Readers 3-4

Let’s get our preschoolers ready for school …

No two preschoolers are the same. And it seems no two days with a preschooler are the same as their minds and the world they experience are changing so rapidly. All the while, they’re searching for ways to show us how they’re figuring it all out.

We just have to look out for cues from them. And once we do, we could be helping them expand their brains, and build their confidence, in exactly the right ways. And that’s what our children need the most from us to get them ready to become strong readers and writers.

… and our older ones registered for Kindergarten! 

Did you know Kindergarten registration opens in January for the school district? And that many charters have registration that is due January 31st? If your child is in their last year of PreK visit the school districts kindergarten registration page or find out about other private and charter options at!

Life is full of teachable moments.  

What we do as parents and other loving grownups can make all the difference. And what we’re talking about doesn’t take extra money, or even more time.

Experts say little changes we make in our children’s lives can make really big changes in getting them to the read-by-4th the milestone. Some ideas:

  • Make active reading an everyday thing. Read with your child rather than to her. Ask questions that can’t be answered with a yes or no. Share new words at every chance. Connect the story to your child: “How do you think she feels now? Have you ever felt that way? What would you do?”
  • Repeat and celebrate. A child wanting to read from the same book over and over again is actually a clear sign they’re reading, even if it’s just from memory, and gaining more confidence each time! 
  • Make homemade signs of objects in the house. Seeing words all over the place is a great way to boost your child’s recognition of common words.
  • Get in the routine of packing your child’s favorite book and paper and markers for drawing. Reading together is great for bus rides, waiting rooms, etc. Forgot to pack books? No worries. It’s a perfect time to make up stories, draw together or to play Guess What. Describe or draw something without saying what it is. “It has four wheels and a horn that goes beep-beep.”
  • Show them reading and writing is everywhere, not just in books. Read aloud all the signs you see together. Because children start recognizing letters around the time they turn 3, have them point out letters they see. And then keep the conversation going: “You’re right! That’s a G, and your name begins with a G. G for Gia!”
  • Play, then play some more. Whatever, whenever, wherever you play, give your children in-the-moment attention. Set up no-cell-phone zones during play time. Make your imaginations the best toy to share. What may seem like fun and games are building the motor, social and literacy skills they need for school.

Whether you’re playing, drawing, telling stories or reading together, try to stretch the time you have together—not just in minutes, but in the amount of attention you give.

Concerned your child is falling behind?

Here’s a short checklist of milestones to help make sure your child is on solid footing as they get ready for kindergarten.  

School-Ready Milestones for 3-year-olds: Can your child…

  • Tell you their name and their favorite toy’s name?
  • Say sentences with five or more words?
  • Ask questions to understand things better?

School-Ready Milestones for 4-year-olds: Can your child…

  • Write a few letters?
  • Tell the difference between real and pretend?
  • Use their imagination to make up and draw stories?

Don’t be too worried if your child takes a bit more time to reach a milestone. But if you want a specialist’s opinion, call ChildLink at 215-685-4646 to set up a private home visit. This development assessment is free to all children under the age of 3 in Philadelphia.

Sign up for Ready4K

Ready4K is a research-based text messaging program for parents provided at no cost! Each week, you will receive fun facts and easy tips to boost your child’s learning. Most importantly, Ready4K activities build on the things that you already do with your child–like getting ready for school, eating meals together, and going to the store–making boosting your child’s learning fast, fun and easy. Sign up below!

Most of what we share comes from parents like you, so we welcome your ideas. Send us an email or call us.