Beginner Books

All children just beginning to read benefit from using several approaches. The phonics method assigns a sound to each letter; children may also memorize words (called sight words) that cannot be sounded out easily. Some children will also recognize and "read" words by using the illustrations as clues. Also, the content of the story may sometimes lead to the recognition of new words. Another helpful way to make reading easier is to look at a vocabulary list before reading so that when the word appears in the text it may be recognized. For some, this might help to make reading smoother instead of a stop/start-again routine. By using various techniques or a combination of them, most children and their parents will find learning to read a positive and rewarding adventure.

The books on the following lists have limited vocabularies and some have word lists in the back of the book. These books are appropriate for children just beginning to read independently.  Many authors listed have more titles suitable for this reading level. When available the book's Lexile level is given after the title.
Click here for the latest pdf version of all suggested titles.

Phonetic Books | Rebus Books

Antle, Nancy The Good Bad Cat. (BR)
Armstrong, Jennifer The Snowball. (100)
Arnold, Marsha Diane Quick, Quack, Quick! (170)
Arnold, Tedd Hi! Fly Guy! (280)
Baker, Keith Sometimes.
Berenstain, Stan Old Hat, New Hat. (BR)
Blues Clues Hello, Spring! (BR)
Bonsall, Crosby Mine's the Best. (BR)
Brimner, Larry Dane Cats!
Brown, Margaret Wise I Like Bugs. (BR)
Capucilli, Alyssa Satin Biscuit. (190)
Cobb, Annie Wheels! (BR)
Cohen, Caron Lee How Many Fish? (BR)
Copeland, Cynthia L. What Are You Waiting For?
Coxe, Molly Hot Dog. (BR)
Crowley, Ned Ugh! A Bug!
Eastman, P.D. Go, Dog. Go! (BR)
Ghigna, Charles Mice are Nice. (130)
Gill, Janie Spaht Monster Stew. (AD570)
Godwin, Laura Happy and Honey. (BR)
Greene, Carol Snow Joe. (BR)
Gregorich, Barbara The Gum on the Drum.
Hall, Kirsten A Bad, Bad Day. (BR)
Hamsa, Bobbie Fast Draw Freddie.
Haskins, Lori Ducks in Muck. (BR)
Hillert, Margaret The Yellow Boat. (BR)
Hoenecke, Karen Hide and Seek.
Howard, Reginald The Big, Big Wall.
Jensen, Patricia The Mess. (30)
Johnson, Mildred D. Wait! Skates. (BR)
Jordan, Taylor Hiccup.
Kanno, Wendy Holey Moley Cow.
Karlin, Nurit I See, You Saw. (BR)
Keller, Holly What I See.
Knudsen, Michelle Cat Hat.
Koontz, Robin Michal Why a Dog? By A. Cat. (BR)
Krensky, Stephen What a Mess! (BR)
Lascaro, Rita Down on the Farm. (NP)
Levinson, Nancy Smiler Say Cheese!
Lopshire, Robert Put Me in the Zoo. (270)
Lucas, Sally Dancing Dinos.
Maccarone, Grace “What Is That?” Said the Cat. (BR)
MacDonald, Steven Just Clowning Around: Two Stories.
Marx, David F. What is Up When You are Down?
Matthias, Catherine Out the Door.
Mayer, Mercer No One Can Play. (390)
McKissack, Pat Bugs! (BR)
Medearis, Angela Shelf We Play on a Rainy Day. (BR)
Meister, Cari Tiny's Bath. (BR)
Moffatt, Judith Who Stole the Cookies? (BR)
Moncure, Jane Belk Word Bird's No! No! Word Bird.
Moran, Alex Come Here, Tiger. (BR)
Morris, J. E. May I Please Have a Cookie? (250)
Most, Bernard Catch Me If You Can! (AD60)
Packard, Mary The Pet That I Want. (340)
Perkins, Al Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. (NP)
Petrie, Catherine Joshua James Likes Trucks. (BR)
Rau, Dana Meachen Feet.
Ring, Susan Polar Babies. (70)
Rylant, Cynthia Puppy Mudge Takes a Bath. (420)
Seuss, Dr. Hop on Pop. (BR)
Shebar, Sharon Sigmond Milk: 10 Words.
Thiesing, Lisa All Better.
Thomas, Jan Rhyming Dust Bunnies.
Vinje, Marie Hanna's Butterfly.
We Both Read Lulu’s Lost Shoes. (200)
Wilhelm, Hans I Am Lost! (BR)
Wolcott, Patty Pickle Pickle Pickle Juice. (440)
Young, James The Cows are in the Corn. (290)
Ziefert, Harriet Sleepy Dog. (80)

