College of Education and Human Ecology
Keep Books

Guides for using Keep Books by age group

Ages 3-5

The Keep Books your child is bringing home are the easiest young children can have. They have only one or two lines of print and lots of repeated language. These books will help your child learn how print works. He or she will learn to go left to right and to point at the words to help learn that one spoken word matches one group of letters.

It is alright for children to read these books over and over. They will remember some of the language, but they will also notice very important things about the print. They can learn to check on their reading by noticing the first letter. Children will learn how to figure out words by looking at the picture and the print. They will also learn some easy words.

Reading Keep Books with your child

  • Read the book to your child first. Point crisply under the words as you read. You can point without making the reading choppy. Be sure that both you and your child can clearly see the words.
  • Invite your child to talk about the pictures. Point out the picture and the word that goes with it.
  • The second time, invite your child to join in on the reading. Keep talking about the pictures and the story!
  • If you see anything in the book that reminds you of your own family and their experiences, point it out and invite your child to talk about it.
  • After a few times, let your child read the book. Keep supporting the reading. Make it fun!

More learning, ages 3-5

  • Let your child color the pictures using colored pencils so the coloring won’t show through. Make sure he/she does not color on the words!
  • When your child is very familiar with a book, you can say: “What would you see at the beginning of the word crib. Find the word crib with your pointing finger.” Show your child how to point, right under the word. Help your child notice the first letter.
  • If you have magnetic letters, have your child make some of the words in a book. Having magnetic letters in both upper and lower cases is suggested to ensure your child begins using them appropriately.

Blank Keep Books (My Own Keep Books)

You can make little books like these with your child. Cut pictures out of magazines or grocery ads. Make the sentences very simple and repeat the pattern, like the ones in the Keep Books. The words should be written on one page and the pictures should be placed on the facing page. Make sure to use capital and lowercase letters, the way they are in the books.


Ages 5-6

The Keep Books your child is bringing home are about many things that kids like to do. Let your child read these books over and over. In some books, repeating language will make the book a little bit easier. All of these books have easy words. Your child will learn how to read books with one or two lines of print, how to use the pictures to increase comprehension, and how to check their reading by noticing the letters. He/she will also learn some easy words that they can read in other books.

Some of these books are like information books. It is always important to talk with your child about the meaning of the story! And, remember, reading must be fun.

Reading Keep Books with your child

  • Invite your child to talk about the pictures. Point out the picture and the word that goes with it.
  • Read the book once to your child. Point crisply under the words as you read. You can point without making the reading choppy. Be sure that both you and your child can clearly see the words.
  • After reading, talk about the meaning of the story.
  • Then, let your child read the story (with help as needed). If your child has trouble with a word, it is best to tell him/her the word. Keep talking about the pictures and the story!
  • Encourage your child to read the book several more times.

More learning, ages 5-6

  • Let your child color the pictures using colored pencils so the coloring won’t show through.
  • If the story reminds you of anything about your family, point it out. If you do this, you will soon find your child doing the same. It is great to share as you read.
  • When your child is very familiar with the book, you can say: “Quickly find the word my.” Repeat this with a lot of easy words like the, and, is, to, in, I.

Blank Keep Books (My Own Keep Books)

Let your child write a follow-up book to a favorite story. Your child can use the same person or put himself or herself into the story! Help your child use language like the language in the Keep Books. It is not important for your child to spell every single word correctly. It is more important for your child to think about the sounds in words. If your child wants to write a word, you can say: “Say the word slowly. What can you hear?” He/she can write some of the letters in a word. You can write the rest to spell it correctly. After your child has learned to say the word slowly and think about the sounds, encourage him/her to spell the word. For example, if your child writes lik, instead of like, say: “That’s great! You heard three sounds. Now you need an e to make it look right.”


Ages 6-7

The Keep Books your child is bringing home offer a lot of experience for a beginning reader. If your child can already point to the words and read very easy books, this set is a good way to expand. Some of these books have repeating patterns like the easy books for beginners, but the sentences are longer. Others do not have repeating patterns because you want your child to be able to read many different kinds of books. This set will help your child read about many different topics. Your child will learn to read books with three lines on a page. Each book has many easy words that your child can learn. It is always important to be sure that you and your child talk about the meaning of the story.

