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  • Raffi Bandarian

Favorite Early Readers

Updated: Mar 10

Learning to read should be stress-free and enjoyable. Early readers do just that. These books intended for kids who are learning how to read create excitement for exploring books while building decoding. Early readers lay the foundation for reading - a goal for any parent who wants to raise an independent reader.

Early readers have a lot of things in common. Authors repeat the same words throughout the book or series, which helps kids learn to recognize words. By building word recognition through repeated exposure, children train their brains to quickly and accurately read words. Early readers teach phonics by gradually introducing sounds. They limit words to three or four sounds, so kids can easily sound out the letters, thereby learning to read.

Rhyming words are also common and provide clues about what an unfamiliar word may be. Illustrators of these books draw colorful pictures to help kids figure out words.

As a reading specialist, here are three of my favorite "early reader" series that provide plenty of practice for young readers.

Dr. Seuss

In the late 1950s, Dr. Seuss or Theodore Seuss Geisel created one of the most popular early readers – The Cat in the Hat. With witty illustrations and imaginative storylines, Dr. Seuss' books magically transport kids and encourage them to read. Other classics like Fox in Socks help children sound out sight words while One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish is full of early literacy concepts like opposites, colors, and counting. Full of rhymes and tongue-twisting turns on every page, Dr. Seuss introduced a host of archetypal characters from the trickster to the hero that inspire kids to imagine and read.

BOB Books

For over 40 years, the BOB Books series have helped early readers practice their reading before advancing to chapter books. Using easy-to-read words and whimsical characters, BOB Books are a fun confidence booster. It's not a surprise that in 2010, Bob Books won the Oppenheim Best Book Award for two of its books. Parents can look to the back cover where a “Look for These Ideas" offers discussion points for after the book is read.

Now I’m Reading

The Now I'm Reading series, written by Nora Gaydos and illustrated by BB Sams, uses playful and colorful illustrations paired with easy-to-read text to engage early readers. Don’t worry if a single page in the Now I'm Reading series contains just a few words, each page builds on words from the previous page helping young readers feel poised to flip to the next page. A comprehension-building “After You Read” page provides grown-ups with questions to ask the young reader.

Not only do early readers make it fun to read, but they also help a child master literacy early on. For young learners struggling to read independently, educational therapy offers solutions.


Written by Raffi Bandarian, L.M.F.T., Educational Therapist/Professional

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