I’ve heard from so many parents that the thought of helping their child learn to read at home feels too daunting a task. They don’t know where to start…which resources to use…how to begin. A great place to start when you’ve made the important decision to help teach your child to read (or help reinforce reading skills being taught at school), is with easy readers.  Simple phonics based readers are phenomenal tools to begin/reinforce reading instruction with your child.

The Phonics Fun with Barbie book set from Scholastic and written by Jennifer Liberts Weinberg, features 12 leveled readers that your beginning reader will enjoy. Each book features a different vowel sound (ie- short a, long e, etc.), and is comprised of a solid mix of decodable words, sight words, and story words. Decodable words are words that your child can sound out, such as “cat”, “jet”, and “big.” Sight words are words that are frequently repeated in text, that your child should come to recognize by sight alone, such as “the,” “and,” and “is.” Story words are words that your child can decode based on picture and contextual cues, such as the words, “kites” and “surfers” in Book 8. Additionally, each book uses anticipatory text and repeating sentence structures to help your child build confidence as they learn to read. Through simple stories and repetitive language and sounds, children are able to predict the text, while using the story and picture cues to help decode any unknown words. As a former kindergarten teacher, I have used a TON of phonics readers. The Phonics Fun with Barbie book set stacks up to the readers put out with the heavy-hitters in literacy curriculum. Additionally, since these books feature a beloved character, even a child more hesitant to practice reading will want to use their new Barbie readers. Illustrator Karen Wolcott has captured Barbie and her friends in a fun and appealing way that will draw your beginning reader further into the text.

I was excited to let my daughter (5 and in preschool), begin working with the Barbie phonics readers. She was SO excited to see books featuring one of her favorite toys. Often times, the characters in phonics readers are not of high interest, so these were a welcome change for my daughter. While she was able to quickly read through many of the texts, these books make an excellent addition to her book box. (This is another reason why phonics readers are a great investment! Whether your child is JUST learning to read or whether they are already reading, phonics readers can help reinforce important reading skills!!!) For a beginning reader, the patterned text and mix of decodable/sight/story words will help build confidence and early reading skills. I also liked that Hannah was able to pick up several new words in each book. While she knew the sight words and could decode most of the words in the texts, each new Barbie book introduced several new words, keeping the books just challenging enough to hold her interest without frustrating her. For a child like my daughter who is already reading, these books are an excellent way to help build fluency. As she reads the familiar texts, her pace begins to quicken, and the “choppiness” that typically accompanies young readers begins to fade. As we finish each new book, they are added to Hannah’s box of familiar reads/books she can read independently and are being used to raise her fluency, continue to increase her confidence as a reader, and as tools to work on skills like expression, phrasing, and punctuation (ie- how your voice changes at a question mark/period/exclamation point).  Another great feature of these books is the handy parent guide that comes in the carrying case! The guide walks a parent through how to use the books with your child, providing ideas for things to do before, during, and after the reading of each new book. (And they are exactly the same strategies I employed in my kindergarten classroom! They work!)

If you have a little girl learning to read, or a little girl who wants to continue to build confidence and fluency, I recommend the Phonics Fun with Barbie book set! Your daughter will build important reading skills all while playing soccer, going camping, rocking out, and riding bikes with her favorite doll.

You can purchase the Phonics Fun with Barbie book set for your home or classroom through Scholastic. (This book was featured in the March edition of Scholastic’s See Saw flyer.)  As a teacher I loved distributing the Scholastic Book Club fliers each month, and am thrilled at the opportunity to continue to share Scholastic with friends and family now! Follow the link to the online flier, and check out the current book club fliers available! Current Scholastic Book Club Fliers Simply follow the link and click on “Browse Flyer” to start checking out all of the great books at affordable prices Scholastic has to offer!

*Scholastic graciously provided me with the Phonics Fun with Barbie book set.