How it Works

Bob Books early readers were designed to provide the path for children who are ready to take their first steps into reading.

The Foundation Sets work together progressively, so that as your child learns to read each book, his or her confidence and ability grows. If your child is not ready for reading, My First Bob Books build pre-reading skills. ​

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Once you have your first Bob Books set, follow these steps for success:

Welcome to Bob Books! Enjoy these tips for helping your child learn to read.  

Be ready to spend some quality time with your child. Sitting closely and comfortably will create warm feelings as you enjoy the reading process.

Your praise is very important to your child. Notice the good job your child is doing, and focus on the positive.

Bob Books Set 1 has a sounds dictionary at the beginning of each book. Use the dictionary to help your child get familiar with the sounds and letters she will read.

This very simple tip will help your child sound out a word, and learn to read from left to right.

The fun of learning to read is enjoying the story. Have a good time with your child’s joy and discovery, while the story comes to life.

At Bob Books, we emphasize that learning to read should be gentle and easy. This means that letters and concepts are introduced slowly and in a way that kids can understand, with plenty of repetition and opportunity for success. Learning to read is surprisingly complex, but Bob Books sets progress gradually and gently. They were truly designed to meet very, very beginning readers where they are.

Feeling overwhelmed with the task of teaching your child to read?

The good news is that you don't have to know reading theory to use Bob Books. Teaching your child to read using Bob Books will not feel like teaching. As you read the stories together and talk about the books, your child is learning.

Don't Push

Not all children are ready to read at the same age. Be sensitive to your child’s learning style and reading readiness. Practice together, sounds out words and play games. Take many small steps, and be patient. One day you’ll be surprised and delighted to discover your child is taking steps to be a reader.

This is easy!

A confident reader is a reader for life. That's why Bob Books sets were designed to give your child early reading confidence - so that they will love to read!

Make it FUN!

Other early literacy programs can teach your child to “memorize” words or “perform” reading well, but Bob Books is not meant to be a chore. Best of all, there are so many ways to make it enjoyable for your child. Try the activities that come with the sets, use silly voices while reading together and make up songs. If you need even more ideas, check our Fun Activities page.

Buy Bob Books® and help your child take the first steps into reading!

Bob Books sets are an ideal investment for any preschool or kindergarten literacy curriculum. They are cost effective tools with a teaching method that is flexible enough to accommodate many different homeschooling styles. Bob Books has been recommended in many guides for homeschoolers, including: Books to Build On and The Well-Trained Mind

Steps to try

Here are steps, some excerpted from The Well-Trained Mind, to use Bob Books as part of your homeschooling routine:

Once you have determined that your child is ready to begin reading, start with Bob Books Set 1: Beginning Readers. Reading together for short periods of time on a daily basis builds progress steadily.
You may find that you want to supplement your reading time with daily reading drills. Typically, 10 minutes is a good length of time to practice reading with drills.
Go slowly through Bob Books, allow plenty of repetition, and reread the stories until your child is completely comfortable with the sounds and their combination into words.
Let your child read Bob Books at his own pace. If he gets stuck on a word, sound it out for him and then move on.
If you get to a word that uses a rule that your child hasn’t learned yet, tell him the rule and keep going.

Remember that Bob Books are sequential, so once your child has mastered all of the books in a set, you may move on to the next set. By the time your child has mastered all of the sets, he will have built a strong foundation upon which to build more advanced curriculum.

Make an investment in your child's future and give him a gift that will last a lifetime. Buy Bob Books today!

Teaching Reading with Bob Books

One Bob Books fan created an excellent site to explain how parents might use Bob Books to teach reading. This thoughtful system and resources teach reading using Bob Books in an organized way. Visit Teaching Reading with Bob Books for inspiration.

Using Games and Activities

Many home educators and preschool teachers have created games and activities to complement our books. We would love to know how you use Bob Books, and about any fun games or supplemental materials that support your path toward early reading. Please visit our Fun Activities page and leave us your tips! You may also follow @thebobbooks on Pinterest and tag us in your literacy-related pins.

Bob Books Editions Chart

We realize that home educators tend to pass around and resell older editions of Bob Books. For that reason, we created a chart to help you see how all sets of Bob Books relate to our current editions. Note: our winning formula has never changed; only our packaging and colors are updated on occasion.

View Chart

Bob Books was created by an educator who understood exactly how children learn. She saw a need for an early reading program that met children where they were on the very beginning stages of literacy. At that time, there was nothing like Bob Books Set 1: Beginning Readers. The books were field tested for years with Bobby Maslen's students. That's right! Bob Books was first used in the classroom, not at home.

