Easy Reader Books Based on Phonics

If your child is learning to read with phonics at school, or you are teaching them at home using this method, it makes sense to use easy reader books which support phonics teaching.

easy reader books

These books help your child to practice specific phonics rules by containing words which can be sounded out using these rules. If your child comes across a word they do not know they can decode it by breaking the word down into units (or phonemes) and blending together the sounds of each of these units.

While phonics-based easy reader books are perfect for practicing phonics rules, the vocabulary can sound strange at times when the author uses a word which follows a particular phonics rule, rather than choosing the most appropriate word. There is also the risk that your child focuses so much on decoding the words that they start to lose the meaning of what they are reading.

If you find this is a problem, try reading authentic text easy reader books alongside phonics books. These are written without any specific phonics rules in mind and, through repeated readings, are a good way of building up your child's ability to recognise words by sight. They will eventually need to do this in order to read fluently.

It is helpful to think of phonics-based easy reader books in two categories:

  • The first category contains series of books which are designed to introduce the phonics sounds to your child in a gradual and systematic way.
  • The second category assumes that your child already has a knowledge of the basic phonics rules, and provides practice in the use of these rules in engaging stories.

You can read more about each of these categories of phonics books below, together with a selection of my favourite easy reader books in each category.

Phonics Books For Introducing and Practicing Sounds

In these easy reader books new phonic sounds are introduced gradually into the books as you work through the series. Lots of repetition of these new sounds within each story helps children to practice sounding out the sounds and memorise the phonics rules. These books tend to be grouped into levels and there are multiple books per level to provide maximum practice. Mostly they assume your child already knows the sounds made by the consonants.

As a result of the gradual introduction of sounds, these books, particularly those in the early stages of the series, tend to have short, choppy sentences with unusual words and less flow than regular books. Some children can be put off by this since it doesn't seem like they are reading a proper story. However, on the plus side, your child should gain confidence as they find they are able to read most of the words they come across.

Now I'm Reading

Now I'm Reading Now I'm Reading book depository amazon is a popular series of easy reader books in the US based on phonics. There are four levels, with three books at level 1, two at level 2 and one book each at levels 3 and 4. Each book contains ten humorous stories that have a main character and a complete plot line. Each story focuses on a different sound, pattern, or skill and each level builds on the last. For example, Level 1 uses simple, repetitive text focusing on short-vowel sounds, simple consonant sounds and a few sight words. Level 2 introduces long vowel sounds and Level 3 introduces new vowel sounds, consonant blends and double consonants. Read More

Bob Books

Bob Books Bob Books book depository amazon from Scholastic contain short stories that introduce sounds in a systematic way as well as common sight words. The series comes in five sets on three different levels. Each set contains 8-12 books for the child to read, with a line or two of text per page. The first set focuses on the letters of the alphabet, short-vowel sounds and a few sight words. The second set reinforces what was learned in the first set with more text per page, more plurals, more sight words, and a few blends. Subsequent sets introduce more blends, compound words and sight words with longer text. Read More

Starfall’s Learn-to-Read

Starfall’s Learn-to-Read Each story in Starfall's Learn to Read book depository amazon phonics series features a specific short-vowel, long-vowel or another basic reading rule. All of the stories can be read interactively on-line at Starfall's popular website, complete with the introduction of the sound at the beginning of the book in a catchy song. Or, if your child prefers to hold a physical book in their hand, you can buy a boxed set of all 15 books.

LeapFrog Tag Learn to Read Phonics Book Series

LeapFrog Tag Learn to Read For those with LeapFrog Tag Readers, your child can now use their reader with the LeapFrog Tag Learn to Read Phonics Book Series amazon of easy reader books. Fun stories are combined with rich audio to help children identify letter sounds and hear how they come together to form words. There are four sets, with six books in each set. Each set introduces a different series of skills: short vowels, long vowels, consonants and advanced vowels.

Oxford Read Tree's "Floppy's Phonics"

Floppy's Phonics Oxford Reading Tree is currently a very popular teaching resource in UK schools and one of the synthetic phonics programmes they offer is Floppy's Phonics book depository. Each Floppy Phonics book is matched to the introduction of clearly defined sounds and is fully decodable so your child can practise their phonics skills at home. The engaging stories all involve the same set of characters who many children grow to love. By purchasing the 'Read At Home' series of books you can be sure that your child will not read these particular titles at school.


Songbirds Oxford Reading Tree's Songbirds book depository is another synthetic phonics programme offered by Oxford Reading Tree and features stories by the best-selling author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson. The easy reader books provide a systematic introduction of sounds via enjoyable storylines featuring a variety of characters.

Phonics Books for Practicing Sounds

The following easy reader books focus more on practicing phonic sounds rather than learning them from scratch. They often still come in a series, and it may be that certain books in the series focus on certain phonic rules. However, there is a lot less repetition than in those books specifically designed to introduce sounds to your child. It is assumed that your child already has a knowledge of the basic phonics rules and the purpose of these books is just to provide further practice.

Usborne Phonics Stories for Young Readers

Usborne Phonics Stories for Young Readers Usborne Phonics Stories for Young Readers book depository amazon is a collection of 12 engaging stories about different animals which largely contain words which can be sounded out using basic phonics rules, although some irregular words are also included. Each book contains a range of different phonic sounds which your child should be familiar with before reading these books. You can buy stories individually, which have fold-out flaps, or as a collection.

Usborne Very First Reading

Usborne Very First Reading Usborne Very First Reading book depository is a series of carefully structured easy reader books based on the principles of synthetic phonics. The first books start by introducing simple letter sounds and later books progress to more complex sounds, tricky spelling patterns and longer words. The stories are imaginative and well illustrated in hardback books. In the first seven books, you take turns reading with your child, with your part becoming smaller as the books progress until by the eighth book your child is reading on their own. Puzzles are provided at the back of each book to reinforce new skills. My son and I loved these books, but did find that one book wasn't enough at each stage to fully embed the rules introduced. I now see that Usborne have introduced new titles which sit alongside the first seven books. Read More

Jolly Readers

Jolly Readers Jolly Phonics is a popular synthetic phonics programme in the UK used to teach small children the basic phonic letter sounds using fun actions. Jolly Readers book depository are decodable books which practice and build on this basic sound knowledge. They are available in four levels with three series at each level containing fiction and non-fiction stories. The first level starts by practicing the 42 letter sounds first taught in Jolly Phonics and introduces some sight words. Long vowels and other alternative vowel spellings are introduced in later levels. Read More

Superhero Phonic Readers

Superhero Phonic Readers Superhero Phonic Readers book depository from Ladybird books are a series of 10 exciting books for children who have completed their initial phonics learning and are ready to read books with an increasingly wide vocabulary. Your child starts at level one and gradually progresses through the series. Each story is about a different superhero and is a bit longer than the last, using more advanced vocabulary. Special 'Superhero Secrets' puzzle pages at the back of each book help build comprehension skills.

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