Those sly grins said it all--I'm proud. As I pointed to the words and they read them or sounded them out or we used the pictures as clues, my RtI students were reading a book. Finishing a book without struggling and constantly asking what a word was ended up being such a success for them. I wish they could always have these small successes. At the same time, wishing they would always choose a just right book instead of feeling the need to pick what every one else does in class. That is why I'm glad I have such a special opportunity to tutor them at the end of the day.
I've been recommending Brand New Readers since I've worked at Borders. They have been my favored alternative to other phonics based reading books. They are staple-bound books that have full-color illustrations and a short story using common sight words for kindergarten and first graders. The stories also use repetitive language for the students to be able to recognize words on each page. The illustrations are designed to provide context clues to aid the students.
The stories are in the genres of humor, realistic fiction, and fantasy. My students enjoy the ones about Worm, Piggy, Bear, Tabby Cat, Mouse, and Winnie. I know...you're thinking, isn't that all the books?! Nope...but it's enough of them to show you just how much my students in kindergarten and first grade enjoy these titles. They are entertained and feel success, so they want to read these books.
You can try out a few online at the Brand New Readers website.
Cover images from candlewick.com