Learn More about the Bob Books Sets:

My First Bob Books sets build pre-reading skills as students listen to, and talk about, simple, amusing stories about animals and children. My First Bob Books: Alphabet builds phonemic awareness and early phonics concepts; introducing 26 upper and lower case letters, using repetitive letter sounds. My First Bob Books: Pre-Reading Skills introduces matching, sorting, classifying, patterning, and sequencing to build pre-reading skills.

My First Bob Books: Pre-Reading Skills

In 12 small books that are 12 pages each, short stories engage students while purposefully focusing on pre-reading skills. Each book in the set is perfect for class or small group “Read Alouds,” in which students can discuss the Pre-Reading Skills introduced, which include:

  • Identifying basic shapes in preparation for letter recognition
  • Sorting, classifying and symbol identification to build important problem-solving skills
  • Recognizing simple patterns to create awareness of letter groups and sight words
  • Sequencing to strengthen the ability to predict how stories flow

My First Bob Books: Alphabet

In 12 small books with 12 pages each, playful animals and foods represent each letter sound, inviting students to repeat beginning sounds while identifying both upper case and lower case letters. The words, which represent each featured letter, are listed on the back page of each book, for use by the teacher. My First Bob Books: Alphabet guides students through these phonemic and then phonetic awareness stages:

  • Realizing that written language represents spoken language.
  • Learning the names of the letters
  • Realizing that letters represent sounds
  • Learning which letters represent which sounds

Bob Books Foundational Sets were created as a step-by-step sequential phonetic reading series to guide young children through the early stages of reading. Vocabulary for each of the Foundational Bob Books is listed inside the back cover. The number of words, the complexity of the words, and the intricacy of the plots increase with each numbered Bob Book and then with each subsequent Set.

Note: By the end of first grade, Common Core Standards assert that students should be reading at 300L. By the end of second grade, students should be reading at 500L to be career and college ready.

Bob Books Set 1: Beginning Readers

There are 12 books in Set 1, each written in all C-V-C words and short sentences, encouraging young readers to segment words into three parts, as they begin the process of sounding out words. A few letters are added in each sequentially ordered book, with only five sight words introduced in the whole set. As the books progress, all letters of the alphabet (except Q) are introduced with consistent sounds throughout. Each book has a "sounds/picture" dictionary inside the front cover to introduce readers to each letter. By the end of Bob Books Set 1, students will have read 22 different words per book.

GRL: A, B, and C ∙ Lexile Level: BR – 180, with book #8 leveled at 290.

Bob Books Set 2: Advancing Beginners

The second set of Bob Books continues to use three-letter words and consistent short vowel and consonant sounds. In Set 2, students practice their C-V-C words, learn more sight words and read longer sentences. All of the words contained in each book are printed in the back under short vowel sounds. The sight words are also in the back of each book to help teachers easily choose which words to introduce, before students begin to read. By the end of Bob Books Set 2, students are reading 41 different words in a book.

GRL: C, D plus one (#2) level E ∙ Lexile Levels: BR – 130, with one book (#7) at 240 and one (#12) at 380

Bob Books Set 3: Word Families

The eight books in Bob Books Set 3 provide children with humorous stories that have more words and longer sentences. This set of books introduces beginning and ending consonant blends, double consonants, long vowel teams, silent -e, and -ed. It contains mostly one syllable words, with only one or two, two-syllable words per book. Bob Books Set 3 has a vocabulary list in the back of each book, including sight words students will encounter as they read. By the end of Bob Books Set 3, students are reading 94 different words per book.

GRL: D, E, F ∙ Lexile Level: 130L – 310L

Bob Books Set 4: Complex Words

In Set 4, stories are longer, use more complex vocabulary, and introduce more complicated phonics patterns. Bob Books Set 4 continues with short vowels, adding short and long vowel teams, silent -e, colors as sight words, "Qu," blends and endings like -ed and -er. Most pages have three sentences. There are 16 pages in books 1-4 and 24 pages in books 5-8. A glossary of "blends," "vowel teams/combinations" and "new endings" is at the back of each book.

GRL: E, F, G ∙ Lexile Levels: 20L – 470L

Bob Books Set 5: Long Vowels

Set 5 prepares students for the leap to chapter books by covering vowel teams, more consonant blends, as well as endings -ing, -ong and -ang.  This set includes up to 10 word sentences, with three to four sentences per page. Again, a glossary of phonics concepts added is listed on the back page of each book. These books are great for use in small groups, as teachers prepare students for reading by introducing vocabulary and decoding skills.

