School is in session! Even if your child has been going to pre-school or prep classes, kindergarten is likely the first time they will be attending a full-day, 5 days a week class. Kindergarten introduces the educational framework that will lead your child through their adolescence and into higher education. Luckily, your child has been preparing for this moment simply by growing, gaining new experiences, and interacting with the world each day. But as the first day of kindergarten approaches, you can boost your child’s readiness by introducing additional elements into your daily reading routine. These simple adjustments to storytime will be the wind beneath your little one’s wings as they walk through the front doors on that first day of school.
Review Stories After Reading
In order to prepare your child for reading in a classroom setting, discuss the story after reading. Rather than being done with a book after the last page, ask your child to repeat what happened in the story. Who were the characters? Where did the story take place? How did the characters feel in the story? Asking your child to repeat the details of the story will help with their attention and reading comprehension.
Ask Open-ended Questions
But don’t just ask questions that have strict answers! As much as we want to boost our children’s reading comprehension and information retention, we also want them to cultivate their own ideas and think beyond “yes” or “no” answers. So ask your child who their favorite character was. Ask them how the story made them feel. Or what they think could happen next in the story. Ask if they liked the story or not, and why. Asking open-ended questions encourages your child to think critically and creatively. It also inspires them to form and share their own opinions and gain confidence in their unique way of thinking.
Establish Reading Routines
Creating routines is key to preparing your child for kindergarten. A full day of class will contain more structure than they’ve experienced before, so introducing daily routines at home can be a wonderful beginning. Morphing storytime into a routine is a great way to do that. Instead of just reading every day, try reading every day for twenty minutes after breakfast, or right before dinner. Pick whatever time fits in your schedule, but be sure to be consistent so that your child becomes accustomed to the daily routine. Once they go to kindergarten, reading or doing other work at the same time each day will feel familiar!
Do a Story Based Activity
As you establish a reading routine, try introducing an activity to go along with your reading. This can be anything and can be adapted to your child’s interests. If your child loves drawing, have them draw their favorite character from the story. If they love dolls or action figures, act out a part of the story. If they love physical activity, go on a scavenger hunt to find items that were in the story. Feel free to be creative! Partaking in these activities will not only help with your child’s reading engagement, but it will also prepare them for classwork.
Take a Trip
Home is where the heart is… but it’s not where kindergarten is! You want your child to be comfortable learning in other places and with other people. So try not to do all your reading at home. Sign your child up for classes! Take trips to the bookstore or library not only to pick out books but to sit and read for a bit. Introduce your child to the idea of reading, learning, and existing in a public space that is away from home. Once the first day of kindergarten rolls around, your child will know what it’s like to adjust to new environments.
Preparing your child for kindergarten can feel scary, but have grace for yourself and remember: there is no secret formula. As Mark Twain said, “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.”
“5 Ways to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten.” Wise Wonder Enrichment, 9 Nov. 2021, https://booknooknyc.com/5-ways-to-prepare-your-child-for-kindergarten/.
“Ready or Not Kindergarten, Here We Come!” NAEYC, https://www.naeyc.org/our-work/families/kindergarten-here-we-come.