Phonetic Books

Bob Books Mat.
Carratello, Patty Mice on Ice: Long Vowel I.
Cox, Phil Roxbee Ted in a Red Bed. (BR)
Feldman, Eve Billy & Milly, Short & Silly.
Foster, Kelli C. The Tan Can.
Heling, Kathryn Mouse Makes Words: A Phonics Reader. (310)
Moncure, Jane Belk Word Bird Makes Words with Pig: A Short "i" Adventure.
Real Kids Readers The Big Box.
Redbank, Tennant Rug Bug.
Reese, Bob Slam Dunk: 10 Words.
See It, Say It, Hear It, Read It -Am as in Ham.
Stamper, Judith Bauer The Red Hen. (260)
Weston, Martha Jack and Jill and Big Dog Bill.
Winder, Jack Who’s New at the Zoo? 10 Words.
Wonder Books Cats: The Sound of Short A.

Rebus Books

Backyardigans A Royal Valentine.
Blue’s Clues Meet My Family.
Cocca-Leffler, Maryann Silly Willy. (NP)
Diego Diego Saves the Tree Frogs.
Gelman, Rita Golden Mole in a Hole. (NP)
Herman, Gail Otto the Cat. (NP)
Hooks, William H. The Gruff Brothers. (340)
Inches, Alison Piggley Helps Out.
Klingel, Cynthia Fitterer Leila at the Library and the Letter L.
Piper, Watty The Little Engine That Could and the Birthday Bike. (NP)
Santomero, Angela C. Blue is My Name.
Schecter, Ellen The Boy Who Cried “Wolf”. (510)

New Books for Beginner Readers

Some of these books can be READ BY a beginner reader, others are good for READING ALOUD TO a beginner reader.

Hank Has a Dream by Rebecca Dudley

Reading Level: Preschool - Grade 2

Hank, the adorable bear/monkey from Hank Finds an Egg is back. "Last night I had a dream," he tells his hummingbird friend.  The wonderful double-page spreads show Hank in his forest on the left-handed pages while his actions become his flying dream on the right side pages.  Children will delight in the enchanting and detailed dioramas depicting scenes from both Hank's life and his dream. 

Meet author Rebecca Dudley at the iRead kick-off on January 10th.

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The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf and Grandma by Diane Fox, Christyan Fox

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 8

A cat tries to tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but his dog friend has a lot of questions, and finds so many plot holes, that things quickly go awry.

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The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren, Fabio Santomauro

Reading Level: Grades 1 - 3

During WWII the people of the Nazi occupied Danish town of Gilleleje helped 1,700 Jews escape to Sweden. This book tells the story of those brave residents and one night in particular when they had to figure out a new way to lead an escaping family to the ships that would take them to safety.

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I'm My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein

Reading Level: Ages 3 - 7

A dog is very proud of the fact that he doesn't need a human in his life, until one rainy day a stray man follows him home.

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Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover by Josh Schneider

Reading Level: Preschool - Grade 2

With typical humor and understanding, Schneider creates another gem of a picture book.  Amelia and her doll, Princess Sparkle -Heart, do everything together.  There's tea parties, weddings, and secrets.  But on every page there's the GRRRRRR of the jealous family dog until the pup tears up Princess Sparkle-Heart.  Mom comes in with her sewing box to save the day for the heartbroken Amelia. Working together, they show that love and creativity can create wonders.

Meet author Josh Schneider at the iRead kick-off on January 10th.

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