Confessions of a Bad Kindergarten Mom (and Bob Books)

As you know, JJ is in kindergarten and I’ve been frustrated with her school’s lack of differentiation and reliance upon worksheets during reading time. I couldn’t believe how little JJ could read. We needed reading help. Luckily, Bob Books saved me.

When I asked a trusted reading expert to assess JJ in reading and the results shocked me — JJ was at a preschool reading level and didn’t know half the kindergarten sight words. The expert game me a sight word list, and a book and encouraged me to practice with JJ at home.

Now you’re wondering why I didn’t know this – either about her level or the sight words. I should have been keeping up, you’re right. We had done our sight word wall for a few months, I thought she knew them. But, not so much. Not when it’s not practiced or reinforced – by me or the school.(Duh, right?) I knew better.

However, in my defense, one of the reasons, besides just sucking as a mom, was my worry about pushing her too fast, too soon. Having read enough research on learning disabilities caused by pushing academics at early ages, I didn’t want to push her until she was out of the worksheet environment and showed an interest in reading. But, I really should have been doing something at home besides just reading aloud to her.

So, when Bob Books asked if I wanted to try their early reading sets, I gladly agreed, hoping their books would give me a place to start with JJ for our reading time at home.

We started with Bob Books Set 3, Word Families.

Every day she read two Bob Books books to me. We worked on using her finger to track – she hated that – and decoding.

* Also, I made her a set of sight-word flashcards that she didn’t know on key rings and we reviewed all the others she had learned and added a new one each day.

bob books

I really liked the Bob Books and how it made reading accessible for JJ and me. Plus, the books are short and sweet. I liked that the last pages of each book tell you what the book introduced, for example in Cat and Mouse from Set 4, some of the new concepts listed are: “blends: sn – snap, th – that, st – stop, lp – help, ck – back.”

Have you seen Bob Books? Physically, they’re small. The illustrations are line drawings with only a few splashes of one color per picture. I wondered if the illustrations would be a turn-off for JJ but she liked them — and LOVED them on the iPad because reading the word correctly meant the pictures got colored in.

bob books

Bob Books Sets 1 – 5 (affiliate links)

Set 1 – Beginning Readers (12 books)

Set 2 – Advancing Beginners (12 books)

Set 3 – Word Families (10 books)

Set 4 – Complex Words (8 books)

Set 5 – Long Vowels (8 books)

How to use Bob Books

Each set of books includes hints for teaching your child to read  and ideas for the specific set.

bob books

Bob Books Sight Words

These books use the common sight words, three new sight words are introduced in each book. Plus they come with two-sided, sight word flash cards. (The sight words are an example of something a child must memorize since they often aren’t decodable and therefore a time when I do endorse flash cards.)


First Grade

bob books

Giveaway: Win two sets of Bob Books Sight Words.

To Enter, leave a comment below that you’d like to win by May 15, 2011.

For extra entries:

Like Bob Books on Facebook. Leave a separate comment.

Like Imagination Soup on Facebook. (or say you already do) Leave a separate comment.

Check out the Bob Books Blog and comment with something you learned.

bob books


  1. says

    Regarding your daughter, it may be possible that she has a vision problem. One of my coworkers’ daughters was doing terribly in first grade reading (and in kindergarten she had been doing fine), the family was shocked and the teacher was disappointed. Turned out she needed glasses. If you go in for an exam, you may want to go to an opthamologist instead of an optician. I’m not sure. Anyway, that’s why they screen kids yearly at school! You just never know.

  2. Julie says

    I would love to win that for my children… I’m not happy at all with how the school’s curriculum is here. Thanks!!!!

  3. Julie says

    I like Imagination Soup on Facebook :) (By the way, I just found your blog and I’m loving it!)

  4. Julie says

    I read the Bob Books blog and found out that they are at Costco for fairly cheap. I’ve never seen these books anywhere (that I recall at least), so it’s nice to know that they aren’t crazy expensive :)

  5. Tina M. says

    Hello I would love to win these books…I have 6 yr old twins who are struggling in the reading dept. :)

  6. Laurie Adams says

    My 4 yr old loves her BOB books; I would love to win her another set or two! Thank you for this opportunity!

  7. Andrea G says

    I checked out the blog and learned that Story Cubes are a great addition to BOB books! What a great idea! I never would have thought of that! :)

  8. Jennifer Rock says

    Would LOOOVE to win this. My Kindergartner’s Bob books were damaged and ruined recently and she struggles to read. And – I have 4 kiddos younger than her that could use them too! :)

  9. Pamela Olson says

    I would love to win this. I have a couple other sets of BOB books and would love to win these! Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Kristyn Bolin-Kenney says

    I am JUST starting to Homeschool my 6 and 5 year old and WOULD LOVE TO WIN THESE ! Look like Awesome books!!

