For some reason, there is a very popular idea out there that it doesn’t matter what children read, as long as they are reading. I strongly disagree with this! It does matter because what they are exposed to develops their taste. Some books ARE better than others. Below are some early reader books that I did or would keep in my home.
Let your child read at the level he is comfortable with. This builds fluency. And PLEASE forget about what AR level you were told he is at. I have heard way too many stories about that system failing kids. Let him read what he wants to read within (moral/ethical) boundaries. Don’t limit him to books within his “reading level.” Read alouds and audio books (especially if you do narration) will build his vocabulary and reading comprehension. Right now the main purpose of reading books like those below is building fluency in decoding and encouraging a love for reading!
Some tips for helping your child become fluent:
Do “buddy reading” where you take turns reading every other sentence or every other page so your child doesn’t get fatigued too quickly.
If she is working so hard on decoding that you can tell she wasn’t able to hold the entire sentence in her mind and understand it, read it aloud to her before moving on to the next page. This way she can still follow the story while working on building up the skill of reading for herself.
Help him sound out longer words by reading one section of the word at a time. It might help to cover over the part you don’t want him to read yet with your finger or a small slip of paper.
If you know phonics rules, it might help to throw a little reminder in now and then. (“C says /s/ when it is before an E.”)
It’s okay to sometimes just tell her the tricky word if she is doing well reading through a section. Keep in mind the goal of building a love of reading. She’ll run up against that word again at some point and have to sound it out.
Keep reading practice SHORT! A little bit every day is much better than a long chunk of time less frequently for most kids.
If he is really fighting you on this or isn’t making progress, put it aside for a few weeks or months before trying again. In the mean time, read aloud to him lots and lots of high quality books.
Amelia Bedelia series (If you have an early reader, she may not fully understand the humor in these!)
“I Can Read” books (vintage ones are great!)
Almost Ready for Chapter Books
(This is a good time to pull out your picture books. Some have vocabulary that is too difficult, but many are perfect for readers at this stage!)
A Question of Yams (Christian)
Early Chapter Books
The Cul-de-Sac Kids series (Christian) *
The Boxcar Children (books #1-19)
Because of Winn-Dixie (emotionally intense)
The Hundred Dresses (bullying)
A Bear Called Paddington and sequels
Twenty and Ten (possibly scary for sensitive children)
“All About ….” books (vintage)
Tumtum and Nutmeg series (intense)
Look HERE for more great book lists for all levels of readers!