30 Things You Didn’t Know about I Can Read!

This year we are celebrating 60 years of I Can Read Books! To kick off the party, here are 30 things you didn’t know about this beginning reader series:

1. The first I Can Read! book was published in 1957.

2. The series is specifically made for children who are learning how to read.

3. Level 1 is for children beginning to read on their own.

4. Level 2 is for readers who may need some help.

5. Level 3 is for readers who are comfortable on their own.

6. Level 4 is perfect for advanced readers who will soon be ready for chapter books.

7. It’s an award winning, top-notch series for kids. I Can Read! has won the Newbery Honors, Caledcott Honoros, and the Geisel Honor for easy-to-read books.

8. Specific subject matters and topics are chosen for each level, like animals, home, school, adventure, science and more.

9. The reading levels are also aligned with academic standards like Guided Reading Levels, Fountas & Pinnell, Lexile Levels, and Accelerated Reading Range.

10. There are over 400 books in the series!

11. Over 15,000 retailers carry I Can Read! books.

12. With over 175 million titles sold, I Can Read! continues to be beloved by educators, parents, and kids.

13. Color coordinated: My First books are designated with a yellow circle. Level 1 books are designated with a blue circle. Level 2 books are designated with a red circle. Level 3 books are designated with a green circle. Level 4 books are designated with a purple circle.

14. The first I Can Read! Book is Little Bear, written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

15. There are I Can Read! specific phonics boxes available featuring beloved characters like Pinkalicious, Biscuit, Little Critter, and more.

16. Every I Can Read! book features dynamic and lively full color illustrations.

17. If you’re looking for activities, I Can Read! has dozens of free activities available to print at home.

18. Free printable teaching guides are available on our website.

19. Written by veteran New Yorker cartoonist Sud Hoff, Danny and the Dinosaur was selected as an Outstanding Children’s Book of the Year by The New York Times in 1958.

20. Garth Williams was chosen to illustrate Emmett’s Pig after his work on Charlotte’s Web in 1959. Both books display an affinity for portraying the softer side of swine.

21. Cat and Dog written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Fritz Siebel is one of the earliest I Can Read! books, published in 1960.

22. In 1969, six I Can Read! titles were translated into Spanish by New York librarian Pura Belpré.

23. HarperCollins announces that I Can Read! titles will be available in paperback formats for the first time in 1978.

24. Biscuit was the very first book and character in the My First level.

25. While watching her daughter play with their neighbor’s frisky dog, Biscuit author Alyssa Capucilli was struck by her daughter’s patience, as well as the fact that her little girl thought the dog understood every word she said. That was the inspiration for the little yellow puppy and his sweet companion.

26. The Berenstain Bears made their debut in 2005 with The Berenstain Bears Clean House.

27. Picture book characters appear in the I Can Read! format to help provide children with a sense of continuity as they graduate to reading by themselves.

28. I Can Read! books that are published today are usually 32 pages long.

29. From books your child reads with you to the first books he or she reads alone, there are I Can Read! books for every stage of reading!

30. A conversation between the director of Harper’s Department of Books for Boys and Girls, Ursula Nordstrom, and Boston Public Library’s Virginia Haviland inspired the I Can Read! book series. Haviland told Norstrom that a young boy had burst into the children’s reading room and asked her where he could find books that were just right for a brand-new reader like himself.

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