A friend asked me recently if I thought Bob Books were a good idea for her kindergarten-age son to practice reading. Someone gave them to her, and her son loves reading and re-reading them, she explained.
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: As long as you understand that this kind of reading is only one part of the process.
Reading is made up of 5 component parts: phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
Bob books are an example of decodable texts, which just means that children can read them using the phonics skills they have been taught.
The cat sat on the mat.
The kid can swim with a fin.
Each book introduces specific sounds, along with a limited number of high-frequency words like on, and or the.
Bob Books are not the only choice for decodable books- there are plenty of decodable readers available online or in book stores. To be clear- this is not a sponsored post. I bought my own BOB books at Amazon and Costco.
Bob books allow children to develop skills in phonics and reading fluency. These skills are critically important for young readers. Most children just starting to understand phonics need a LOT of practice to master these skills in words and sentences. These texts provide opportunities for that kind of practice.
These books can also help with what some call the sixth component of reading: motivation. If your child is choosing to read and feeling good about it- yay! We are trying to develop READERS, and enjoying reading and feeling successful with books are important steps towards that goal.
Lastly, let's discuss convenience- one of the (sadly) most important factors in my life as Mom. Sets of decodable readers make things easy on parents. They come in order. You have the next level in a neat little box ready to go.
Child:"Mom, why did Mat sit on Sam?"
Mom: "Why does that look so... awkward?"
Decodable readers don't make a ton of sense. There isn't a lot of deeper comprehension work to be done like making inferences or comparing texts to life. This is especially true in the early stages, when the words a child can decode are very limited. There are only so many things Mat can do that involve short a sound words.
This is not necessarily a problem, as long as you are aware that this is a part of learning to read, not the whole package. Make sure that children are also reading or listening to a variety of non-decodable books to practice and develop comprehension strategies and build vocabularies.
At my house, my Kindergartener reads a decodable book to me every night. And then I read a regular book to him. Problem solved.
You, listening to your child plod through Jim can swim with a fin, after a long day. Stick it out. One day, this will be a distant memory. And you will get to listen to your child read Captain Underpants instead.
Do you use Bob Books at home? Do you have any follow up questions for the teacher? Leave a comment or ask the teacher a question. I look forward to hearing from you.