In the interest of full disclosure, Scholastic sent me sets two through five of the Bob Books for me to review. I received no compensation, and all opinions are my own.
I first found the Bob books by Bobby Lynn Maslen over two years ago. When I discovered that Mister Man had started to teach himself to read (yeah, I'm a great mom - a doctor he's never met before figures out he knows how to read and I have no idea) and was interested in improving his skills. I went to the library to ask for suggestions on what to use to help him learn to read more, and the Bob books were their suggestion.
He was immediately hooked on reading (and still is, for that matter), and he loved that he could read the first book himself. Once he figured out how to sound out words and then slide them together, we were good to go. The first book only required that he be able to know the sounds for M, A, T, and S - and yes, you can actually write a book with those few letters!
These aren't the Dick and Jane books I grew up with - longer words, extremely repetitive, and no story. Instead, the Bob books build each book with new sounds (usually 2-4 new sounds per book) with the stories growing more complex and longer as the child continues in the series. By the beginning of set 2, you're reading about a family that goes to the beach for the day.
With Mister Man, he read at least one book every day before bedtime, and we zoomed through all five sets in just over a month, and he's never looked back. The day he finished the last one, he got to go to the library to get his own card.
I've been telling everyone I know about Bob Books since then, and I know quite a few people in my area who have used them. In fact, Little Miss's preschool has ordered them for this fall to start using for the older preschoolers who show an interest.
Earlier this year, Little Miss expressed interest in reading, too. She - of course - is jealous that Mister Man can do it and she can't. While I absolutely do not believe in pushing any child to read or in drilling them, she knew her letter sounds and wanted to read, too.
We went to the library to get the Bob books for her. And most of them were checked out. Yikes! We put set one on hold and within a couple weeks, she was able to start her trek. She isn't nearly as adept at academics as Mister Man is - and we know that. But she's really reading!
Scholastic luckily sent me the remainder of the Bob books, since the end of the school year through the first few months of the new school year is dicey at our library now. Everyone has those books checked out!
Little Miss still uses her sounding slide to figure out many of the words, but it's amazing the progress she's made. When she wants to read them (and she doesn't always!), she'll read two or three of them at a time. Because they really build on each other with repeating sight words and sounds, I can see the difference when she reads books several days in a row versus when she takes a break from the Bob books and just has me read other books to her.
She's making great progress and is now onto much more - relatively - complex books. The books continue to be relatively short to avoid frustrating her or losing her attention, so she feels a real accomplishment every time she reads "The End" on the last page.
Pretty soon, we'll be taking Little Miss to the library to get her own card, and again, I'm giving the Bob books the majority of the credit (Little Miss gets the rest!).
And one of you will receive the My First Bob Books Alphabet for your pre-reader. Again, this is a series divided into twelve short books that introduce the letters of the alphabet and their sounds to build phonemic awareness.
So what do you have to do?
First of all, let me stress that you must follow all the rules. If you do not follow the rules, your entry will not count!
This contest is open until Tuesday July 20 at 7pm CST. I must have a valid way to reach you, so leave me your email address in your comment or be sure your profile has your email address visible. No duplicate comments will count. This giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older. Winners will be selected via random.org and must respond within 48 hours of being notified by me or I will select a new winner.
Mandatory Entry: What was your favorite book to read as a child?
Bonus Entries (leave a comment for each entry - if you put it all in one comment, I'll count it as one entry):
1) Earn one additional entry for following me on Twitter and tweeting this contest (leave a link to your tweet as your comment).
2) Earn one additional entry by following this review blog publicly via Google Friend Connect.
3) Earn one additional entry by following my “regular” blog Honest & Truly! publicly via Google Friend Connect.