Resources for Emergent Readers at the Johnson County Library

This post is sponsored by the Johnson County Library.

With the start of the new school year many of us (me included!) have kids who will be learning to read soon. You might be wondering how you can help your child develop these skills and a great place to start is at the Johnson County Library.

While most of us have been reading books to our kids for years, picking out books for our emergent reader may seem daunting if you don’t have a background in teaching literacy. Let’s talk about what makes an emergent reader, what kind of skills they should have, what to look for in a book, and how to find them.

What is an emergent reader?

Emergent readers are children, typically 6 and under, that are becoming interested in books but not yet able to read independently. They are learning the how-tos of reading like going from left to right and making connections between the text and the pictures. They may recognize a few words and are starting to understand the sounds that letters make. Emergent readers are typically preschoolers through first-graders.

How can I help my child become an emergent reader?

Skill building for emergent readers starts early, and the Johnson County Library’s 6 by 6 program is a great way to help build those skills. Their website has a whole section for the Birth to Six age group with recommended books, activities, and even story times on-demand. Make sure to check out the 6 by 6 book kits. 

6 By 6 Skills

Have Fun with Books
Notice Print All Around You
Talk, Talk, Talk
Tell Stories about Everything
Look for Letters Everywhere
Take Time to Rhyme Sing, and Play Word Games. 

What are the characteristics of books for emergent readers?

These books will typically feature rhyming, one line of text per page, an emphasis on phonics, lots of repetition, and pictures that help kids connect words with images. They are also very short stories, sometimes with a collection of several stories combined in one volume. Some even have notes to parents with tips for how to help their children practice their reading and phonics skills and lists of the sight words that can be found in the story. 

How do you find these books at the Johnson County Library?


Ask a librarian. They can always point you in the right direction, especially if you’re looking for a specific book or books about a subject you know your child will enjoy.


Head to the easy-reader section (labeled ER Easy Reader on the shelf.)


Look for the green dot stickers on the spines. 


Look through several books to find ones that are the right level for your child. Some have maybe three or four short words on the page while others have longer sentences with longer words.

Where can I find a list of recommended books for emergent readers?

The Johnson County Library website has links to recommended books for all ages, including beginning readers at the easy, intermediate, and advanced levels. I love to browse online, place a hold on the books I want, and then pick them up at one of the drive-through locations, such as the Lenexa City Center, Blue Valley, Monticello, or Central Resource branch. If you want to browse the entire early reader section this link will take you right to it.

Some early reader series to be on the lookout for include

BOB Books
Rookie Reader
I Can Read Phonics
Brand New Readers
Elephant and Piggie books

I'm Julia and I live in Olathe with my husband of 16 years, my 10 and 6 year old daughters, and our rescue pug Mabel. I’m a social worker turned SAHM and love Dr. Pepper, thunderstorms, and talking to other adults. I hate coffee, diet culture, and washing dishes. I'll talk your ear off about the best local parks and which restaurants have wronged me by changing their long-standing menu items. I try to walk the line between knowing a lot of stuff and not being a know-it-all. Some days I'm better than others.


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