The benefits of reading are innumerable and are very well established by research and practice. The first stage is read-aloud to children. The introduction of books and read-aloud can be made at any age – infant or toddlers or babies or even grown-ups. It is really never late to pick up a book. Also, read-aloud stage has no expiration date which means that at no age one should stop reading-aloud to their kids. By reading aloud to children of all ages from toddlers to young adults, one can experiment with various genres, higher and trickier vocabulary and subject matters. Also, the emotional connect with the child during the read-aloud make it indispensable.
However, one needs to help the child to make the transition from read-aloud to reading independently gradually. Here are few books (series) that may be useful to assist the child to initiate guided reading and instil confidence in them:
1. Phonics Books: These come in various sets and are appropriate as the first introduction books to independent or guided reading using the phonics sounds. It consists of books with long sounds as well as short vowels and consonant sounds. To name a few:
2. Sight Words: Using the Glenn Doman technique flashing sight words that cannot be read with the help of sounds and phonics may be really useful. There are various sets of key words available readily, or one may download from the internet.
3. Bob Books: These are extremely popular series of books that have inspired reading for over 40 years now. With extremely simple words and catchy illustrations they instil confidence to early readers who are just introduced to reading.
4. Usborne Phonics Readers: A set of 20 books written with phonics sounds to assist early readers.
5. Usborne My First Reading Library: It is a collection of 50 reading books. The first 22 books are taken from Usborne Very First Reading and include the phonics methods used in schools. The next 12 books are taken from Usborne First Reading Level One. These delightful short stories are for children who are starting to enjoy reading for themselves. The last 16 books are taken from Usborne Very First Reading Level Two and are perfect for building reading confidence.
6. Song Birds Phonics Readers by Julia Donaldson: Songbirds is a complete phonic reading scheme of 60 books, part of the immensely popular Oxford Reading Tree.
7. Oxford Reading Tree Read with Biff, Chip, and Kipper: It consists of various levels of guided or independent reading materials.
Also, it is important to go by the child’s interest. Some may find reading the story based picture books far more interesting than the phonics based reading technique. In such a case, one can choose book with big catchy illustrations with very little text. For example, The Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems are hilarious as also very less text. Many such picture books can be useful too. If the child enjoys what he/she is reading, the process gets more fun and faster. Reading can be done not only from these books but basically from magazines, news papers, instructions on activity books or almost anything and everything. Also, while read-aloud, placing the pointer finger and reading aloud may also be helpful to stress on the important words. The focus should be on continuity and making reading interesting rather than fretting on the levels. Age recommendations are indicative and do not make it a hard and fast rule, rather go with child’s interest. Let it be a slow and steady process and the only one thing that can work is – practice, practice and more practice! Give them variety!