Kindergarten Homeschooling – Teaching Beginning Reading, Part 2

After looking at a few options, I decided to use Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers for Lydia’s primary beginning reading text. BOB books come in sets. Here are the books found in Set 1.

BOB Books Set 1, Beginning Readers

Today I will show you how I did the very first lesson with the very first book a few weeks ago. But first, let me show you the exciting plot line.



Mat sat. Sam.

Sam sat. Mat sat. Sam sat.

Mat sat on Sam. Sam sat on Mat.

Mat sat. Sam sat. The End

And in case you just can’t get enough of Mat and Sam, here they are again.

Mat and Sam sure do a lot of sitting. And those awkward-looking bodies! Goodness.

I like to divide beginning reading words into two categories.

1. Sight words. These are words that we see many times every day. We might be able to sound them out, but not always. We know them by (you guessed it) sight.

2. Sound-out words. In the first series of BOB Books, the sound-out words are all three letters, with a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern. Since Lydia knows the basic letter sounds from reading her letter chart each day, she should be able to figure these out even if she hasn’t seen them before (although she often still needs help).

In the book Mat, there is one sight word: on. There are three sound-out words: Mat, sat, and Sam.

To practice the sight word on, we pulled the card from her sight word stack for review. To practice reading the sound-out words, we used magnetic letters on an inexpensive cookie sheet. The rustic park bench is optional.

cookie sheet and card

First, start with the letters all jumbled up at the top of the cookie sheet.


Say the word Mat slowly, and either pull down the letters m a t yourself or ask your child to do it.



“Now, what if we took off the m and changed the first letter to an s? What word will that make?”




“This time let’s change the last letter in sat to an m.”


“Now we have Sam!


Be sure to emphasize the sound of the letter you are changing as you talk about the words.

I also took a video of this process. Video with children always makes for something unexpected, like a little brother who likes to spit and grunt in the background. :)

After this very simple activity, it might be tempting here to say, “Okay, what if we put an h in front of -at? What about a b or an r?”

Exploring the -at word family is a fabulous idea for another time, but your goal right now is to get your child thinking about the words he or she will be reading in the Mat book.

Also, don’t be tempted to go on to book two too soon. We spend a full week on each book. Your child will certainly learn this book very quickly, but he or she will probably memorize it, rather than read it. Taking your time to do lots of activities on just this book will ensure your little learner is getting these words and sounds into his or her head.

So, what do you think? Do you feel encouraged, energized, overwhelmed, bored? (Don’t answer the last one.) Do you have a question or comment burning? Anyone else using BOB books? What kind of activities do you use? Comment. Share. Discuss.

I’ll be back in a day or two with another learning activity for this book!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 at 9:34 pm and is filed under Beginning Reading, Learning. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. Nancy says:

    That was a good post. Very thorough! Just wondering what Luke does while you are homeschooling?

    ... on July 12th, 2012
  2. Amy says:

    Hi Nancy! A lot of mornings, Luke sleeps quite a bit later than Lydia, so we can do some homeschooling at breakfast. Or sometimes he’s playing with toys or rearranging the couch cushions. :) When we do a Saxon math lesson, I just include him. Since our reading lessons are still pretty short, he’s usually able to entertain himself while Lydia and I are doing homeschooling.

    ... on July 12th, 2012
  3. Jayme says:

    Love it Amy!

    ... on July 13th, 2012
  4. MJ @ Creative Madness Mama says:

    Encouraged! Oh so encouraged! Thank you for this post.

    ... on July 20th, 2012
  5. Lindsay says:

    I think it is great that you are working to make sure she doesn’t memorize the book. Sometimes it is hard to find good books to work with for beginning readers and when you find one that works it’s good to see how many different ways to use it to learn vs. just checking it off the to do list.

    ... on July 31st, 2012

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