Margaret Hillert Primers - Books for Kindergartners

Margaret Hillert
Love, love, love
Margaret Hillert's little books. I used them as the first practice readers for my children. Boy and girl, they both loved being able to read stories to me! Stories that were very familiar to them.

And I loved the way these classic books built their confidence.

Pam T
Mom to La-la and The Spud

On this page we feature Margaret Hillert's Absolutely Easiest Practice Readers. These are books written at what educators call the pre-primer level. That's because they are so very simple. AR (Accelerated Reading) Levels of 0.5 to 0.6!

bookcover of The Birthday Car by Margaret HillertThe Birthday Car

Well, you can probably guess from the cover what this little boy got for his birthday. Yes, he got a little red peddle car!

This story
features boys in cars and wagons going around town. The text talks about colors and up and down. It ends with an all boy party at the child's house.

Here's some sample page to help you assess the level:
excerpt from Hillert's The Birthday Car
click image to enlarge
Reading Information:
Word Count: 171
(hover here to see the 39 unique words)
Page Count: 28
Accelerated Reading Level: 0.5 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 9353
Lexile: BR

bookcover of The Little Runaway by Margaret HillertThe Little Runaway

If you look at the cover you can see one little kitten hiding behind that big pumpkin. It's this kitty that is the subject of this delightful story where a mother cat calls her babes, and all return except for this mischievous little orange one who runs away.

Here's some sample text:
Come here, little one.
Come here to me.
No, no.
I want to go away.
Here I go.
One, two, three.

The kitten then has lots of adventures. It plays with a hose and sees a mole. It sees Mallard ducks flying in formation. It plays in fall leaves and ouch! gets bonked on the head by a ripe apple that falls from a tree. The first misadventure comes when orange kitten falls into the pool while admiring a fish. His spirits are bolstered though when he/she watches a squirrel gathering nuts.
Work, work, work.
You can work.
I see you work.
When the squirrel won't stop and play, the kitten has his second misadventure when he finds a scary pumpkin on the front steps.
Oh, oh, oh.
Where is my mother?
Help, help.
It all ends well, of course, with momma and baby reunited.

This is a very good example of where you see Margaret's experience as a first grade teacher shining brightly. This book is not only an excellent beginning reader, but it can also be tied into a study of colors and the seasons.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 196
[45 pre-primer words]
Page Count: 28
Accelerated Reading Level: 0.5 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 9382

bookcover of The Funny Baby  by Margaret HillertThe Funny Baby

A retelling of the story of the ugly duckling who becomes the most graceful of all.
Away we go!
Away, away, away.

Oh, oh, oh.
Look down here.
See me.
See me.
See big, big me.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 213
Page Count: 28
Accelerated Reading Level: 0.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 9364
  • Publisher: Modern Curriculum Press
  • ISBN-10: 0813655161
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bookcover of The 3 Bears  by Margaret HillertThe Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears story told in the very simplest language.
See the house.
It is red and yellow.
It is a funny little house.

One, two, three.
One is father.
One is mother.
One is baby

The father is big.
The baby is little.
Reading Information:
Word Count: 201
Page Count: 28
Accelerated Reading Level: 0.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 9391

bookcover of The 3 Goat  by Margaret HillertThe Three Goats

The Billy Goats Gruff retold in very simple words. The drawings had me laughing. The goats were so cute!
See the goats.
One, two, three goats.
Goats can run and jump.

The little goat said, "I want something."
I want to find something.
Away I go.
Reading Information:
Word Count: 219
Page Count: 28
Accelerated Reading Level: 0.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 9392
  • Publisher: Modern Curriculum Press
  • ISBN-10: 0813655544
  • amazon or amazon

bookcover of The Magic Beans by Margaret HillertThe Magic Beans

This little Margaret Hillert primer retells the story of Jack and the Beanstalk using 44 pre-primer words. I especially like that many of the elements, like the goose and the lyre, are kept in this story.
Here is something.
It is not big.
It is little and red. (the goose)

Look, look.
It can work.
It can make something.

Come to me.
Come to me.
I want you.
Come to my house.
Away we go.

Oh, look here.
Here is something for Mother.
Something for my mother.

The text may be very simple, but along with the pictures by Mel Pekarsky the story is retold and little ones can read it for themselves, and to you.
excerpt from Hillert's The Magic Beansclick image to enlarge

Reading Information:

Word Count: 240
[44 pre-primer words]
Page Count: 28
Accelerated Reading Level: 0.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 9383
  • Publisher: Modern Curriculum Press
  • ISBN-10: 0813655536
  • amazon

bookcover of The 3 Little Pigs by Margaret HillertThree Little Pigs

3 Little Pigs story in very simple language. This book has lots of repetition of 'here is a pig' which can be helpful in building reading confidence.

See my house.
It is a little house.
It is yellow.
Reading Information:
Word Count: 189
Page Count: 28
Accelerated Reading Level: 0.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 9393
Lexile: BR
  • Publisher: Modern Curriculum Press
  • ISBN-10: 0813655358 and 1599530503
  • amazon

bookcover of The Yellow Boat by Margaret HillertThe Yellow Boat

The story of a little yellow boat which sails away and the things that can be seen from the boat.
Look here, look here.
See the little boat.
A little yellow boat.

The boat can go.
It can go away.
Go, little boat, go.
You are probably expecting a simple story about a yellow boat, but Margaret always gives us more. Right after the boat goes, we get to see 'something funny'. The 'something funny' is a frog which jumps. We also get to see turtle, which goes down, and fish.

The boat takes us on a journey past frogs that jump, turtles which go down, fish and cattails. A dragon fly which goes up. And a mother and yellow baby ducks. And a crayfish which the narrator says makes them want to run. The boy and boat meet up again and he takes the boat home.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 209
[43 pre-primer words]
Page Count: 28
Accelerated Reading Level: 0.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 9400

Other resources:
-- a great online site that teaches phonics in a fun way

Leapfrog Letter and Talking Words Factory -- these inexpensive videos give children a fabulous phonetic background. Absolutely great to use with active children that won't sit for more traditional lessons.