I recently ordered my daughter her first set of Bob books (Set 1: Beginning Readers). I remember a friend's daughter having these about 15 years ago, and I knew that they had worked well for another friend's child more recently. So when I saw the first set in the Scholastic Flyer, I decided to give it a try. And I'm glad that I did.
The Bob books, by Bobby Lynn Maslen and John R. Maslen, are very, very early readers. Sort of a newer generation of the Dick and Jane readers of my own childhood, I suppose. They are little paperback books, easy to hold, and come in boxed sets. The very first book, Mat, consists primarily of four letters (M, A, T, and S). There are short sentences like: "Mat sat." "Sam sat." "Sam sat on Mat." These simple words are accompanied by simple, minimally colored sketches.
Mat is the first book that my daughter read by herself. She admittedly needed a bit of help from her babysitter. But after sounding out the words on the first few pages, she started to get the hang of it (the same sounds keep repeating, after all). After she finished she came running up to my office:
"Mommy, I readed this whole reader book myself!"
She left my office (after much praise) with these words:
"I'm so proud of myself!"
And that is the beauty of the Bob books. Giving kids a feeling of accomplishment as they take these little steps along the path to literacy.
I started working through the second book in the set with her a bit later the same day, but she grew frustrated fairly quickly, and so we put the book aside. I want it to be fun, after all. She has shown no further interest in the Bob books over the past few days, but her general interest in being read to remains high. She's also been pretending to read another book that she knows pretty much by heart.
I think it's safe to say that we'll be spending more time with the Bob books in the coming weeks or months. And Mat will always hold a special place in our household, as the first book my daughter "readed" herself.
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