One of my absolute favorite things about Usborne are the super fun readers and read-alouds. The hardest part is to narrow it down for you. So I’ve chosen three reading products and three read-alouds that we love most, but trust me, there are so many more!
My absolute favorite thing about Usborne is the concept of dual-readers: simple text for beginning readers accompanied by a more complete storyline for the adult or older reader. It makes reading a shared experience, where my child and I are actually reading the story together. I love it! And it is especially effective when kids are just beginning to read and have a limited vocabulary.
The Very First Reading Set follows this concept and is by far my favorite of all the Usborne products (read my previous blog post). The set comes with 15 hardback books and accompanying parent/teacher guide with some basic phonics instruction. The books increase in difficulty, and the child reads more and more with each book until he is reading on his own by Book 15. My son devours these books, and I have found them to be the perfect supplement as we go through our phonics program. However, because the books are not sold individually, it is an investment.
So another great option are the Easy Readers. These follow the phonics approach without the dual-reader concept. The storylines are fun, the illustrations are adorable, and the pages fold out.
Another of my kids’ favorite reader/read-aloud books are Farmyard Tales. This book has the dual-reader feature of simple text at the top of the page and more complete storyline at the the bottom of the page. Also, it has a small duck hiding on each page of the story (as do the Easy Readers mentioned above). I love this feature! It keeps my three year old engaged while my son is listening to the story. Another fantastic feature is that it is also an audio book, with each story read aloud on CD. (Usborne Bibles Stories is set up similarly with the dual-reader concept and CD, and overall the stories have seemed to be true to the Biblical accounts.)
We also have a list of read-alouds that we love. Right now, we are reading Anna Hibiscus, a story of a little girl growing up in “amazing Africa.” I read it in an African accent, which the kids absolutely love. And since we’ve covered Africa in our geography study, they get an even greater thrill out of the story and its characters.
There’s a Mouse about the House is another favorite. The kids take turns weaving the cardboard mouse in and out of the storybook pages as I read the story. And as you might imagine, we never read it just once.
But I’d have to say that my all-time favorite read-aloud is the Gobble, Gobble, Moo00 Tractor book. Farmer Dougal’s animals hi-jack his tractor and, as each animal makes its own noise, they pretend to take the tractor for a ride. It’s a hilarious little story, and the kids get the biggest kick out of helping with the animal sounds.
Usborne has terrific reading books for all ages, all the way through highschool. But, of course, since my children are small, the books for the younger ages are what I’m most familiar with. Browse around the website and see what you can find for your children. Set up a wish list and earn extra entries for the encyclopedia giveaway.
Fun Fact: There are lots of ways to get your Usborne books for free. The first step is to set up an eshow, or in essence, your personal shopping link.
- Set the eshow to close on Dec. 1, 2012, and place all your purchases throughout the year on your own link. Every purchase will go toward your free book credit ($85 starts earning you free books).
- Share your link and wish list with family and friends who ask you for gift ideas for your children. Not only is it an easy way for them to get what your kids would like, but their purchases will be earning even more free books for your family.
- Create your own book club. Pick out 12 favorites, then order one each month on your eshow link (or email me the list, and I’ll take care of it for you each month). Not only will you get the books you want, but each book will be earning you credit toward free books.
- Plus, you’ll earn extra entries for the giveaway just for setting up the eshow!