Preparing children for kindergarten can seem like a daunting task. Also, it seems that each year, the checklists of the skills your child requires before beginning kindergarten grows longer. For example, there is a brief checklist of the skills a child requires to start kindergarten on the Scholastic website, and then there is an extensive list on the Leapfrog website. How do we know whether we are doing enough? What sort of things can we do so that our children acquire these skills? Deborah Stewart from Teach Preschool has simplified the whole process for us with her new book Ready for Kindergarten. To kick off the book launch, I was given the opportunity with several other bloggers to join in a blog book study of the book.
Full Disclosure: The author of Ready for Kindergarten! provided a review copy of the book. However, all opinions expressed are my own!
This is truly a fantastic book. With the amount of information available at our fingertips, and the inspiration from websites such as Pinterest, I was constantly questioning whether I was doing enough with my children. This book and the ideas within its pages remind me that the best approach is to keep things simple. The ideas are play-based and not at all time consuming to prepare or do. With Deborah’s explanations and examples, preparing our children for Kindergarten becomes easy and not so overwhelming.
For the book study, I am focusing on the chapter Now I Know My ABCs. We all know that the ABCs are the building blocks of our language. Knowing our ABCs is integral to learning to read and developing literacy skills. Deborah outlines three areas related to knowing the ABCs. These are:
- Knowing the Alphabet
- Letter Recognition
- Letter Sounds
Below are examples of some simple play-based activities we do in our home to implement these strategies:
The easiest way to learn the alphabet is to sing songs. There are countless music CDs with different alphabet songs available, but the traditional alphabet song sung by you at home throughout the day is still an effective way to teach our children the alphabet.
Not only do children need to know the alphabet, they also need to recognise the letters of the alphabet. We try and teach this skill by using:
- an alphabet poster or cards. Our alphabet wall cards double up as our word wall for my older children.
- alphabet books. Read these on a regular basis to help your children recognise the letters of the alphabet.
- alphabet puzzles. I leave these around the house and, without fail my children attempt to complete them.
- alphabet games such as the game fishing for letters
- play dough with alphabet cookie cutters
- sandpaper letters. My children love the sensory experience of tracing the sandpaper letters. Simultaneously, they are learning the letter names and the strokes for writing the letters.
The Sounds of Letters
Recognising the letter of the alphabet and knowing the sound the letter makes are two different things. Children need to know the sounds a letter makes to be able to learn to read. Our favourite simple play-based method for teaching the sounds of the letters of the alphabet is the game I Spy with my Little Eye something beginning with letter name. Very quickly, children beginning making connections between the letters and the sounds they make through this game. Also, we reinforce this through the Leapfrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set. This is all very easy and it works.
Deborah’s book Ready for Kindergarten has many more play-based ideas for preparing your child for kindergarten. Some of the areas covered include:
- Fine motor skills
- Large motor skills
- Name recognition
- Preparing a child for reading
- Preparing a child for writing
- Counting and number recognition
- The arts
- Personal health
Be sure to check out the other bloggers that are contributing to this book study to get more ideas on how you can prepare your child for kindergarten.