When you’re talking age with kids, they fall into distinctive patterns for what they can absorb intellectually. We’ve covered the preschoolers and picture book readers pretty well, and now, I’d like to take a look at “early readers” — the kids who are just learning to read.

Picture books will overlap here, for sure. But these kids want to do it on their own. One on the first steps in being independent is reading for themselves. Getting dressed and feeding themselves is definitely in there, but reading is another big milestone, right?

So, what kinds of books are considered “early reader” books”?

They have easy words, in general. These are words that kids know already and can easily make a connection from. Cat, hat, dog, mom, dad, sister, and so on. All are early-reader book vocab.  You can through in a harder word now and again, but it should be under three syllables and something they can “sound out” easily.  Here are some familiar examples of early reader books:

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (and most other Seuss books, like The Fox in Socks)
  • Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Junie B. series by Barbara Park and Denise Brunkus

And the list goes on and on. But think about The Fox in Socks for a minute.  The story starts, “Knox in Box. Fox in Socks.” The next page is, “Knox on fox in socks  in box.” Reinforcing words is huge for this group. They learned a new sentence on page one, and because they did, imagine their excitement when they get to page two and can read that, too! They love that. I know.

This is the first book I used to teach my daughter to read, though reading for them regularly definitely helps them to get a feel for language. If you’re a parent, it’s critical that you read to your kids! Helps them in school, too. But I digress…

In early reader books, you’ll also notice pictures — still plenty of pictures that reinforce the meaning of the words on the page and they’re hugely important.  And the words are increasingly harder as the book goes on. Some books, as mentioned above, can still be classified as picture books. But now, we know better.

Early reader books are all about helping kids to read.

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