REALLY Easy Readers: The Bob Books,
Good practice readers after the Bob Books:
Did you know yesterday was Dr. Seuss’s birthday?
No Fighting No Biting was a HUGE hit with my kids,
and Morris the Moose was a big hit with my boy and several of his male friends. For some reason the girls never enjoyed him much.
Basically, we favored Clyde Robert Bulla, Arnold Lobel, and Else Holmelund.
Another big favorite is Millicent Selsam books, mostly science readers. These are fabulous. She doesn’t talk down to her young readers, and yet she writes interesting stories with good information.
We also did a lot of tandem reading- where Mom reads and then points to a word or sentence for the child to read.
We also read quite a few nursery rhymes, mother goose stuff, for practice. And just to keep things fun we would change things from time to time.
Jack and Jill
Went up the ______, for instance. My young reader would read that far and then make up her own word to go in the blank.
Beginning readers, chapter books, etc:
The Three Cousins Detective Series by Elspeth Campbell Murphy. These stories add a Bible verse and a biblical principle to their episodes, and the three cousins are younger than Nancy Drew and so the stories are more suitable for younger readers (6-10 or so, depending on when they read independently).
Elspeth Campbell Murphy also has a series called The Ten Commandment mysteries which we liked. If you’re looking for other mysteries suitable for younger children, below is a list of some other titles our youngsters have read. I make no grand claims for literary quality. These are better than some, but not grand literature. They do seem to meet the need for a series that kids seem to have at a certain stage in their reading, and since I think mysteries do help kids learn to trace cause and effect and think about consequences and the chain of events in a story, I turn a temporary blind eye to the twaddle elements of these stories, and it is there. So here they are:
The Happy Hollister stories. I like these because the family is larger than average (five children) and they children like each other. That’s a link to one title at Amazon, but try your library first.
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective– not everybody likes these. I recommended them once to a fellow home-schooling mom, and even gave her some surplus copies we had. She disliked them so much that she sent her child to my house to return them with these words, “My mother says to give these back to you and tell she doesn’t ever want to see another one.” I guess I should have loaned them a Miss Manners instead (Bad DHM, bad! No snark!). I really don’t know what it was she hated so much, I consider these harmless enough. I like them because the chapters are stand alone, making them a light reading load for a young reader lacking confidence, and because the solutions are in the back of the book, giving young readers a chance to try to figure things out for themselves. Even though most of my young readers just skipped to the back to read the solutions without thinking about it, I think the format actually helps them remember the information better, and often the solution involved some piece of scientific or historical information. I also help these and books like them can help young readers learn discernment, as often the clue involves the resident bad kid contradicting himself in his account. The link to this Donald Sobol story is apparently a newer release, and I don’t know if the new releaases are the same content or not. I’d look for an older copy at my local library.
The Boxcar Children– I consider the first book in this series good literature for children. After that the quality goes down. Also, only the first twenty or twenty-five are by Gertrude Chandler Warner, and I use that as the natural cutting off point for our family. I don’t mind my children reading a few of these while they develop fluency with their reading, but once they get comfortable, it’s time to start stretching and reading the harder stuff.
The Bobbsey Twins: We never really cottoned to these much, and I don’t really know why. I do like the originals, but they aren’t mysteries.
In general, we read a few of these while the children are developing reading competency, but then we move on, because I do not want them to develop reading complacency. In the meantime, they are useful for helping kids learn to be better at housecleaning, and who knew mysteries could have such benefits?
What about you? What have been your most successful early reading titles?
Don’t miss the exciting topics we’ll be covering the other Thursdays of this month!
- March 17 – Bread making
- March 24 – Large families & church, part 1
- March 31 – Q and A