My favorite books for new readers


I have a little bit of an obsession with first-reader books. There are so many options out there, but I struggled a lot to find books that were true phonics readers. There are many books labeled phonics readers that are full of words that are not really phonetic. Especially at the very beginning, my kids found that so frustrating!

This is a list of my very favorite phonics books and first-chapter books that I have used with my kids. I consistently go back to these as each of my kids reaches this level. If you are interested in any of the books and want to actually see what they’re like, Amazon has a look-inside feature for many of them. I like to read a few pages to get a feel for a kid’s book before buying it, so I love it when that is available.

Very first phonics readers

These are books that don’t require knowing prior knowledge other than basic letter sounds.


Starfall Learn to Read

These books are the same stories you can find for free on Starfall’s website, which is a great way to check them out before buying them. These are also my son’s very favorite phonics readers.


View this item: Starfall Learn to Read
start to read pack

Usborne Very First Reading Set

My kids loved reading these books! They have a parent page followed by a child page. My kids really enjoyed that we took turns reading, and the parent pages help the story to be a little more complex than just purely phonics readers. Sadly, these are rather expensive, but if you can afford it they really are great.

View this item: Usborne Very First Reading Set

Next step in phonics readers

These are books that still have a few words per page, but also have more advanced phonics or sight words.

Usborne Phonics readers

Usborne Phonics Readers

These are the books that started my love for Usborne. I had found a book at a yard sale and it ended up being the exact kind of phonics reader I had been looking for. Usborne also sells a combined volume with 12 of their phonics readers for much cheaper than buying them separately.

View this item: Usborne Phonics Readers
elephant & piggie

Elephant and Piggie Books

While these are not phonics readers, I have found that, once my kids are at this stage of reading, these books are some of their favorites to read. Every now and then I need to help with a few words, but overall they quickly read these on their own. One of my boys still struggles with reading a lot of words at one time so I often let him choose to read the part from either Piggie or Gerald and I will read the other.

View this item: Elephant and Piggie Books

First Chapter Books

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