The 9 Best Books for Beginning Readers

The Best Books for Beginning Readers

Looking for the best books for beginning readers to start a lifetime love of books? You’ve come to the right place! This post is the next in our series that addresses reading readiness skills by age group.

I am a trained, licensed Speech-Language Pathologist with teaching certification who has been working with children for 15 of my 20 years in the field.  Because of this experience, I am in a unique position to offer advice about the importance of reading to and with your child.

*Post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Books for Beginning Readers

The beginner reading skills I’m going to talk about, combine two of the things I love the most: Books and language.

What is a Beginning Reader?

A beginning reader can identify the letters and the sounds they make. This skill is very important and one they will continue to work on while they become a more proficient reader.
We have some great books in our post on reading readiness that helps with this skill.

Why Are Books for Beginning Readers Important?

Children who are beginning readers may not know all the rules for reading, but they are beginning to learn. The best way to practice reading is to actually read books!

The pride that children get at this age when they can sound out or read pages in a real book is priceless. The more they practice the skill, the more confident they will be. This, in turn, will make it easier and more fun to get them to read long-term.

Books for Beginning Readers

Decodable Books for Beginning Readers

Decoding words is an important skill for your child to learn on their path to reading. They will slowly sound out the words and put them together to make words.

Sometimes, if my child was stuck, I would model how to decode the word and see if they could put the sounds together.

Beginning readers read very slowly so take your time and have fun. Here are a few great books for learning decoding.

Yo Yes

Yo! Yes by Chris Raschka

This Caldecott Honor book is a simple story of friendship that does not need long words to convey its meaning. I love this book because it is such a great book to have success with decoding.

cat traps

Cat Traps by Molly Coxe

The simple sentences in this book make it easy to decode- especially with the funny pictures as an added clue. This is one of the books for beginning readers that really is appropriate for beginners.

Go Dog Go

Go Dog Go by P.D. Eastman

This beginning reader uses 75 words in the entire book. It is a great combination of high-frequency words and words like “dog” that are easy to decode. Do you like my hat? is a running joke in my house to this day.

Frog on a Log and Books for Beginning Readers

Sight Word Books for First-Time Readers

A beginning reader will also start to recognize high-frequency words also known as sight words. These are words that do not necessarily follow the rules for decoding and occur often within a text (like the word “you”).

When my children were just beginning to read, I used to pick out a sight word like “the” and have my child see if they could find the word on the page.

Here are some great books for beginning readers with a lot of high-frequency sight words for your beginning reader.

Green eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

This is a classic book that is perfect for beginning readers. Not only are there only 50 words in the entire book but, there is a tremendous amount of repetition which is so perfect for beginning readers. The high-frequency site words provide practice reading in this hilarious book. This is one of the books for beginning readers that your child will learn by heart.

Frog on a log

Frog on a Log by Phil Roxbee Cox (Usborne Readers)

I absolutely love these books by Usborne. Not only do these books for beginning readers look at word families (like -og) but, the back of the book has a list of the sight words your child will need to know in order to read this book. There are so many books to choose from and each uses a different word family. They are brilliant.

Where is green sheep

Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox

There is a ton of repetition in this book that asks “where is the green sheep”. The reply is almost always the same “here is the …. sheep”. The pictures provided great contextual cues and the book itself is fun to read with silly sheep basking in the sun.

Books for Beginning Readers

Phonics Books for Beginning Readers

I have a love-hate relationship with phonics books. There are some very popular collections that I do not like at all because they actually aren’t phonics books at all.

It is very important that children are introduced to sounds and concepts slowly so they have time to process new information. It is important to start with the short vowel sounds (like the “i” in kit) before introducing children to the concept of a long vowel sound (like the “i” in kite).

The phonics books below not only present sounds in a clear way but the sight words are also limited so that the amount of new information presented at one time is not overwhelming.

very first reader

Usborne Very First Reader

Unlike most phonics readers, this series starts with certain sounds and gradually adds more. This series is designed for parents and children to read together as the parent and child both have their own parts to read.

To find out more information you can check out their website. These books for beginning readers are some of my favorite on the list


Starfall Learn to Read Phonics Books

I first learned about these books when my kids were using the Starfall reading app in school. I found the books and bought them hoping they would be as good as the app and that they were perfect for a beginning reader.

Each book concentrates on a different vowel sound making the transition between sounds so much easier. I loved these books for beginning readers and highly recommend them.

Phonics Tales

Phonics Tales! 25 Read-Aloud Books That Teach Key Phonics Skills by Scholastic

This series starts with short vowel sounds and slowly moves through all the vowel sounds, along with blends, diagraphs, and more. There is also a teaching guide that is really helpful. These are great resources and a perfect way to introduce phonics.

Books for Beginning Readers

Tips for Reading with a Beginning Reader

It is really important to remember how much new information a beginning reader has to process. You and your little reader may want to take turns reading.

You can take turns by each reading a page, a line, or any way that makes reading a fun and meaningful time together. I often used the time between turns to ask questions and make sure that my child understood the story.

And finally, make sure your little one knows how proud you are.

Did you find any books for beginning readers to add to your home library? Let us know below!

The importance of Reading

The Importance of Reading and 7 Helpful Reading Readiness Tips

What to know more about reading readiness? You can check out our post.

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