  11. says

    I would love to win for my now 4 year old and her younger brother (someday!) My older daughter borrowed one set of BOB books from a friend just before school to do on her own and she is now the best reader in her kindergarten!

  12. Pamela Olson says

    I looked at BOB books blog and learned how to make Story Cubes. Great idea! I will have to try that with my 5 year old.

  13. Melissa P says

    I would LOVE to win these! I have a 3.5 year old son and also a 4 year old nephew who could benefit from them. We currently have to check out Bob books from the library, which means we only get 3 at a time and not usually the ones we “want” that particular day.

  14. stephanie says

    after reading the BOB books blog, i loved the reminder that reading changes all children’s lives, but especially those whose resources are limited and that there is no rush in learning … i would love to win these BOB books!

  15. Melissa P says

    Oh, and I already “like” bob books on facebook – it’s how I learned about the giveaway!

  16. Sharon says

    I would love to win the sight words set. My son loves Bob books and we don’t have that one yet.

  17. Liz says

    Your daughter’s school sounds like where I teach – and it drives me nuts! I HATE all those worksheets. I do what I can with the limited funds and time I have, and I try hard to differentiate whenever and wherever possible. I would love to have a set of Bob Books for my classroom.

  18. says

    I recently had the same awakening about my own kindergartener. Her reading has really taken off in the past few months and I haven’t been worried. However, when I volunteered in the classroom last week, I was helping with writing letters. I watched all 24 kids write their letters. With the comparison, I could tell my kiddo was near the bottom of the class in printing letters. I’ve known her handwriting could use a little push but it slapped me in the face when I compared it to her peers. We are working on it. Bob Books doesn’t have a set to help with handwriting, do they?

  19. Sarah says

    My son started showing interest in reading about a month ago. My sister let me borrow a set of her BOB Books that she uses with her preschoolers. My son has really enjoyed the books. He has started reading much sooner than I expected by using BOB Books. He is excited everyday to read a new book in the set. We would love to have our own set but can’t afford to buy one right now. We would love to have a set so that we can continue working with our son and grow his love of reading.

  20. says

    you’re soooo not a sucky mom!!! These books look great, is it too early for Oscar? ha! I might wait a little while longer.

  21. Renee Gardener says

    I’d love to win a set…as a teacher I’ve appreciated the phonetic approach that Bob books take!

  22. Renee Gardener says

    I was excited to learn of the Bob Books iPhone app at the Bob’s Book blog! Hmmm! I know what my grandkids and I are going to be doing this summer!

  23. says

    We have the first 3 Bob Books and they are awesome!
    I’d love to win Book 4 and 5; I find they really build up my little guy’s confidence.

  24. says

    A friend recommended me Bob Books some weeks ago! I’d love to read that with my son. I am living in Spain, I don’t know if the giveaway is open to international readers. Thanks anyway for the tip!

  25. says

    Great giveaway! Yes, it is so important to keep practicing those sight words. My daughter’s teacher checks all the kids every couple months. I helped out in class with the last round. While my daughter has them down just fine now, I’m worried about retention over summer break. I think we’ll need to remember to practice all summer long!

  26. Triffany says

    I used the BOB books to teach my 2 kids how to read years ago. I absolutely love them. The biggest thing they’ve got on their side is that the kids can say with 100% confidence, “I read that book to you Mom!” I recommend them to everyone who asks me how I did it. I’m glad to see how many of you are interested. Good luck to you!!!

  27. Robin says

    Bob Books are great in that they are not overwhelming for beginning readers, introduce words slow enough not to be threatening to emerging readers, and children feel successful when reading them! I would love to have a set to share with my emergent readers. Thanks!

  28. Erin O'Brien says

    I just heard about these books via a friend of mine who has raved about how proud/accomplished it made her 4 year old feel. :) My daughter is just getting started with reading. would love to give it a try.

  29. Melanie says

    The “Easter bunny” just brought my daughter a set for Easter. The was my first experience with Bob books and I love how appropriate they would be for my special education classroom. I teach k-2 students with multiple disabilities. The simple vocab and drawings would fit in perfectly with the reading curriculum I am using this year.
    Good luck, everyone!

  30. Sherri says

    I have begun tutoring students who are struggling readers and would love to win a set of these to help my students. Thanks!

  31. Robyn Sims says

    Bob books are wonderful! My 4 year old just starting using them and he’s so proud that he can read!! I have to tell him to turn his light off at night because he stays awake reading. I just asked him what he liks about him and this is what he said “I like reading Bob books!!”

