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Reading First Words

by Lynn Maslen Kertell


Your child has learned the alphabet. They know which letters represent which sounds. They have practiced blending sounds together. Now it is time for the exciting step of learning to read words! With all your preparation, the next step will be easy.


Practice for a few minutes the two-letter blending skill that your child now knows. If this is unfamiliar, refer to the previous two blog posts.


Having the right materials is very important. Books that use only consistent vowel sounds and three letter (C-V-C) words will make your child’s beginning reading experience fun and successful. Bob Books Beginning Readers were made for the moment when your child can blend sounds, but has not yet read a book. We recommend using Bob Books Beginning Readers, in the blue box.


The first book contains only four letters (m, a, t and s) and can be sounded out with all C-V-C words (plus the word “on”). The remaining books introduce all the letters of the alphabet, with consistent short vowel sounds and three-letter words: just what your child needs to feel confident while building reading skills.


To get started, sit with your child. Take out Book 1: Mat. You may read the title to your child, then turn to page 3. Point and ask your child to read the word to you! If they struggle, cover up at with your thumb, and ask them the SOUND of the first letter, mmm. You may now cover the m, and ask them the SOUND of the next two letters, at. Uncover the word, and ask them to blend the sounds together. Mat! Your child has read their first word.


On the next page – Mat sat. Pay attention to your child. Some kids need to repeat the cover/uncover exercise to help them get comfortable with blending. Sounding out can be slow. That is totally normal. Take your time and appreciate the process. Some kids will memorize the book very quickly. Keep them focused on the text on the page. You will be amazed as you watch your child discover the miracle of reading.

A few suggestions –


  • Give your child time to make an honest effort. You may help if they are struggling, but don’t jump in too quickly.
  • Call letters by their letter sound, not name.
  • Point to or cover/uncover letters to help with sounding out.
  • Read the book several times. The first time may be slow. As the child gets familiar with sounding out, and with the words in the book, they will read faster and with fluency.
  • Celebrate your child reading their first book!


Best wishes for a great experience for you and your young reader!


Find Bob Books and other ways to get children reading and enjoying it at!

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