New and Essential Books for Children Learning to Read

This summer was an exciting one. It was the summer before my oldest daughter started kindergarten. As a dyslexia therapist, reading is obviously a huge passion of mine. I was so excited to start teaching my daughter to read, and I wanted to include her when picking out some of her very first books to help build the excitement. I knew what I was looking for, and I knew that not all “Beginning Reader” books are created equal. However, I did not expect to not find ANYTHING that seemed appropriate for a first-time reader in any of the bookstores we visited.

If you find yourself in the Early Reader section of your local bookstore, you will likely see a plethora of books marketed as “first-time reader,” “level 1,” “first books,” etc. Many parents take these home with the excitement of hearing their child read their very first book. However, it rarely (if ever) happens that way. This is because most of these books are not truly decodable, and include WAY too many rules or irregular words for a child just learning to read. If you have experienced this, do not be disappointed—it is not you or your child! The problem is the books.

This is when I decided my children deserve better. All children deserve better!

Right Start Readers is a series of decodable readers that is truly for students learning to read for the very first time. It is also a parent-friendly series that helps guide parents in introducing new sounds and sight words so a student can successfully and independently sound out words. Each story introduces new concepts at a pace that is appropriate for young learners and allows them ample practice to master new concepts. Those concepts are then built upon and reviewed in consecutive stories so that children keep their skills sharp while also progressing through additional concepts.

The scope and sequence is unique and unrivaled, and the artwork is the perfect complement to the easily read text and engaging stories. The illustrator, Faren Peterson, is a talented and dedicated school counselor and artist. She exquisitely brings the characters to life and illustrates the storyline without overwhelming the reader with too much visual stimuli to process. Dog, Rat, Pig, Fox, and Cat are not only adorable, but they will also engage your reader as they follow these characters (and only these characters) through all 66 stories.

The series is divided into five stages:

Stage 1—First-Time Readers (14 stories in 7 books)

Stage 2—Emerging Readers (16 stories in 8 books)

Stage 3—Developing Readers (12 stories in 6 books)

Stage 4—Advanced Readers (12 stories in 6 books)

Stage 5—Fluent Readers (10 stories in 5 books)

Currently, Stage 1 is available on Amazon and at Each book provides guidance for parents, practice pages, and additional activities to build phonemic awareness. Stage 2 is in the process of being illustrated, and we hope to have the entire series available by the fall of 2023. You can follow @right.start.readers on Instagram and Facebook for helpful tips and to learn more about new products and release dates.

Now through January 31, all Alamo City residents can enter code “Alamo10” at for a 10% discount. I look forward to sharing these books with other children so they can experience the success of reading on their own!

A grateful San Antonio transplant that fled the midwestern winters at the first opportunity. Driven by her core values, faith, family, and knowledge, Stephanie and her husband are passionately raising their three daughters - Nikoletta (2017), Eleni (2019) and Emmelia (2022). With a husband from Greece, travel is a big part of their family life along with their Greek Orthodox identity. Stephanie has a Masters Degree in Educational Psychology and is a licensed teacher, school principal, and dyslexia therapist. She is also the CEO and Founder of The LD Expert, a nationwide company that brings the best academic tutoring and dyslexia intervention to schools and families through virtual instruction. Favorite Restaurant: Jets Pizza Favorite Landmark: Marriage Island Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Cascarones