Am home ed DD, 5 years old. We do have some ORT and other 'reading program' books, but they are pretty dull generally. DD loves to listen to Enid Blighton and the like, and the mismatch between her comprehension level and reading ability (which is practically none at this stage) is huge and I'm afraid those 'program' books will turn her right off reading.
Any ideas? I heard the 'Acorn wood' books illistrated by Axle Scheffler were good for beginner readers, but looking at them on amazon they look a bit like 'baby books' maybe?
My children have liked the Dr Zeuss (Fox in socks in bricks on blocks...), Puddle Lane series, the Ladybird early reader fairy tales mentioned already (we have lots of these, Billy goats gruff, magic porridge pot etc).
Also there are picture books based on phonics which work as early readers - Duck in the Truck and similar.
Ds2 (5) was very similar and struggled with his reading but was bright and had great comprehension. By coincidence we have also been reading Enid Blyton for bedtime stories, both of my boys love the Faraway Tree and Wishing Chair books.
I have been working quite a lot with him since last January (when he was still 4) as he really wasn't getting there at school for various reasons and he has come on in leaps and bounds.
I tried several different schemes to try and interest/motivate him.
To be honest the books he likes best are the Dr Seuss books. He thinks they are funny and enjoys the pictures, while the rhyming and repetition help him with his reading.
We also bought Oxford Read Write Phonics which I thought would make a change from relentless Biff, Kipper et al. Despite them being more formal and 'programmey' ds seems to like them, I think because there are two stories per book and each is short enough to manage in a short session before he loses interest. He particularly likes the one where the alien makes a pizza and puts lots of different disgusting foods on it - apparently that's hilarious.
The complete set of Usborne Phonics Readers which he seems to enjoy reading, I think because the stories aren't as dull as the ORT type books and again the rhyming helps him to decode the words. Shark in the Park is a favourite from that set.
The other thing we did was buy Word Whammer Fridge Phonics and this really increased his enthusiasm for working out how simple cvc words are formed. He really likes playing with it.
Thinking outside the box ... how old is your baby? When DD1 was at a similar stage she liked having a go at reading to her little sister. Which meant she could practice reading by using the nice, simple baby & toddler books, without feeling that they were beneath her!
Failing that, has your library got an early readers' section? Ours has a nice mixture of ladybird books, a few reading scheme books and simple "proper" books. There's plenty of interesting stuff and it allows them to find things that are actually fun.