Reading Keep Books with your child

  • Read the book to your child first. Invite your child to talk about the pictures.
  • The second time, your child can read the book using a “pointing finger.” That means that your child should point crisply right under the words.
  • Keep talking about the pictures and the story!
  • The third time, let your child read the book alone (with help as needed).
  • Encourage your child to read the book several more times.

More learning, ages 6-7

  • Let your child color the pictures using colored pencils so the coloring won’t show through.
  • If the story reminds you of anything about your family, point it out. If you do this, you will soon find your child doing the same.
  • Provide magnetic letters and have your child make words, then make new words by changing the first letter. Some suggestions are: an, man, can; see, bee, tree; at, cat, fat; me, be; to, do; it, sit, fit; my, by. This will work best if you start with a word that your child already knows how to read or write. Having magnetic letters in both upper and lower cases is suggested to ensure your child begins using them appropriately.

Blank Keep Books (My Own Keep Books)

Choose a favorite book. Help your child write a book on the same idea and draw the pictures. It is not important for your child to spell every single word correctly. It is more important for your child to think about the sounds in words. If your child wants to write a word, you can say: “Say the word slowly. What can you hear?” Your child can write some of the letters in a word. You can write the rest to spell it correctly. After your child has learned to say the word slowly and think about the sounds, encourage your child to spell the word. For example, if your child writes lik, instead of like, say: “That’s great! You heard three sounds. Now you need an e to make it look right.”


Ages 7-8

The Keep Books your child is bringing home offer lots of reading practice for children who can already read simple books. They also give children chances to read different kinds of books. You will find books that have science and math ideas in them. It is important for children to read books that help them think about those ideas, because later they will have to learn them through reading. This variety is very important. Good readers know how to read in many ways!

Your child will learn to read books with whole pages of print. The pictures will help in understanding the story.

Reading Keep Books with your child

  • Before reading, talk with your child about the book. It is all right to talk about the meaning of the whole book—what it is about and the names of the people or animals in it. Don’t be afraid you are giving too much away! Look at the pictures and tell your child what is going on. All of this talk will help your child read the book for the first time. You can point out a few hard words, but it is not necessary to go over every new word. If your child knows a lot about the story before reading, it will be possible to figure out some new words.
  • Have your child read the story with your help. Probably, your child will not need to point.
  • If your child is having trouble every few words, the book is too hard! Stop! Read the book together for the first time. It is important for children not to struggle. Reading should be fun—not too hard!
  • After reading, talk about the story. What did your child like or find surprising? What might happen next? Encourage your child to read the story several more times.

More learning, ages 7-8

  • Let your child color the pictures using colored pencils so the coloring won’t show through.
  • If the story reminds you of anything about your family, point it out. If you do this, you will soon find your child doing the same.
  • Provide magnetic letters and have your child make known words quickly. Your child can break the word apart and put it together several times. Your child can make new words by changing the beginning, middle, or ending letter. Having magnetic letters in both upper and lower cases is suggested to ensure your child begins using them appropriately.
  • Write easy words from the books on cards or pieces of paper. Be sure to print clearly in lower case letters. These words can go into a special box of words. Play “your pile, my pile.” Shuffle the cards and have your child turn them over one at a time and read them. Every word read accurately goes into your child’s pile. Watch it get bigger!

Blank Keep Books (My Own Keep Books)

Choose a favorite book. Help your child write a book on the same idea and draw the pictures. It is not important for your child to spell every single word correctly. It is more important for your child to think about the sounds in words. If your child wants to write a word, you can say: “Say the word slowly. What can you hear?” Your child can write some of the letters in a word. You can write the rest to spell it correctly. After your child has learned to say the word slowly and think about the sounds, encourage your child to spell the word. For example, if your child writes lik, instead of like, say: “That’s great! You heard three sounds. Now you need an e to make it look right.”