When Caspar was around three I started looking for good Montessori first/early readers. The Bob Books were the series most recommended. While he was learning to read at school (he was at a Montessori school) I wanted to complement this learning by having good readers at home. As a Montessori parent what do I look for in a first/early reader?
Books that start with the Pink Series and progress in a logical way.
The first books as with the Pink Series have a focus on phonetic, CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words.
Has an interesting (non-offensive), engaging story line.
Is not in any way associated with licensed characters.
Is true to life - the story line is plausible.
Is attractive, illustrated in a nice way.
Contain full short stories, setting the child up for success and satisfaction at being able to finish an entire book.
I have now started using the Bob Books with Otis. However having him at home (not attending school) this term I wanted more. I sought out Miss Rhonda's Readers which have been a delight (so much so we now stock them at HWM Shop here) . Although there are a few different readers available here are my top three.
1. Bob Books. Very basic. The images are purposeful but not distracting. The storyline is amusing, my children find them funny but others may not. Originally made by hand the Bob Books were written by a teacher in the 1970s. Set One contains 8 booklets and there is a full series to grow with the developing reader.
2. Miss Rhonda's Readers. Colourful and nicely illustrated. A little more engaging and colourful than the Bob Books but simple enough that as a first reader children can start to decode the words and follow the story. These are a lovely addition to our home and are read repetitiously. Originally written by Miss Rhonda for her own Montessori Classroom. True to life stories including images and stories of nature. Set one and two each contain eight books. Miss Rhonda has a new set three which is a lovely first chapter book.
3. Flyleaf Publishing - Books to Remember. These are the only books on this list we haven't used in our home. They are the next on my list though. They come highly recommended as most of the stories are true to life and many have life like illustrations. Their scope and sequence page is an excellent guide. The books are available in sets or individually (or on Amazon here).
We have tried a few other first/early readers however have found them a little hit and miss. I'd love to hear if you have tried any first/early readers that you can recommend. You know I love to support small business and especially one started by a Montessori teacher - have you tried these readers?