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One of the most rewarding steps in our homeschooling journey has been tackling the task of learning how to read. Also, the most mind-numbing step in our homeschooling journey has been tackling the task of teaching a kid to read. Do you remember sitting on the couch, wishing you could tape your eyelids open so that you don’t fall asleep as the early reader slowly sounds out each letter? How can something so magical also be so torturous at the same time?

After surviving the arduous task of early phonetic readers the first two times, I have stumbled upon an amazing discovery at our local library. To me, this discovery is as important at the gems and jewels found when they discovered King Tut’s tomb. Are you ready for this?

A few patient and kind children’s book writers took it upon themselves to create non-mind-numbing easy readers. These books are big like real books. They have hardback covers and real glossy pictures that are cute and colorful. The stories are more than somewhat interesting. The words are just right for my last beginning reader. The clouds opened and angels can be heard singing! Here are my current favorites.

My Trucks by Kirsten Hall, part of her My First Reader Collection. In each of her early reader books, Hall lists the words that are used in her book. Even without knowing all of the words on the list for the particular book, a new reader can begin to identify a few words on each page while the adult fills in the harder or unknown words.

Pet Your Pet by Dana Meachen Rau, part of the A Compass Point Early Reader. This particular book is level B, but it still easy enough for a beginning phonics reader to pull out a few of the words on each page.

Fox on a Box by Phil Cox and Stephen Cartwright, part of the Usborne Phonics Readers Series. We have a number of books in this series and all are of them are excellent. I enjoy these because the books feel substantial (they will hold up to my three wild animals) and follow and enjoyable storyline.

I will continue to pass through the typical BOB Book sets and the occasional I Can Read the book when the character is just too exciting for my kids, but I am so glad to have found some enjoyable books that make reading fun for both my child and myself. Nothing is worse than your kid finding you sound asleep only three pages into their reading practice.

What great books have you found that make helping an early reader stay engaged and enthusiastic about reading? What books will you never pick up again? Share your knowledge!

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at