What is 1 Green?

1 Green readers can read at least 25 Power Words at flash speed.

At this level, your child will use these Power Words (e.g., the, are, who, is); these high-frequency words are also known as “sight words.” Your child will be able to recognize these words anywhere and read them automatically, at flash speed, without sounding out or working at them. Because many Power Words defy basic phonics rules, they cannot be sounded out and must simply be memorized by sight. The first 60 Power Words found on the 1 Green Skills Card make up more than one-third of the words used in English text. Once mastered, these words provide “islands of certainty” from which the emergent reader can navigate the unknown. Congratulations, it’s official: Your child is reading words!

What Makes 1 Green Books Unique?

1 Green books are written using only a word bank of 60 high-frequency sight words (e.g., like, the, it, and) and words that are clued by the picture, the first letter sound, and/or the syntax.

Try reading this sample 1 Green book

Teach Your Child to Read 1 Green Books

Minimum Entry Requirement: 25 Power Words

Can your child read at least 25 of the 1G Power Words anywhere, anytime, without having to stop to try to “sound them out”? Yes? Go right to Coaching Tips.

If not, the first thing to do is help your child learn these high-frequency sight words. Since learning Power Words is really about memorization, it will take time, patience, and repeated practice. If your child is having trouble learning the Power Words just by reading and re-reading them, you can help your child’s brain “learn to learn” these words in four ways:

  • Using another sensory system (touch and/or gross motor)
  • Using adrenaline to program the connection
  • Using emotion to encode long-term memory
  • Developing a memorable or funny association for the word


Learning to Read 1 Green Books

Different methods will work better for some children than for others, so try experimenting with the activities below to see what works best for your child. To monitor progress, maintain a written record of all the Power Words she can read without help (and which ones she still needs to learn). Openly share the record with your child so she knows what she still needs to learn and can “own” her progress. Children like to know where they are in the learning process and it gives them a real sense of accomplishment as they master more words.

  • Flash Cards: Use our laminated Power Word cards on a ring, or make your own flash cards and keep them in a ziplock bag.
  • 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, try to say the words as fast as she can—adrenaline isn’t kicking in yet. Make it a race to see how fast she can say all the words, using the flash cards or the 1 Green Skills Card.
  • Concentration: Make 2 cards for each word and lay all the words out facedown in a grid. Take turns turning over 2 cards. If the words match and your child can read the word, she gets the match.
  • Go Fish: Make 2 cards for each word and play the traditional card game Go Fish, taking turns asking for and then drawing cards until a player gets a Power Word match. We recommend playing with just 10 words at a time.
  • Sandwiching: Because Power Words are low-meaning, they aren’t that interesting to learn, so it can help to “sandwich” them with words that your child loves and cares about. Make up some flash cards for high-meaning, special words (e.g., the dog’s name, sibling’s name, best friend, cartoon character, etc.) and “sandwich” in the Power Words to form short sentences.
  • Kinesthetic Encoding: It’s time to get active. Write the words 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). Turn on some good tunes and have fun with the big motions.
  • Auditory/Visual/Tactile Encoding: Get out the crayons and markers and practice writing the words. As your child writes the word, have her also say the word slowly (stretched out). You want her to say the whole word, not the letters, to help encode the entire word into long-term memory.

As always, make sure to recognize your child’s effort and not just her achievement. Tell your child how proud you are that she is learning so many words, and celebrate as she masters each new word. If your child seems disinterested or bored, it’s time to spice things up to make reading time more F-U-N. Set up the play tent; get out the flashlight; pretend you are reading to an imaginary monster or fairy princess. Pick the time of day when your child is most alert, and always serve a yummy snack.

Last, but not least, be sure to revisit the Yellow level books. Your child will enjoy the “easy” reading, and she can gain excellent practice with Power Words in these books as well.

1 Green Coaching Tips

  • Read the title of the book and the name(s) of the author/illustrator to your child and then ask her to try to finish the book.
  • Remember that the “training wheels” from the Yellow books have been removed—there is no longer a repeating sentence stem on each page to support your reader. Your child is now working hard to remember and read Power Words. If your child gets stuck on a word, ask her, “What word would make sense there?” If she is still stuck, just tell her the word and keep going.
  • Children typically need to see and say a new word 40 times before they know it, so this level will take some patience and repeated practice.
  • Don’t ask her to “sound out” the words—1 Green readers can’t do this and many of the words can’t be “sounded out” anyway. When you child tries to figure out a new word, accept her answer as correct as long as what she says makes sense and matches the first letter sound. (For example: If the word is kitten, cat or kitty cat are also acceptable 1 Green answers.)
  • If your child gets stuck on a word that she got right when it appeared on an earlier page in the book, ask her to go back and re-read that earlier page and then try it again. Word repetition is common in 1 Green books for this purpose.
  • Ask your child questions about what she’s read to keep the focus on thinking and learning, not just on whether she got all the words right. Avoid, however, making it sound as if you are testing your child. Below are some sample questions to ask. If your reader doesn’t know the answers, help him go back in the book to help find the answers together.
    1. About the plot: “Can you tell me what happened in this book?”
    2. About specific topics: “Can you tell me something that animal likes to eat?”
    3. About her opinion: “What was your favorite part of the book?” or “How do you think the dog felt when the cat ate his food?”
  • Don’t discourage your child from continuing to point to each word as she says it. Tracking is extremely helpful in managing the many complex skills your child is trying to master all at once. She’ll outgrow it naturally when she is ready.


Learning to Read 1 Green Books

What Mistakes Should I Correct?

  • Make sure your child says one word for each word on the page.
  • Make sure the words your child supplies start with the right first letter and make sense.
  • When your child is stuck on a new Power Word that is hard to guess based on the meaning of the sentence, just tell her the word.

Try the Next Level

2 Green


Every child is a good reader with the right book. Browse our books and collections.

Browse 1 Green Book Collections