Learning to Read with First Readers

We often get asked at the library, “what books will help my child learn to read?”

My answer is usually, “any and every book will help your child learn to read!” It’s true! The best way to jump-start learning to read is to make sure your child is interested in reading, books, language and stories from a very young age. I know that’s not exactly the answer parents/caregivers are looking for in this instance. Usually they are looking for books dedicated to phonics. Practice with these phonics skills – letter sounds, breaking words into smaller chunks, sight words – are incredibly important for building reading fluency and becoming life long readers. We’ve also got to keep in mind that every child develops skills differently and many struggle with the transition from listening and reading along to reading independently.  Struggles can feel especially overwhelming during the back to school season when there is a renewed interest in literacy and reading levels. But don’t worry, Heights Libraries is here to help!

Each branch has its own section of “first readers” divided into three subsections – F-A; F-B; F-C. These are your beginning to read books that focus on letter sounds and decoding words with a gradual increase in complexity. The “F” stands for fiction and the next letter indicates the level of difficulty.


Books usually have 1-2 sentences per page, are repetitive, and focus on sight words. Picture popular characters like Dick and Jane or Biscuit.



Books get a little tougher with more sentences and text, new vocabulary, and a more developed plot. Fly Guy, Elephant and Piggie, and classic P.D. Eastman titles can usually be found here.



Books are very short beginning chapter books with multiple stories, more complex plots and sentence structure, smaller fonts and pictures. Frog and Toad and Amelia Bedelia and Rocky and Daisy are great examples.



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