I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Choosing the Right Readers for Your Emergent Reader

Choosing the Right Readers for Your Emergent Reader- The Unlikely Homeschool

A few days ago, I whipped out the family celebration plate. We were having a little dinner-time party.
I made a big deal of it because it WAS a big deal!

My little Greased Lightning, read his first book!  

Now, granted, the storyline was simple, the words were repetitive, the pictures told more of the plot than the few letters on the page. But, HE READ IT! He read it and then smiled. It was the kind of smile that only comes when the mystery of words is unlocked...when the black-and-white gives way to color and the 2-dimensional takes on life...when a written story becomes a solo adventure. His eyes bulged large as he turned the last page and realized that he had just crossed over the great divide that separates those who can read and those who can't. He was a READER!

In my efforts to cultivate this eye-bulging excitement, I am selective in my reader choices for him. I want these first few steps into a lifetime of reading to be marked by success.

Success breeds desire. Desire breeds pursuit. Pursuit breeds mastery. Mastery breeds SUCCESS...and the cycle continues.

So, what makes the cut when I am choosing reading material with purpose. Well, let's first look at what does not.

As I mentioned in the video, I DO find value in these trade-show readers. I think they can be wonderful resources to practice more-advanced decoding skills. My older two boys (first and second graders) read from them every day. In fact, one quick glance at our library book basket finds level 3 and 4 I Can Read, DK Readers, Ready-to-Read, and many more spilling out onto the floor.

For these boys, who have mastered all of the basic phonetical stages (letter sounds >> blends >> short vowel words >> long vowel words >> special digraphs >> pre-fixes and suffixes >> syllable patterns), these trade-show books have provided countless hours of written adventures. But, they would produce nothing but failure and deflation for my preschooler who does not yet possess enough decoding skills to read from a publisher's ill-graded "first" reader.
And so, for him, I am selective. I choose phonics-based readers.

I'll hope you'll join me next week when I'll be sharing my TOP PICKS for TRUE emergent readers.

In the meantime, be sure to check out...

How I Teach My Preschooler the ABCs
Easy Encouragement for the Struggling Reader
DIY Phonics Manipulatives
Top 10 Just-for-Fun Books for Young Girls

**In this video, I mention a "Dora Kingsley" book and then quickly correct myself and say "DK Reader".  I just want to be clear.  The book I am referring to is a DK Reader, a Dorling Kindersley book, not to be confused by Dora Kingsley.**


  1. Wonderful post! We also have a "reader" on our hands. At 6 years old, he's absorbed so much about reading, but I'm watching and listening to make sure he's comprehending as he's reading. I'm on the lookout for any assessment tests to help me better understand where is at reading skills versus reading comprehension ability. I am starting to think about planning for next year's curriculum choices and wondering how I'm going to figure out what "holes" I need to patch in his learning. For instance, he can read "I saw my dog running to the mailbox." But I want to make sure he understands that -ing is an ending added to the root word "run" and "mailbox" is a compound word. Anyways, I'm looking forward to your next post.

  2. Great post, looking forward to your list of "emergent reader" books!

  3. Great information, thank you for saving us a lot of discouragement. I enjoy your vlogs.