple and childlike. The books themselves are sized perfectly for little hands. Numbering the books and boxes creates a sense of progress and accomplishment for your child.
More information about Sets 1-5:
Bob Books Set 1 • Beginning Readers contains twelve little books. With just four letters in the first book, your child can easily sound out all the words (Mat, Sam, sat etc.). New sounds and letters are added gradually until all the letters of the alphabet have been introduced (except Q).
Next, Bob Books Set 2 • Advancing Readers continues with three-letter words and consistent vowel sounds in slightly longer stories. Again, repetition is used throughout as a way to build skill and confidence.
Bob Books Set 3 • Word Families introduces consonant blends, endings, and a few sight words, to mix things up and advance reading skills. The use of word families help make longer stories more manageable.
Once you’ve found that your child has mastered Sets 1-3, longer books and more complex words will continue to engage and challenge your young reader in Bob Books Set 4 • Complex Words. New word blends, more sight words and longer words advance their skills, while sound repetition keeps reading easy.
The final set in the series, Bob Books Set 5 • Long Vowels introduces the important new skills of long vowels and the magical silent E. Reading vocabularies will grow quickly as your child begins to master the longer stories. Upon completion of Bob Books Set 5, your emerging reader is now ready to move onto chapter books!
What if my child isn’t ready?
Before reading, children need foundation skills: knowing shapes, recognizing patterns, sorting and learning how to anticipate sequences of events. Strengthening these key building-block skills will make your child’s steps into reading easier and more fun. My First Bob Books™ were written to enhance your child’s first reading discoveries. Whereas Sets 1-5 are intended for your child to read to you, My First Bob Books are for you to read to your child. My First Bob Books are for children, especially toddlers and young preschool-age children, who are just beginning to understand shapes, letters and sounds. Parent guides offer additional activities, games and tips designed to support new concepts and empower your emerging readers.
We wish your young learner much success and happiness as he or she enters the great adventure of reading.
Lynn Maslen Kertell
Managing Partner and Author, Bob Books Publications, LLC