Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life Is Too Short for BOB Books

BOB Books are the current be-all, end-all of at-home reading instruction, but we've just made a family (parental) decision not to use them around here. I recently found sets 1 & 3 at (separate) used bookstores and snapped them up, excited to get such a discount. But then I took a second look at them, and at the "pre-reading" set I already had in storage, and I was mildly disgruntled. I shared them with my husband and my dad and none of us were impressed.

For us, the BOB books are just too tiresome and silly to be worth the effort. Both  my husband and I cherish our read-aloud time with our kid, but so much of that joy comes from reading what Charlotte Mason called "living books." BOB books strike us as brain-dead books. I know that the BOB books have a lot to offer other families, and I understand the overall appeal, I just can't stand to read it myself or inflict it on my little kid. So no BOB books for us, even if it means we're missing out on a possibly valuable tool for enriching the kid's skill set.


  1. You could get the same benefit if you make your own Bob Books at home. I use to trace over them with pencil and white paper, but then write in my son's name or the name of dogs and cats we knew. So then he ended up getting the systematic, sequential phonics part, but it was less boring.

    My other trick was bribery. Every six Bob books he read, earned my son a new Star Wars book. That was very motivating for him.

    I didn't do level 1 Bob books until my son was three and a half. Then at four, he cruised through the rest.

    But when it comes down to it, almost all phonics readers are incredibly boring, but super important and effective in teaching kids how to read. (IMO) Yes, Dr. Seuss could count as a phonics book, but they are way to long for little ones to plug through as starter books.
    I myself learned to read with the I See Sam Books.

  2. Point taken. I'll find something (maybe even BOB books if I change my mind) to phonics reinforcement and instruction, but for now, I definitely can't do that to my little guy!

  3. BOB Books are horribly dull BUT they are really useful during that stage where kids are transitioning from reading single CVC words in isolation to being able to read a regular easy reader. Having taught my older two children to read, I really think this is one of those "grit your teeth and bear it" things.

  4. OK, I trust you guys. I think I probably will suck it up. Sigh. But we're not really even into CVC yet, so I'm totally going to stall until then, haha.