Saturday, September 29, 2012

Books for Beginning Readers

I received an email from a reader who was wondering about books for her beginning reader. I have a few suggestions but I am wondering if anyone else can suggest some more?

I ran across your blog today while browsing for a reading program for my son, who is an 8 year old with down syndrome. My son is, with the reluctance of our school, in 2nd grade with his twin brother who does not have down syndrome.

He is the first child in our school district to attend here, and not be sent to the co-op for special needs kids.

I was so happy to find your blog and I hope you can give me some pointers and advice....

My son has a big list of sight words he's learned in kindergarten and 1st grade....
I have started putting sight words in sentence form for him this year and he is coming along great with them...

SOOO this is my question--  Do you know of books that I could continue with...maybe pictures and that sort of thing
so that he is actually reading BOOKS...   He sees brother reading and he goes to find his sentences,
but I know he can do more and feel great if he has actual BOOKS like everyone else.

Our school has not been real supportive...  I'm not sure if it's because they don't know what to do next, or that they feel they are just babysitting him throughout the day.  He's growing tired of being quizzed on sight word flashcards though.

Either way...  I've got to find this little guy some books so that he can be proud of his accomplishments!

Anything you can think of will be great!

It's hard to know without knowing a little more about your son's reading ability but my first thought is that if he is interested, home made books are great because you can make them on any subject that he is interested in & include the words that he knows.  I started with pics of the family & different fun activities & sometimes just used google images to find pictures of things my daughter was interested in. We also used books like this to teach important concepts such as when K started preschool at age 3 we made a book to teach her about school routines. We usually laminated these books so they lasted well.

The Orange County DS association has some books that are free to download. Here is the link.  As I said, they are free, but you do need to register:

 If he would prefer commercial print books then depending on how many sight words he knows, there are some books or sets of books available.  Here are some that K liked which are available from Scholastic books.  They are simple & repetitive.  If your son doesn't know all of the words you can make some flashcards of the unfamiliar words & teach the to him prior to showing him the book.

We bought these 2nd hand but I think these are part of at least a couple of sets. We also have some with totally different subjects like parties & roller coasters.

I like that the sentences are simple & repetitive so kids don't have to know a lot of words to read them. They are pretty short in length too - around a dozen pages.

There are lots of simple phonics book sets too that you may want to check into.  This blog post has an example of a pretty simple set: "If I Were a Beep"

Often I would take board books that only had a few simple words & use them for reading however with an 8 year old that may or may not work.  Will he think they are too babyish? If not I'd check into this because there are lots of books with either single words or just a few words.

We are now using mainly leveled readers.  They are nice because they are fairly consistant in the amount of sentences on each page & have fairly good sized letters. If  your son has a large enough vocabulary this might be an option.

So, has anyone else got some good books to suggest?

I also posted this on FaceBook.  Sandra added a couple of suggestions:

How about the higher level Bob Books, Dr Seuss, Frog and Toad, Danny The Dinasouar, Dick and Jane stuff 

Thanks Sandra & those of you who commented below. 


  1. I would probably try the Bob books.

  2. If I were you I would see if the school has those scholastic flyers to order books. My sister bought those for her girls and passed me down. There is a order form for pre k and kindergarten where you would find these readers. I've been going to our consignment store and goodwill hunting for these types of books as well. Christian book distributers online had this sort of thing as well as amazon. I have a parent pack by scholastic on my wish list at amazon as well as a set of Bob books. (Its called sight words kindergarten) Not sure if you do Craigslist, have a home school used school supplies store? These are places I would look. Hope this helps.