I’ve never had a neuro-typical reader, so I’m not sure how this works for other parents. It seems effortless! I see you in Barnes & Noble with your 5-year-old in the same section I am in with my 10-year-old ….
For me, it’s not easy.
Both of my kids have dyslexia to a degree (one mild, one severe) so we have not really followed the path of “typical.”
After trying these books with my non-typical readers, I was left with this expression …
I want to say up front that I have NOTHING against these books! So please don’t write me about how much you love them because we actually love to read all of them aloud as a family or via audiobook. And I know that typical to excelled readers need age-appropriate options too.
However, for struggling readers trying to make the jump into independent chapter books – they can be HARD and EXHAUSTING. It’s just different. To see what I mean, watch this video of my daughter (2nd grade at the time, mild dyslexia) trying to read both a Fancy Nancy level 1 book and then comparing that to a Billie B Brown book. (Note this video was from when I was way into Usborne, but I’ve found other books that work since then too, including several Scholastic books):
My oldest is now in 5th grade, so I’ve had a few years of practice in finding the PERFECT beginner chapter books for struggling readers. Ideally, I’ve found we need:
- less than 50 words per page
- large and clean font
- between 2-4 chapters total (to build confidence)
- shorter sentences AND
- words based mostly on phonics rather than whole-language.
Also, I’d love to hear the ones that worked for you as well! Comment below.