Stacey Loscalzo

Oct 03

A True Easy Reader

by Stacey

With Cybils season upon us, I have begun to think even more than usual about what makes an Easy Reader, an easy reader. As a judge for the Easy Reader category, I got in to a few heated debates last year about the criteria for these books. It is both my personal and professional belief that easy readers should be really and truly easy to read. Many publishers label their books in very misleading ways, causing parents to buy book after book that they think their child should be able to read.

My definition of easy, is quite conservative. Most words should be simple to decode. There should be picture support for those words that aren’t. The font should be clear and simple and large. There should be lots of white space.

In truth, very few books that are published outside of the educational market meet these criteria. And even fewer of those books are actually well written. And even fewer of those books contain a compelling story.

You can imagine that I am leading up to a happy dance here right?

Katherine came home from school today with a book today that I love. Bears in the Night by Stan and Jan Berenstain. The words are decodable and supported by the pictures (for the most part), the font is easy to read, there is lots of white space, the story is well written and you actually care about the characters and the very simple plot.

A true easy . Off to do a happy dance…


  1. I completely agree with you! They should be easy, although I confess the Berenstain Bears picture books are not my favorite — so much moralizing! That might not be a problem with their easy readers. I’m not as familiar with them.

  2. […] when you’re an early reader and the book you were assigned for homework includes the word ‘true’ with no picture […]

  3. Thanks for the informative post. We love Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie books, but my kids aren’t reading yet, so we haven’t explored much past that. I remember enjoying Bears in the Night as a kid.

    Thank you for linking up to The Children’s Bookshelf!

  4. Amy says:

    I totally agree. I’ve been scouring the library shelves looking for books for my son to read and have found that many of the ones that are labeled as Level 1 include many words that are not easy to sound out. The Berenstain Bears easy readers are a great idea…I’d forgotten about them!

  5. What a thoughtful post.

    One thing that worries me about easy or early reader’s is that they often lack that compelling story. It is sad for children who have enjoyed reading interesting books with their parents before they start school.

    Reading should always be enjoyable, not simply a learning task.

    Thanks for sharing the book.

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