Another in our bi-monthly blog series from contributor Marni Fogelson! Marni is a children’s book author that writes awesome tips to support parents as they raise strong readers!
If your child is in the process of being enrolled in kindergarten, you may have recently received a checklist detailing readiness skills. If your child isn’t currently meeting the expectations, there’s no need to panic: with a little practice, it’s easy to incorporate these literacy skills into your daily life so that your child feels prepared before September.
One important item on the list is the ability for kids to sit quietly during a short story. If your little wiggle worm has trouble keeping still and quiet for a whole story, build up to it by reading a few pages then taking a short break to act what has happened in the story before or have a one-song dance party.
Kindergarten can feel overwhelming, especially for a child who is going to a school environment for the first time. Help soothe nerves (and build listening skills) by reading them a story that tells them what they might expect in their new classroom. We recommend: The Night Before Kindergarten by Julie Durrell, I Love School! By Philomen Sturges, Pirates Go to School by Corinne Demas, and Rufus Goes to School by Kim Griswell.
You can make these short storytimes more engaging by using different voices for the characters or choosing a story with familiar characters (such as Moana or Spider Man). Or, see how the pros do it—attend a storytime session with a children’s librarian at your local library.
Simple storytelling games are a great way to get kids thinking about and involved in the narrative process. You can begin making up a story (or retelling a favorite tale) and then, perhaps at an exciting point, letting your child take the lead and decide what happens next. Kids will love being in charge of where the story goes—the sillier and more fantastical the better!
Another fun game: gather a few items in your house or at the park—toys, a pebble, a hairbrush, etc… and place them in a box. Take turns pulling out one item at a time and incorporating it into a story.
Using comparisons is another item on the readiness checklist. While walking around the city, point out all the comparisons you and your child see: big and small dogs, loud fire engines and quiet libraries, cold ice cream and warm hot chocolate.
While there are other readiness skills on the list to tackle, practicing these on a regular basis will go a long way in helping your child feel confident for kindergarten and in building pre-reading skills that will start him or her down the path of becoming an enthusiastic lifelong learner.
Marni Fogelson is the co-chair of Team First Book Philadelphia, a nonprofit with the mission of providing new, diverse, free books to local children in need. She is also a children’s book author and has written for various parenting and design websites and publications. She loves reading to and with everyone in her family, including her dog Sparky (who is a great listener). Discover the amazing work First Book Philadelphia is doing @FirstBookPhiladelphia