This simple advice on kindergarten readiness comes from a kindergarten teacher: “Of all the activities to get your child ready for kindergarten, the single most important thing you can do is to READ!” Modeling reading and reading with your child every day is the best thing you can do to help your child prepare for kindergarten. Isn’t that a relief?
Consider these recommendations from an experienced kindergarten teacher:
Model Your Own Enjoyment in Reading
Does your child see you reading material that is not on a screen? With daily use of phones and tablets, it’s easy to substitute a device for a printed book, magazine, or newspaper—but it’s important to model reading books for your child and model your own enjoyment in reading.
Spend Time Reading with Your Child
Devote about 20 minutes a day to reading and talking about what you’ve read. For example, ask your child’s opinion about the story to encourage him or her to interact with the text. And, most importantly, find books on topics that interest your child, whether it’s dinosaurs, tractors, or princesses.
Get a Library Card
Frequent library visits help you find books on topics that interest your child, and librarians are a great resource for book ideas. Be sure to check your library’s schedule for story-time events.
Read Rhyming Books
Select some books that rhyme. Rhyming books and songs help children recognize sound patterns in the language, as well as the rhythm of the language.
What about fine motor skill development? Kindergarten teachers agree that fine motor skills are developmental and depend on when a child is ready, but you can supplement reading with creative activities that are fine motor focused, such as crafts, cutting, coloring, painting, Legos, Playdough, and beading. For supplemental activities that include mazes, matching, and crafts, try these Evan-Moor resources: Never-Bored Kid Books (PreK–K) and At-Home Tutor: Reading (PreK).
The ultimate goal is to encourage reading and nurture a life-long love of reading. The good news for parents is that taking time to read puts your child on the path to academic success in kindergarten and beyond.
Theresa Wooler has more than 10 years’ experience in K–6 classrooms as a parent volunteer and homeschool educator, has taught high school English, and is currently involved in education through Evan-Moor’s marketing communications team.