Have you ever wondered, “How can my child prepare for success in Kindergarten?” or “What do kindergarten teachers really want kids to know?” Your child’s success in the fall can start as early as today! Kindergarten is an exciting time for everyone, but it can also be a confusing time for parents who are not familiar with the expectations in today’s kindergarten classroom.
These suggestions will help you build some of the critical kindergarten readiness skills with your child. We will continue to post more tips and expectations, so be sure to check back regularly!
Read to Your Child Everyday
It is crucial that you READ to your child every single day. We simply cannot stress enough the importance of doing so. This will help them start to understand what print is and that print has meaning. This is also a great opportunity for children to learn new vocabulary. Kindergarten teachers easily recognize students who have this routine in place at home. Those students typically have a significant advantage over students who did not have this experience at home. If you do nothing else, please implement or expand on your reading routine. See our blog post here on questions to ask while reading with your child to enhance the reading experience even further.
- Instead of using flashcards, play games to help your child recognize the letters of the alphabet.
- Read alphabet books.
- Start with focusing on letters that are meaningful to your child, such as:
- the first letter of their first name
- the first letter of the names of family members
- the rest of the letters in their own first name
- Find items around the house or in magazines that begin with the same sound and identify the letter that makes each sound.
- Overemphasize the first sound in words to help your child hear the individual sounds in words.
- Read books that focus on beginning sounds.
- Help your child practice writing letters correctly (top to bottom, left to right), especially the letters in his or her name.
- Teach your child how to write his or her name with an uppercase first letter and the remaining letters in lowercase.
- When practicing, make learning fun and multisensory by allowing your child to finger draw by using shaving cream, rice and/or sand in a cookie sheet.
Number Recognition and Counting
- Count throughout the day, aim for your child to count from 0-10. This is also a great opportunity to have fun with counting by using goldfish or small candies.
- Point out numbers you see in your environment and have your child name them (for example, the numbers found on packages or around your neighborhood).
Attention and Following Directions
- Give your child two and three-step directions. For example: “brush your teeth, use the restroom and pick a book to read.”
- Play Simon Says with two or three-step directions. For example: “Simon Says to pat your head and run in place for 3 seconds.”
- To build attention span, the goal is for your child to sit through the entire story as you read to them.
K Prep Series
For more detailed activities and explanations to help prepare for success in Kindergarten, check out our K Prep Series for unlimited access to over 25 modules that include:
- Detailed explanations of the literacy skills needed
- Videos that are quick and to the point
- Simple, straightforward activities you can do with your child immediately to boost these skills
- Extension activities
- Printable materials
All of these tips will help your child prepare for success in Kindergarten! For even more information on Kindergarten readiness, check out one of our favorite resources, Reading Rockets.
Written by Andrea Balsly, M.Ed. and Meghan Manning, M.S.Ed., Co-Creators of the Prep Series. Andrea is a Reading Specialist, Instructional Coach and Teacher, as well as a Professional Development Course Facilitator. Meghan is the Founder of Growth Education, Professor of Early Childhood Education, and has teaching experience in London, NYC, and Virginia.