Loretta Short, a Reading Recovery® teacher in West Michigan, began writing Short Books for her reading students in 1996 after she became frustrated by her inability to find early reader texts focused on the first sight words children need to learn to read automatically. She also discovered that early reader books were too predictable, filled with colorful, busy illustrations, and not focused on the high frequency words. Loretta solved these problems by writing her own books to use with her students.
Using high frequency words as defined by Reading Recovery® the books were written to focus on presenting each of the key words in a non-predictable text with simple illustrations and cumulative so each book built on the vocabulary previously learned. The books were produced to be affordable so each child could have their own copy to take home and keep. The children and parents loved the Short Books!
Word spread of the Short Books and soon colleagues wanted copies of Loretta’s books for their own students to use in class and take home. Interest in the Short Books continued to grow as teachers and workshop presenters at reading conferences in Michigan and the Midwest commented on their effectiveness. Short Books became so popular that over 1,000,000 of these affordable, teacher created books have been purchased by teachers nationwide!
Loretta Short retired in 2001 and Short Books was transferred to a team of educators dedicated to building on the foundation created by Loretta. Today, Short Books are widely known as the first and best source of classroom texts focused on high frequency vocabulary!