Prior to this year, I have given my son many opportunities to “read” books on his own using wordless picture books , alphabet books, and by using the text that artists embed in the illustrations . We’ve also come across some fun nearly wordless picture books featuring one or two-words throughout the whole book.
When he started to pay more attention to those words embedded in the illustrations, I purchased some easy readers from Scholastic. I thought they might work because they were non-fiction, and they were actually kind of written in a developmentally appropriate way. Unfortunately, they were not a big hit. So I turned to my old stand by…I made him a couple books using photos. When it was reading time, he consistently grabbed those from the stack. But producing your own books for kids takes time, and I wanted to find other books he might enjoy that were at a good level for him.
I had been searching online since my daughter was a beginning reader using terms like “early readers,” “emergent booklist,” and “beginning level books.” For the longest time, I found nothing. Then, I stumbled upon a list entitled “Easy Reader Books That Are Actually Easy” at fantastic site called What Do We Do All Day? The list included a couple titles new to me. I was inspired.
Eventually, I found a few more lists when I searched the terms “Leveled Book Lists.” The problem with the lists I’ve found is two-fold. First, most of the lists I found varied quite a bit in what they termed “emergent.” They might include wordless picture books in the same list as Go, Dog, Go by Dr. Seuss (a level F or mid-year first grade book according to Fountas and Pinnell). The other part of the problem is that the books I found were either hard to come by, because they were books normally sold to a school market, or some of the lists simply didn’t offer many titles in all. From my experience, many emergent readers need to read at least a few books that feature the same sight word before it becomes part of their repertoire.
So, while I continue to look for a comprehensive list, I’m going to do the best I can to add to the lists currently out there. If you know of beginning readers that are fun reads, that I haven’t listed yet (I know there are many), please send them my way. I’d love to get a big list of resources out there.