Kindergarten is the start of the thirteen year journey your child will embark on to obtain the necessary knowledge to function in society – seventeen or more years if your child attends college. Kindergarten should be a place that your child will learn, develop self-esteem and increase their knowledge and skills.
Impressions made in kindergarten will impact your child’s view on school. Keep it positive and fun! Here are some areas to get your child “kindergarten ready.”
Oral Language and vocabulary
A fancy way of saying talk and read to your child. Ask and answer questions about every day experiences and the books you are reading. Encourage your child to communicate with other children. If possible, schedule play dates with other children entering kindergarten.
Concepts About Print
You didn’t just pick up a book and begin reading. Well maybe you did but I didn’t. When reading a book, explain simple concepts. Show your child the title and talk about the cover’s picture. Show her how we read left to right, top to bottom. Let her turn the page. Use your fingers or even better have your child move her finger as you read the words. As simple as this sounds show her where you start to read and where the story ends.
Now that’s a mouthful. At a first glance you may think this concept deals with phonics. It does not; it is auditory. Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and speak individual sounds. Simply stated, what sound does your child hear when he says a word? Ask your child, what are the sounds you hear when you say Mom? Focus on activities that emphasize rhyming. For example, sing a song or read nursery rhymes.
This is really that easy. Work with your child on her ability to recognize the letters of the alphabet. Singing the alphabet song and reading books that focus on the letters of the alphabet are a couple common letter identification activities.
Addresses the relationship between each letter and its sound. Work with your child on knowing the basic phonic sound of the letters of the alphabet. You can use flash cards or for more enjoyment for the whole family play Er-u-di-tion – the blue cards were designed specifically to teach the letters of the alphabet and their basic phonic sound. Of course, I had to endorse my family’s game!
A no brainer. Work with your child on recognizing common words (a.k.a. sight words). I would again recommend playing Er-u-di-tion but of course, I am biased. Another way to assist your child in recognizing common words is to point them out when reading. In addition, I recommend visiting our free sight word games page.
I am fortunate to reside in an excellent school district that provides parents with some tools on the above items. I will receive homework for my daughter to complete this summer to assist her when she attends kindergarten in August. Look for subsequent blogs for some fun activities and valuable information.