What is 1 Blue?

1 Blue readers can use words they know, like at, to figure out one-syllable words in the same word family, like cat, hat, and flat.

This level is the first level where students really begin to decode (or “sound out”) words. Be careful NOT to ask her to sound out letter by letter. This is still slower and less effective than helping your child learn to use PATTERNS and RHYMING. (Try it with the work cake. C – a- k –e causes all sorts of trouble, while going from the Power Word “make” to "cake" is simple and fast.)

Your child’s Power Word bank will also expand and she will continue using these words as a reliable and familiar support framework when reading.

What Makes 1 Blue Books Unique?

1 Blue books are written using one-syllable words that can be decoded (chunk, rhyme) using the high-frequency sight words your child already knows from the Green levels and words that are clued by the picture, the first letter sounds, and/or the syntax.

The use of just one-syllable words in 1 Blue books helps children begin to practice this important new decoding skill while isolating the complexity. The phonological awareness skills required for this level are tremendous, so it should be expected that it may take several tries to figure out new words.

Try reading this sample 1 Blue book

Teach Your Child to be 1 Blue

Minimum Entry Requirements:

Minimum Entry Requirement: Rhyming

When you read your child a rhyming book, if you stop before the last word in a verse, can she fill in the last word with something that makes sense and matches the rhyme? If so, your child may be ready to learn to read 1B books.

If not:

  • Rhyming Verse: Practice rhyming by reading, writing, and singing favorite nursery rhymes and other verse that rhymes. Ask your child to supply the rhyming words for you as you read aloud. Many of the classic Dr. Seuss books, such as The Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, and Fox in Socks, offer great rhyming patterns that kids love.
  • Play “I Rhyme.” It’s a twist on “I Spy With My Little Eye”; instead use “I Rhyme All the Time.” Pick any word and take turns to see how many words you can come up with that rhyme with it. This one is perfect for car rides!


Watch Jayson LEARN to be 1 Blue

Reading by Analogy: Use words you know to read 1-Syllable words that rhyme.

If you child knows it, can he read hit, sit, fit, spit, etc? If not, use these ideas to teach him to read by analogy. Similar to the mastery of Power Words, learning the one-syllable word families takes repeated exposure and practice. Some activities will work better for some children than others. Use whatever works best for your child.

  • Word Master: Select a word family chunk, set a timer to one or two minutes, and see how many words your child can think of that rhyme with it. Keep her engagement and adrenaline high. Give prizes!
  • Speed Games: Adrenaline actually helps to encode words into memory, so play hard and play fast. If your child isn’t up on her feet, trying to say the words as fast as she can—adrenaline isn’t kicking in yet. Make it a race to see how fast he can say all the words or chunks (it, bit, kit, sit, skit, fit, flit, pit, etc.).
  • Beat the Parent: Flash the words to your child. If she can say the correct word by the time you count to 3, she gets it. If not, you get it. Whoever has the most cards at the end wins.
  • Scrabble Primer: Give your child four or five letters on small cards (or use Scrabble tiles). Have her see how many words she can make (and read) using those letters.
  • Kinesthetic Encoding: It’s time to get active. Write the chunks on a large piece of paper, some poster board, an easel, or a blackboard. Ask your child to stand up and pretend to trace the letters in the air using her arm in big, sweeping motions as she slowly says the word (not the letters).
  • Dictation: Get out a pencil and logbook and practice writing the chunks from memory. Your child should be able to correctly spell any word that uses the given chunk.
  • Word Family Flash Card Sets: Make your own flash cards of single chunks (e.g., it); select a card and build as many words as possible. For example, it: bit, bits, sits, bitter, hitter, sitter, babysitter, skit, skitter, skittered, skittering, etc. As you expand into two- and three-syllable words, you will be preparing your child for 2 Blue and 1 Red.

1 Blue Coaching Tips

  • Get those fingers all over the words! When your child comes to a new one-syllable word, ask her to cover parts of the unfamiliar word to find something she knows. For example, for the word small, cover up the sm to find all. Then make the consonant blend sound for sm together with all to get small. Model it for your child and encourage her to do it on her own.
  • Be patient! This new reading skill is seriously hard work for a growing reader. Once he finds a chunk that looks familiar, she will need to recall what known word it is part of, take off the first letter of the known word, vocalize the isolated chunk, add the beginning sound of the new word to the chunk, and see if it turns out to be a sensible word. It’s a lot to think about!
  • In addition to using the 1 Blue Skills Card, be sure to download the 1 Blue Coaching Record. This four-page PDF document includes phonics practice exercises for all the one-syllable word families your child will need to master reading at 1 Blue. It also includes new “tricky” sight words. Approach these exercises very slowly (only a couple every few days) as it’s a lot to master.
  • Convey your pride and astonishment in your child’s mastery of this new, impressive skill. Phrases like “I can’t believe it!” or “You are an amazing reader!” or “Wait until I tell [____] what word you figured out all by yourself!” will all help strengthen your child’s sense of accomplishment.
  • Comprehension continues to be a very important skill to check for at 1 Blue. Because so much of the emphasis is on figuring out new words, some children can start to miss the meaning. Ask your child questions throughout the book about what is happening and why. If she doesn’t know, it’s good to go back and re-read and talk more about the story or the interesting facts.
  • The 1 Blue books tend to be longer, and your child’s attention span and reading stamina will increase. If you sense she is tiring, don’t forget to make a snack and keep reading time short and fun. You can also trade off pages—you read one page and your child reads the next. If your child becomes distracted or fatigued midway through a book, it’s a great time to use a bookmark and finish the book the next day.
  • Continue to have your child read to you for at least 15 minutes per day. Some parents use the “I’ll read you a book, and then you read me a book” routine. Always let your child choose the 1 Blue book she wants to read to you. Adhering to a routine for reading time can be helpful for some children, but do whatever works best for your family’s schedule.

What Mistakes Should I Correct?

  • If your child is covering up parts of the word but can’t find the chunk she knows, give her a hint by telling her which letters to cover up.
  • When attempting to chunk a word, if she guesses a sound that is close but incorrect, ask her to try again. If she still doesn’t get it, just tell her the word.
  • When your child is stuck on a new Power Word that is hard to guess based on the meaning of the sentence, just tell him the word.

Try the Next Level

2 Blue


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