We Make Learning to Read Easy!
Bob Books is a true first reader series, designed to make helping your child learn to read simple and straightforward.
The clean layout, short words, and simple phonics make learning to read a fun and natural step for a child that knows the alphabet.
How it Works
Bob Books came about as a result of teacher Bobby Lynn Maslen’s careful attention to the specific needs of children learning to read for the very first time. As a teacher, Bobby’s work with 3 to 5 year-olds involved constant invention in art, math games, physical growth activities and, of course, reading materials. When she didn’t find books that she felt were the right fit for her young students, she created Bob Books.
The first books were handmade, inspired by two small dolls that she bought at a craft fair. She named the dolls Mat and Sam and spun stories about them, illustrated with line drawings that the children could copy and color. Soon it became too cumbersome to make books for each student, so Maslen standardized the set and persuaded her school to print 300 copies. “In the beginning I just went to the grocery store and bought baggies – little sandwich baggies – and that’s how we packaged them,” Maslen says. “The whole thing from beginning to end was a trial-and-error process.”
Portland State University published the books for several years, and word began to spread, leading to self-publishing and a cottage industry. Bobby Maslen’s husband, John Maslen, a watercolor artist and former architect, drew new pictures. The couple’s growing children helped collate and staple.
Bob Books went on to become a Children’s Book-of-the-Month-Club selection, and the series was adopted by homeschoolers and Montessori teachers. Articles recommending Bob Books appeared in The Washington Post, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and regional newspapers and magazines around the country. In 1993, USA Today ran a story about Bob Books.
Over night, the Maslens were inundated with phone calls. The books had entered the spotlight, and parents eager to help their children learn to read wanted Bob Books. “By that time we were going crazy,” Bobby Maslen says. “We knew the potential was much more than we could handle ourselves.” The Maslens turned to a major publisher of children’s books, Scholastic, Inc., for help. Today, all five sets of Bob Books written by Bobby Maslen are available to children all over the world, thanks to the partnership that was developed with Scholastic.
Lynn Maslen Kertell has been involved with Bob Books right from the beginning, starting with the first edition in the 1970s. Lynn pasted-up and hand-lettered the original Bob Books when she was in high school. Her mother’s sensitivity and approach to life remained impactful, and later in life returning to the family business was a natural step. Her experience tackling the fun, bonding and sometimes complex task of helping her child learn to read, showed her that Bob Books really work. Her daughter now joins the millions of kids that happily exclaim, “I read the whole book!”®
Awards and Accolades
Best Seller on Amazon.com
Bob Books Set 1: Beginning Readers is a number-one best seller on Amazon.com. It has been in the Amazon Top 100 Children’s Books for the past seven years. In addition, Bob Books have consistent 4-5 star ratings from customers. One reviewer wrote, “These are the best ‘learning to read’ books that I have found. They have totally boosted my son’s confidence.”
Featured in iPad Apps for Kids for Dummies
After review of thousands of apps, “Bob’s Books #1 – Reading Magic HD” and “Bob Books #2 – Reading Magic HD” were selected for inclusion in Jinny Gudmundsen’s book: iPad Apps for Kids (part of the For Dummies series of books).
In 2010, Bob Books Sight Words: Kindergarten and Bob Books Sight Words: First Grade won the Best Book Award and received a 4 1/2 star rating (out of 5 stars). The reviewer said, “With few words per page and plenty of repetitive vocabulary, these slender books give new readers a sense of success and reinforce the idea of can-do.”
Best App for Kids!
Bob Books #1: Reading Magic was listed as a best app for kids by Parenting.com writer, and App Developer, Peter Evan Ginsberg. Ginsberg called Reading Magic a “pitch-perfect combination of the best of a first reader’s book with a simple spelling puzzle game. The book is read and instructions are given in a clear and encouraging voice.”
Listed as an app that encourages kids to read
Best Apps for Kids with Special Needs
2012 Editor’s Choice Award for Excellence in Design
Parents’ Choice Approved
iVillage.com – Top 6 Great Learn-to-Read Apps for Kids
Listed in educational apps that make learning fun, with a 4 star rating.