Learning to read is hard. We need to learn that combinations of letters correspond to certain sounds and meanings. That's not easy for adults when learning a new language. Imagine the difficulty for children, both because they're so young and because they never made this mental breakthrough before.


When I taught my kids to read, I tried to ease this big leap by using books with short words. But each book I found had some long words. I wondered if a book could be written using only short words. How short? 4 letters? No problem. 3 letters. Sure. OK, then what about 2 letters? Hmm, that would be a challenge, especially to make a story that's interesting, with characters, action, and humor.

I discovered Joanna Pasek's charming watercolor illustrations online, and we collaborated to make The Bo Books series. We aimed to make the books as easy as possible for beginning readers. Children can start with “Y”. Once they can read the alphabet, they can read this 1-letter "word" book, giving them a sense of pride that they can read a whole book all by themselves, and confidence to continue reading. Then they can read the 2-letter word book, “BO, GO UP!”. We chose large, capital letters for these books to make words clear and obvious. Next, readers can move to 3-letter words in “Cat Egg.” I hope you as a parent or teacher can use these books to introduce your child or student to the wide world of words.

More: about the author and the illustrator

Teach my child to read