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Our Favorite Early Reader Book Series

 We have kind of had a variety of readers in our house so far.  Teaching them to read, and enjoy reading, has been different with each kids, as is everything I guess.  Nora struggled a little, and still doesn't enjoy it as much as I'd like her to.  Addison was quick to learn, actually, she surprised me in kindergarten when I found out she was reading much more difficult books at school than I was providing her with at home.  Don't underestimate I guess. Lulu struggled.  She went to a reading tutor, who was also the kindergarten teacher at our school whom we love and cherish so much, and really took some time and effort.  She is still growing as a reader, but has finally reached a point that she is a strong enough reader to really find books that she enjoys, and that have much more of an entertaining story line, so she's growing in leaps and bounds in her reading abilities all of the sudden.  
Teaching them all to love reading as much as I do is a life-long journey I suppose!  Our toddler really loves books at this point, and we must read him 2 million books a day (definitely not an exaggeration or anything...), so it will be interesting to see how that goes in the future.. as of right now, it's not even on my radar.  I'd love to just potty-train him before I stress about any of that! Ha!

I thought it may be helpful to pull together a list of very early readers that we have loved with each of our kids.  Something that I found helpful about all of the books on this list, is the fact that they are a series.  I think it really helped to find a book they enjoyed practicing, and then showing them more with the same characters, so they can get into it a little bit more.  It definitely made it more enjoyable for my kids, and honestly as an adult, I love books that come in a series, because once you get to know a character, it's so fun to see more of them!  I have linked a variety of them below, so just click on the links if you're looking to get any of them for yourself!  

Also, none of this are specifically "boy" or "girl" books, so I feel like they would appeal to any variety of child out there.  I saved all of these for my son after my daughters finished reading them, and think he will love them just the same.

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1.) Henry and Mudge - This is a fun series about a boy (Henry) and his big dog (Mudge).  They have a variety of adventures, and the stories are just super fun.  All 3 of my kids enjoyed them so far.  They are more advanced than, say the Biscuit ones I listed below, and my kids really loved that they were their first introductions into a "chapter" book.  They definitely enjoyed reading a few chapters and placing a book mark in it like a big shot.  They are still great for very early readers, and don't use too many overly difficult words to tell the stories.  We always just took turns reading the pages of these, or snuggling in with our kids and helping when they got stuck on a word, and transitioning to these was a breeze.

2.) Biscuit - These are just a really good, basic, beginning reader book.  There are quite a few of them, and all of my kids have enjoyed them for the basic fact that the main character is a puppy.  The words and sentences are simply, easy to understand, and use a lot of the words they know in those very early stages of reading.  They have worked super well for all my kids so far as the next step after the Bob Books or Tug the Pup "I Can Read" books, and I have a big pile stashed aside in my toddler's closet for his turn learning to read with them!

3.) Elephant and Piggie - Okay, these ones aren't a leveled reader like some on the "I Can Read" or "Green Light Reader" books, that are clearly made for early level readers, and sorted out into "Level 1, Level 2, Level 3," etc., but I HAVE to add them in this list.  Mo Willems is like, our favorite around here, and all of his books are GOLD, clearly, but this series took on a whole new life with my 2nd grader Lulu.  She was slower to catch on with reading, or really just slower to enjoy it.  It was a struggle to get her to read because she wasn't finding it enjoyable, and wasn't a strong enough reader to read books that she found enjoyable, and it was a whole thing.  We had her in extra tutoring and really tried lots of approaches, and it just continues to boil down to... finding books she really enjoys.  Elephant and Piggie was the first of any books she had met that really took her in and she enjoyed it on a whole new level.  The very first book she read of the series sent her on a spree of re-reading it over and over, and then acting out each and every sentence in the book as she memorized it.  Since then, she has acquired every book in the series, and a few that she owns multiple copies of, thanks to owning the Elephant and Piggie Biggie, and then later this full set with bookends that she proudly displays in her bedroom.  These books are adorable and hilarious, and really turned this entire reading thing around for my little girl, so Mo Willems is basically a hero at my house.  I also can't think about these books without loving memories of a smaller version of Lulu, zooming around her bedroom, putting on a full production of I Am Invited to a Party!  She has also received the Elephant and Piggie Art-tivity book and LOOOOVED that as well.

4.)  Green Light Readers (Jasper & Joop, Gideon & Otto) - These Green Light Readers are super adorable.  We own the two listed above, and love them.  We have found them more frequently at the small town bookstore we love, or on Amazon.  I can't quite figure why they don't seem to be promoted as heavily as the "I Can Read" books that you find ALL OVER THE PLACE, at Target, in book orders, etc.  Amazon has lots and lots of them, and next time around, I may try to get more of these for my little guy to read with.  We really enjoyed them quite a bit more than some of the I Can Read books, which seem so heavily influenced by marketing and tv characters.  I mean, don't get me wrong, my kids love their Disney Princesses as well, but personally, I love the sweet characters in these books, and the levels/words used seemed to be more on par with my kids at each reading level.  Our reading tutor loved them, and promptly went to purchase quite a few for her kindergarten class. Check out these ones from the series as well: Gus, Gemma and Gus, Ollie the Stomper, and so many more cute ones!

5.) Little Bear - I may or may not be adding these to the list for myself.  I just love Little Bear and his friends.  I love the way the stories are written, and I think they make a fantastic bedtime story to lull you off into a dreamy land where a bear lives in a cottage with his Mama and Papa bear, and is friends with a duck, chicken, owl, cat, girl and her doll.  The cartoon has also been one of my favorites forever, so of course I jumped at any opportunity to read these books with my kids.  So fun, so sweet, such good lessons Little Bear learns and adventures to read about. Here are a few more in the series. Little Bears Visit, Little Bears Friend, A Kiss for Little Bear, Father Bear Comes Home.

Has your family loved any of the books on this list with your early readers? Are you like me, and prefer the ones that have a series to go with them?  We definitely read our fair share of stand alone early-reader books as well, but these became favorites repeatedly.  Do you have any more I should add to the list?  Finding good books during this stage of reading can be so tricky, and I love to have a whole bunch ready in my back pocket to request at the library or search for on Amazon to try to entice my kids to find some they love, and want to read themselves!  Leave some more ideas in the comments!

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