I love new readers. It’s so much fun to watch as kids grasp concepts that they once thought were well beyond their reach. Reading opens up so many things to kids and reading ability will play a huge role in your child’s future academic success.
As a former teacher and a homeschooling mom to 3 kids, I have found a few favorite products over the years that I think are essential for teaching basic reading skills. Each of these products share one thing in common — they make reading a fun experience for the child and help increase skill level.
Letter tiles are the first thing I pull out when I have a beginning reader. They can be used for the very basics, from identifying letters and their sounds, to more advanced skills like building words or creating simple sentences.
My favorite set of Letter tiles is one made by Lakeshore Learning because they are magnetic, which makes them easy to use on any magnetic surface (and makes it harder to lose them) and they are nice and chunky so even younger kids can manipulate them without a problem.
I’ve always heard everyone rave about Bob Books for early readers. Now that I’ve tried them, I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why I didn’t buy these when my oldest son was learning to read. We bought sets 1 and 2 for my 6 year old son a few months ago (and have since bought every other set in the series) and I cannot say enough good about them. The way they teach reading is just so logical and getting kids reading full books right away builds so much confidence that they quickly learn to love reading.
My 6 year old is constantly asking to read his Bob Books with me and I constantly hear him say, “I am SO good at reading”. It makes my heart happy to watch as he really develops a love of reading and now it isn’t uncommon to see him pull aside his younger brother and show off his new reading skills by reading a few Bob Books to him.
Remember how much fun magnetic poetry was on the fridge in your college apartment? It’s even more fun for new readers who can sound out some words but may not be able to put a sentence together on their own. Magnetic Poetry has a great line of magnetic words for kids and they come in several different reading levels.
I came across an older version of these while looking for something to make writing fun for my older son and was thrilled to discover the first words version for my new reader.
We keep a magnetic wipe board up in our family room because it’s great for all kinds of activities and my 6 year old loves to sit with this magnetic word set and build his own sentences. It’s a great confidence builder and he really enjoys all the silly sentences he can come up with.
For younger kids, Magnetic Poetry makes a large letter version that’s appropriate for kids ages 3 and older.
Rusty and Rosy Reading Softward
One of the biggest issues I see with early readers losing motivation is that they want to read, and they want to read NOW. When learning to read takes longer than they think it should, kids get frustrated and decide that it’s too hard. The Tag Reading System from LeapFrog is a great way to keep up the momentum and get kids reading right from the very beginning.
We’ve loved the Tag reading system so much that we have 3 of them, one for each kid, and those were all products that we purchased on our own (i.e. the company didn’t send us a single one). We’ve gotten a ton of use out of our Tag systems and one of my favorite things about them is that they use real books, many of them old favorites.
We started our youngest on the Tag Jr. when he was only 2 and it’s been one of his favorite toys from the very beginning.
The most important thing you can do to help an early reader is help him develop a real love for learning. If a child loves to read, then learning to read will come naturally. There are some great audio books for kids available, or you can make your own by recording your voice reading some of your child’s favorite books.
Audio books allow kids to read whenever they want to and are a great alternative to T.V. time when mom needs to get something done or perfect for a road trip activity. My 6 year old would go nuts for this set of audio Curious George books.
For early readers, repetition is just a part of the game. Learning each letter and the sounds that they make is an essential first step to reading but nothing about that has to feel repetitive when there are so many great options out there to make learning to read fun.
The Rusty and Rosy Reading Software is an adaptive program that helps teach your child all the basics they need to read in a way that feels more like a game.
I’m a firm believer that books for kids should be fun and no one does that better than Dr. Seuss. With so much fun word play going on, it’s hard for kids not to be drawn into the classic Dr. Seuss books and many of the early readers are easy enough that kids can start reading them on their own right away.
I read Dr. Seuss to my kids from the time they were tiny babies because the books themselves are so timeless that I still enjoy reading them. I love the Dr. Seuss beginning book collection because it has so many favorites that are prefect for new readers.
What are your favorite products for early readers?