Learning how to read isn’t something that happens in a day. It’s a skill that takes a long time to develop. It comes second-nature to adults, but to your three-year-old or five-year-old letters and words look like total gibberish. Like explaining simple concepts to kids, like patterns, is more deceptively difficult than it seems, teaching your kids how to read can be a challenge. That’s why beginner reading books exist. They’re structured specifically for someone who has never read before. They break short three-letter words down phonetically, teaching your kids how to learn to pronounce words that they don’t know. These aren’t just purely boring, instructional books either, they all incorporate these words into cute, illustrated stories that will keep your child engaged.
We found the best beginner reading books for you. These books come in sets, so you’ll be able to break down your child’s reading experience into small, baby steps. Some of the books feature some beloved characters from children’s literature. You’ll love seeing how proud your child is when they finish their first book.
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1. Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers
This book set might be little, but it’ll teach your kids a lot. Your little one learns the basics of sounding out words, like mat and sat. With repetition and consistency, your child will be able to finish their first book. By the end of this set, your child will have read words that include nearly the entire alphabet, except for Q. You can introduce your three- or four-year-old to reading.
2. The Big Purple Book of Beginner Books
If you’re familiar with P. D. Eastman’s famous children’s book, you can introduce your child to his work through his son Peter’s Beginner Books. There are six books in this set—all of which are easy enough for your child to read as a newbie. The fonts are big and the sentences and works can be broken down with some help from mom or dad. The books feature fun animal illustrations, because those are who most of the main characters are.
3. Pete the Cat 12-Book Phonics Fun!
Pete the Cat fans will love taking a shot at reading these books themselves. Made for kids ages 3 to 6, this beginner reading set features 12 vibrantly illustrated stories. They were even vetted by a phonics expert, so your child will learn how to sound out words and examples of different vowel sounds. Learning the foundations of reading alongside Pete the Cat would be motivating for little ones.
4. Big Shark, Little Shark (Step into Reading)
Little fans of the “Baby Shark” song will love this beginner reading book. This book is for kids who have a basic understanding of the alphabet and are ready to read their first book cover-to-cover. This story is a tale of two sharks who are so different that they’re pretty much opposites. It engages kids with fun images and rhythmic, short sentences.
5. First Little Readers Parent Pack: Guided Reading Level A
There are a whopping 25 stories in this little set, so your child will never get bored of reading the same one over and over again. The books use repetition to get kids to learn new words, and there’s only one line of text per page, which doesn’t make the reading feel overwhelming to kids. The subjects vary widely from school to bubbles to birthdays. It also comes with a parent guide, so you can learn tips on how to make reading easier for your child.