Once your child is reading short vowel words, long vowel words, two syllable words containing long and short vowels, compounds, and some sight words, he will be ready to move onto what we call “vocabulary-controlled readers” (not just phonetically-controlled readers).
Again, phonetically-controlled readers are those that contain specific phonics sounds that the child is learning (only short “a” words, for example). Vocabulary-controlled readers are those that contain only a certain short list of words. (The vocabulary is controlled in that each book only contains a small number of words—mostly easier words.)
At the point that our child had a large repertoire of short and long vowel words, we moved into the types of readers listed below. We personally moved from “Bob” books into the “Heart Me Read” books Set 1 and then Set 2 by Mary Manz Simon. However, any good, true vocabulary-controlled set of readers with a limited, say fifteen to thirty word list of words that each “reader” contains, will work. (More on readability in the coming few days. I want to get links of early graded readers listed first.)
1. Hear Me Read Bible: This Bible is a collection of the “Hear Me Read” Set 1 readers—twelve extremely vocabulary-controlled readers with a list of twelve to twenty words (given on the back of each reader) for each book. I like the idea of having them all in one “Bible” as it is in this book; however, we had the individual readers for Set 1, which were extremely portable, so that was nice. (The Bible was not available at that time—you are getting the exact same thing whether you purchase the “Hear Me Read Bible” or the “Hear Me Read Readers, Set 1.”) The illustrations are whimsical and irresistible. I can’t tell you how empowering it is for a new reader to know that he can read one of these little readers! I loved that each book listed the words contained in the story on the back. (See tomorrow’s tips for moving into this level of readers.) I highly recommend these—and they are available at many libraries-- http://www.cph.org/pdf/562472.pdf
2. Hear Me Read Level 2 Books: After your student is finished with the “Hear Me Read, Level 1” readers (or the “Hear Me Read Bible”), he is ready to move into the level two books. These books continue with the colorful, endearing illustrations, limited text, word list on the back, etc. from level one. They add many more words, more difficult words, and have more words in each book (thus, a longer word list on the back of each one). http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dus-stripbooks-tree&field-keywords=Hear+Me+Read+Level+2+books&x=0&y=0
Tomorrow—tips for taking your struggling reader from truly “phonetically-controlled” books to “vocabulary-controlled” ones—helping him move along the path to reading fluency.