GRL: G, H, I ∙ Lexile Levels: 110L – 560L

Bob Books Sight Words: Kindergarten

In the first of two Bob Books Sight Words sets, students will read simple stories decoding C-V-C words with consistent short vowels. After children master the first two sets of Bob Books, they can easily decode most of the words in these longer stories. Each Sight Words book adds three sight words with plenty of repetition and context clues. With Bob Books Sight Words: Kindergarten, students will master thirty early sight words. The sight words in this set are high frequency words, easy to spell, with four letters or less. Inside the front cover is a list of the three sight words introduced in each book.

Inside the box you'll find:

  • 10 books, 12 pages each
  • 3 new sight words introduced in each book
  • All stories told in 1 to 4 letter words, with 2-5 word sentences
  • All words have consistent short vowels
  • Context clues and illustrations give sight word hints
  • 30 two-sided, sight word flash cards

Sight words introduced in Bob Books Sight Words: Kindergarten:

  • after
  • as
  • can
  • did
  • not
  • off
  • down
  • fly
  • get
  • go
  • on
  • over
  • goes
  • had
  • has
  • home
  • ran
  • saw
  • in
  • is
  • jump
  • look
  • see
  • she
  • some
  • they
  • to
  • was
  • went
  • who

Lexile Range: BR - 270L ∙ GR Level: B - C

Bob Books Sight Words: First Grade

In Bob Books Sight Words: First Grade, students read three, four and five letter words with short vowels. After children master the first two Foundational Sets of Bob Books, and Sight Words: Kindergarten, students can easily decode most of the words in these longer stories. Sight Words: First Grade includes plenty of repetition and context clues for young readers. The 10 books in this set provide 30 additional sight words, in longer stories, which build confidence and success as the student progresses. The three new sight words introduced in each book are listed inside the front cover.

Inside the box you'll find:

  • 10 books, 12 pages each
  • Stories with up to 8 word sentences
  • Stories told in 3, 4 and 5 letter words, plus some 6 letter sight words
  • Consistent short vowels, which ease decoding
  • 3 new sight words introduced in each book
  • Context clues and illustrations, for easy sight word mastery
  • 30 two-sided, sight words flash cards

Sight words introduced in Bob Books Sight Words: First Grade:

  • a
  • are
  • ate
  • before
  • bring
  • come
  • find
  • good
  • he
  • into
  • like
  • little
  • long
  • she
  • said
  • that
  • too
  • under
  • what
  • will
  • with
  • you
  • make
  • new
  • pretty
  • now
  • said
  • old
  • my
  • she
  • play
  • than

Lexile Range:  30L - 390L ∙ GR Level:  C – D

Classroom Suggestions

Bob Books supports a Balanced Literacy approach to reading in the primary classroom. Here are six ways that you can integrate Bob Books into your current reading curriculum:

As with any trade books, Bob Books Set 1 through Set 5, and the Bob Books Sight Words sets can be part of your classroom's leveled library. Find out the level of each book, and details about the sequence of each set, on our books page. We have matched our books according to both the GRL and the Lexile scales.
Bob Books can be used to focus on particular reading skills with a small group of students; from learning phonemes (My First Bob Books: Alphabet), decoding CVC words (Bob Books Set 1 and Set 2) and learning new vocabulary (Sight Words sets), to reading for fluency and comprehension (Bob Books Sets 3, 4 and 5).
My First Bob Books: Pre-Reading Skills provides 12 books which introduce early concepts of print, matching, sorting, patterning, and sequencing skills to use with small groups, or projected with a large group.
The Bob Books Foundational Sets 1, 2 and 3 are particularly good for use in Shared Reading, as the number of words on a page, and the complexity of the phonics concepts, gradually build from simple to more challenging. With Bob Books, young readers can be consistently successful as they read along with a group.
Each set of Bob Books, including the Sight Words sets and the My First Bob Books sets have learning targets that early readers need to master.
The Foundational Bob Books Sets 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, each contain 8-12 small books. They introduce a progression of phonics skills, useful in modeling phonetics in small or large group settings.

Bob Books were designed to help children achieve early reading success, setting a foundation for a lifetime of strong literacy skills. We believe that our method of meeting children exactly where they are on their path to reading is the easiest and most successful method, versatile enough to use both at home and in the classroom. Learn more about Bob Books sets, their sequence and level equivalents here.

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