This review is part of a MotherTalk blog tour, and I received this set of books from the publisher to review.
My oldest daughter has trouble with reading, and we were overjoyed to find Bob Books for her a few years ago – they are simple, short stories with simple drawings that can boost the confidence of beginning readers. The simple illustrations gave her an idea of the story without being too busy or distracting. The original books had black and white illustrations, which differed so much from the other, fully illustrated readers that distracted her from the words. The Bob Books gave her the ability to brag about reading a whole book when her friends said that they had read a book, despite her reading difficulties.
This new edition of Bob Books Set 1-Beginning Readers by Bobby Lynn Maslen & John R. Maslen has added a bit of color – there’s a bit of red, purple, or green added to the black and white (the color inside matches the color on the cover). The color adds a bit of flair to the books, but doesn’t overwhelm the reader with too many distractions. The older version was a bit difficult to keep in order, but the new edition has clearly marked numbers on the cover to help keep the books in order. The cardboard outside of the new edition is also much sturdier than the original version, which also helps keep them organized!
The first set of 12 Bob Books are for very beginning readers – children who are just starting to sound out words. They focus on short vowel sounds, and use very short, simple sentences. However, there is more to them than you see at first: each book builds on the next, so your reading vocabulary increases with each book in a way that reinforces what the child has learned without being overwhelming. Adding a few new words with each new book mixes new with familiar, so the reader is excited about starting the next book, rather than anxious.
Since it is the beginning of the school year (even for homeschoolers!), I thought a refresher would be good, so I set my 7 year old down with the box of Bob Books. She read 5 books in about 10 minutes (!!!), then reread them to the cat and her 4 year old sister. She had been choosing more difficult books from the library, and her confidence in her reading ability was down. Reading the Bob Books brought her confidence right back, and she was ready to tackle something a little harder next.
The books are organized by color – the first 4 books are red, the next 4 are purple, and the final 4 are green. As you go through the other sets (Set 2-Advancing Beginners, Set 3- Word Families, Set 4- Compound Words, and Set 5- Long Vowels), the colors change and the sentences and stories become longer. The sets grow with the reader, and encourage reading just one more story without being overwhelming. The creators of the Bob Books have kept the books quite short, which continues to build a new or struggling reader’s confidence (it’s so nice to brag that you just read 5 books!).
Our home is proud to house a Bob Books graduate, a happy Bob Books reader, and one who is looking forward to reading Bob Books soon! I can’t recommend these books highly enough. They were our first official homeschooling purchase, and one I have never regretted. They are a wonderful addition to a home library, school library, or a homeschool library. I love the smiles on my daughters’ faces when they have succeeded in reading a book – that’s priceless!