  32. says

    On the Bob Blog, I learned that recognizing shapes, sorting, patterns and sequencing are important milestones in your child’s journey as an emerging reader. :)

    And I learned that I really like the idea of the Story Cubes! Neat idea!!

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway!!

  33. says

    I am a huge fan of BOB books and have used them with both of my kids. I have always thought that the line drawing with minimal color would be perfect for kids who struggle with sensory issues. Don’t beat yourself up…by sharing your story you are saving another family by exciting them early with sight words.

  34. Martha Heisel says

    I would appreciate winning the books so that I can share them with our Grandson, who is 19 months old, when he is ready for them.

  35. Emmy says

    Don’t worry about pushing children into reading. Rather focus on developing the love of reading. Just learning to decode does not a reader make. Read good literature TO them at home. Kinders should be developing a readiness for reading, not reading on its own, unless they do it naturally…….this comes from a 1st grade teacher, who also echos the sentiments of fellow colleagues and Kindergarten teachers.
    Teach a child to love books and you will have a reader forever. Enforce word lists and artificial “skills” and you may develop reluctant learners.

    Enjoy books and reading, people!

  36. Angela F (MN Mom Congress) says

    I have a 2nd, K, Pre-K & 3yo — we would LOVE these around our house!! I am looking for programs to keep them on track over the summer so no one “slides”
    Have already gotten “getting ready for Kindergarten & 1st” books from Cedar Valley Publishing, wow they are great! Hoping to add to our summer collection….

  37. says

    I had this exact same issue when I was teaching my 5 year old. He loved to do work with me, but did not remember the letters or words a week later. That is why I developed the reading program. I feel that some children can learn to read by just learning the letters and sight words. Many others need a multi-dimensional approach that takes in several different methods of teaching reading and writing and make it fun. I would be glad to share this program with you Melissa. Let me know if you want to try it with your child.
    Best of luck.

  38. Diane Weaver says

    I would love to win these books for my grandson. They had just came out when my son was small and he will be 21 this month. wonderful books!!

  39. Isabella Bertelli says

    I love the Blog entry “Changing the Fate of a Child, One Book at a Time.” The face of a nation can be changed by elevating the literacy status of it’s people, especially 3rd world, war torn countries like Liberia. I love that Loving though Literacy is helping this cause through the use of Bob Books. So wonderful were the pictures of the kids reading theri bob books, and the sense of accomplishment was written all over their faces. I learned most that the dedication and love of the few can help shape the world for our younger global citizens.

  40. Maureen says

    See, you’re the good mom b/c you knew who to ask and are already doing this…I am bad mommy b/c I didn’t even know where to start. I need these books…please let me win :-)

  41. ReggieMann says

    I Like Bob Books on Facebook
    (Facebook name: Reggie Mann)

    ReggieM1961 [at] gmail [dot] com

  42. Monette says

    I’d love to win this books and I certainly agree, that reinforcement and at school helps the learning process.

  43. Amy M says

    I would love to win a set for my 4 year old. She is SOOO ready and excited to learn to read!!

  44. Wendy Talbot says

    I would love to win the BOB set. I plan on homeschooling my daughter next year as she enters kindergarden and this would be an excellent addition to our library!

  45. Shaneka M. says

    This set of books is the RIGHT kick in the pants I need for my preschoolers!!!! I love them!!

  46. says

    I am a former first grade teacher and currently a fellow bad kindergarten mom. I know I should be more involved in my daughter’s reading instruction, but she seems to know her sight words, so I slack off. Maybe the BOB books could help get us back on track.

  47. Tara says

    I would love these for my kindergartner. I am concerned about his reading level too and looking into things for the summer. These books would be great!

  48. Kristina says


    I just stumbled across your blog and I love it! I am a homeschooling mom to three kiddos~ ages 20 mos, 4 yrs, and 5 yrs. We already have the first couple Bob book sets and would love this one!

    Keep up the good work~

  49. says

    I would very much like to win a set of “Bob” books for my grandkids to read when they come to visit! I used them, when I taught school, and they were GREAT !

  50. Sandy says

    We would love to win a set of Bobs books. My 3 little ones would love to play school with their brother who is going into kindergarten in August.

  51. Kate says

    BOB books, even the ones that are labeled for K or 1st grade are Pre-K level so the fact your school uses them with Kindergartners is disturbing! My sons and daughter all used Magic Tree House books in their K and 1st reading groups. Definitely check those out.

  52. Jenn says

    I would love a set of BOB books to add to our collection. It would really help with out with homeschooling my son for kindergarten!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *