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The Bob Books reading program now has companion workbooks to further reading skills. I’ve purchased the Bob Books Beginning Readers Workbook and Bob Books Emerging Readers Workbook to use with my youngest.

BOB Books Review

I recently purchased the Bob Books Beginning Readers Workbook and Bob Books Emerging Readers Workbook on a whim since my boys have enjoyed the Bob Books readers so much. I thought that the workbooks’ colorful pages and variety of activities would be a fun way for my preschooler to get in some extra phonics practice.

Each workbook is based on specific boxed sets:

The workbook activities in the Beginning Readers Workbook for the Alphabet and Beginning Readers box sets focus mostly on the alphabet and letter sounds, with a lot of coloring, matching, and letter and word tracing. While at first glance these seem like good activities for a preschooler learning to read, I developed a different opinion once my son started using the workbook. Having already taught two other children how to read and write, I felt that the handwriting aspect (tracing both uppercase letters and then writing them on their own) moved way too quickly. As a matter of fact, my preschooler has spent the past year learning to form uppercase letters, and will spend next year learning to form lowercase letters.

By contrast, the Beginning Readers Workbook teaches letter formation at the speed of light, which means that it would serve better as a review for kindergarteners/first graders that have already learned how to form all letters, both uppercase and lowercase. In that case, it wouldn’t actually serve as a companion for the Bob Books readers since students should be operating at a higher reading level by that point.

The workbook activities in the Beginning Readers Workbook for the Rhyming Words readers add word searches to the coloring, tracing, writing, and matching activities. I felt that the word searches were the most useful aspect of this jumbo workbook, so it’s up to the parent to decide if the cost of the purchase of this workbook is worth a limited set of truly useful pages.

The Emerging Readers Workbook has many of the same types of activities as the latter part of the Beginning Readers Workbook, with the addition of color-the-word (like color-by-number) pages, sight word identification activities, and more of a focus on sentences. While I still feel that the writing activities may be a bit too advanced for students operating at the reading level of the Bob Books readers on which the activities are based upon, some students may do ok with them.

Considering the weaknesses of these workbooks, I’ve chosen to use them simply as a source of worksheets. I identify the worksheets that are appropriate for my preschooler’s handwriting ability and skip the rest.

Teacher Prep

As long as you have crayons and pencils, these workbooks should be open-and-go for the parent.

Student Time

Each page in the Beginning Readers Workbook should take less than five minutes to do, while pages in the Emerging Readers Workbook may take a little longer. Kids that love workbooks, and especially the types of activities in these workbooks, may want to do several pages at a time, so you may move through these workbooks faster than expected.

To whom would I recommend BOB Books?

(Based on Learning Preferences and Three D’s I describe in earlier posts.)

Recommend to…

Normally I would say that workbooks like these are good for students that do well with Interactive and Visual learning methods. But since I feel that these workbooks are inconsistent in matching activities to reading/handwriting level, I actually have a hard time recommending them at all.

I would NOT recommend to…

  • Students that resist learning One-on-One since the disconnect between reading level and handwriting ability will require a lot of parent help.
  • Parents that want to use most pages in a workbook to feel like they are getting their money’s worth.

My Best Tips for Using Bob Books Workbooks

  • Use them simply as a worksheet repository, identifying the worksheets that are appropriate for your student and skipping the rest.
  • Parents may be tempted to treat these workbooks as independent work, but I highly recommend working with your students one-on-one when it comes to the writing activities. Otherwise, students will invent ways to form letters on their own. As a parent that has worked very hard with my students in regards to writing skills and correct letter formation, I can tell you that bad habits are easy to create, and much less easy to break.
  • Students that require more Interactive learning methods may enjoy these free Bob Books printables from This Reading Mama.

The Last Thing You Need to Know about Bob Books Workbooks

While we have greatly enjoyed the Bob Books readers, and my preschooler does enjoy the workbooks, the workbooks have not been as big of a hit with me. You may want to investigate these free Bob Books printables from This Reading Mama before purchasing the workbooks.

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