MotherTalk Blog Book Tour: BOB Books

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As many of you know, I’m writing this from a fast-food restaurant in a small town in southwest Montana. We’re on vacation, and even when on vacation, the kids still “do school.” It’s one of the advantages of homeschooling…we can pack it up and take it with us.

This particular trip will stay in my memory as the week Bennett began learning to read. I think the accomplishment belongs entirely to him: but two things helped him along the way. His big brother Carter, whom he emulates in all possible ways, loves to read; and at the last minute, I thought to bring along the BOB Books, to see if he might be interested/ready for them.

It’s a bit of a mystery how Carter came to love reading. With him, I used a book that promised to teach reading in “100 Easy Lessons.” I was a beginning homeschool mom and I liked the idea of the easy lessons. Everything was set out for me and Carter; all we had to do was one lesson each day. It was a phonics-based program and while there were many things that I liked about it, there was very little that Carter liked. To this day, he calls it “that big yellow book that made me cry.”

He’s right. It was a big yellow book, awkward for his little hands. And it often made him cry, which no mama likes to see. It made me cry a little, too.

When we had the twins, and we later decided to continue homeschooling, I knew I wanted to try something different. I’d heard that children with Down syndrome didn’t respond well to phonics-based programs, and I’d had some early successes with Avery using a program called “Love and Learning.” Both Avery and Bennett became disinterested in L&L, though, and I needed something new.

My sister-in-law, and my homeschooling friend Phyllis, had both recommended the BOB Books. They are a series of short, child-sized books that introduce reading through simple pictures and gentle stories. The books are easy to read, and the black-and-white illustrations do not cause any distraction from the words.

I began reading these little books just a few days ago, with both Bennett and Avery. Each boy enjoyed sitting in my lap, and paid attention to the words and the stories. But with Bennett, I saw a little light in his eyes. One that I recognize from Carter. Bennett is beginning to understand that the squiggly lines we call letters can join together to make words that a person can understand and even say aloud. He’s learning to read.

I am confident that Avery will follow. My life as his mama has shown me that he accomplishes his goals in his own time, and I don’t think he’s realized yet that he wants to read. But he will. As soon as Bennett has mastered it, Avery will want to, too. Like in all things, Bennett is Avery’s sun and moon.

And more: when Avery was first diagnosed, there was a comment made about how sad it was, that Avery would never be able to read any of his father’s or my books. After I got over the initial sting of that comment, I resolved to do everything in my power to make sure that it didn’t come true. The BOB Books are a powerful tool to help me and Avery.

Because of this, I feel an overwhelming mama-gratitude to the good people at Scholastic, who have reissued the BOB Books. At our house, they have replaced the big yellow book that made everyone cry.

I have a set of BOB Books: Set 1, For Beginning Readers that I want to share. If you’re interested, leave your name in the comments and I’ll do a drawing when we get home.

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31 thoughts on “MotherTalk Blog Book Tour: BOB Books

  1. Hi- I have never read your site before, but as I start reading I come across the Bob Books! Just last week I coveted them at Barnes and Noble, but couldn’t quite jusify the expense right now. Put me down as interested~ even if I don’t win, I promise to keep reading!

  2. I just LOVE those BOB books! We have the whole set (so I don’t need to win them, LOL). They were great when my 6 year old was just starting to read. I was wondering how they would work with my 3 year old w/DS. I’ve always thought that sight words (not phonics) was the way to start? Of course, Kayla’s still totally nonverbal due to autism, so I have no idea how we will even approach reading. 😦

  3. I am interested in the drawing for the BOB books too! I hope you are having a great vacation. I just recently started reading your blog regularly. I greatly enjoy it! I often post on downsyn.com.

  4. Oooh oooh!! Please put us in for the drawing! My little girl is learning to read, and I have been looking for something like this. They aren’t bad priced though. Sounds like a great gift idea for her!!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Once again….. MOO.

  5. Please put us in for the drawing. I’ve been struggling with how to motivate The Biscuit to read and so want to see that light in his eyes. I learned to read when I was 3 and really have no clue how I did it… other than it is what my dad did and I wanted to copy him. I want to homeschool my kids but really don’t know how I’ll manage. I would love to try this out as a start!

  6. Both my older two learned to read with Bob books. We have all the sets so don’t put us in the drawing. But, they are great and the kids loved them. Need to pull them out soon for Nicky.

  7. We homeschool, and I’m teaching my middle one to read this year. He getting the hang of it, but I think these would be great practice! Put my name in please! Thanks!

  8. Thanks for the tip! W.W. is really getting the hang of identifying pictures in his books. He’ll spend 30 minutes sitting and looking at the pictures and trying to pick out ones he knows. He’s word stringing like crazy.

    I was wondering about good ways to start teaching him to read and the BOB books do look good.

  9. The idea of any of my kids NOT loving to read made me sad, long before Down syndrome was in the picture. What if I got a kid who wasn’t a reader? How would I deal with that? Luckily, so far, they both seem to love books.

  10. Of course Avery will read your and Tom’s work – how could he not?? Thanks for mentioning the Bob books – I would love to check them out. We are ‘teaching’ Hannah lots of preliteracy at the moment – a combination of sight words, lotto games and a few key letters for phonics – there is some research that suggests that it is helpful for DS kids reading as it is for ‘typical’ ones. I can look the references up if you are interested. Our ST gives the phonics lessons at the moment – they help with articulation too – a ‘sign’ is given to indicate a different sound – and this can be used to assist the child pronounce difficult words later on (Downsed UK has some info on this). We just use about 5 letters that are the ones they say earlier or are the first letter of her friends’ names. Bath crayons is when Hannah is more motivated to do her letters.

  11. Elcie has a learning disability along with her spastic diplegia and there was a time when we weren’t sure she’d ever master reading and writing.

    She did, of course and I’ll have faith that your guy will as well.

    Enjoy your vacation!!

  12. Hope you’re having a good trip! We have the first set of Bob books, so don’t put me in for the drawing. We don’t homeschool, but I taught my oldest son to read. We used the Bob books, and he loved them. Being able to read each tiny book gave him such a feeling of accomplishment. But we also used the big yellow book you mentioned, and he did well with that one too…no tears! I hope to use both with our middle son this year, before he enters kindergarten.

  13. My 4th-grader with DS already reads my “books,” in manuscript. She’s never actually finished one (they’re 100,000 words! For adults!), but she’s read three chapters at a time, and more.

    Avery will too.

    (BTW, I’m past 1st grade and don’t homeschool, so don’ put my name in.)

  14. Will is so on the cusp of learning words, so I would simply love to try these out. Thanks for the recommendation (and the giveaway!). And happy homeschooling vacation!

  15. Ooh, we’re interested too. My almost 4yo is just starting to make those reading connections, and her big sister and I find it most exciting.
    Hope you’re having a great vacation!

  16. Oh, so glad to hear the vacation is going well! McDonald’s? Who knew?

    I’m always interested in books–free ones, especially, but I think these are on the Scholastic order form that came home from school this week…so I’ll buy a set and leave the giveaway to someone else.

    Miss you!!!

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