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Kindergarten Kick-Off

How to Help Your Kindergartner Get Ready to Read and to Learn

Read to your child daily. A child that is read has advantages.  As you read and talk about books with your child, he or she will develop skills needed to because a successful reader. 

Stop by the Keene Public Library Youth Department to pick up a free 100 Picture books to Read in Kindergarten poster.  The poster lists some of the very best picture books to read to kindergartners. 

The more you read, the more prepared your young student will be to

blue bullet  Learn the names and sounds of letters.

blue bullet  Understand that printed words are made up of different sounds.

blue bullet  Notice that words and sentences have meaning.

blue bullet  Learn about the printed page and that we read from left to right and from top to bottom.

blue bullet  Increase vocabulary - especially less common words that are not typically used in everyday conversation.

blue bullet  Become familiar with new concepts and ideas.

blue bullet  Develop comprehension skills.

blue bullet  Practice spoken language and thinking skills as you talk about the books that you have read together.

blue bullet  Discover the pleasure of reading.

blue bullet  Develop into a life-long learner.

What To Read With a Kindergartner

Your kindergartner will enjoy picture books but don't limit yourself to just the Picture Book Area of the library.  Children can listen to and understand books that are well beyond their reading level.  This is why reading is so important to vocaublary development. 

Your kindergartner may enjoy listening to chapter books, non-fiction books, graphic novels and magazines.  Remeber to preview material to make sure that it is on your child's emotional level though.

To help you select the very best books for kindergarteners, the Keene Public Library offers two suggested book lists and posters: "100 Picture Books to Read in Kindergarten" and "100 More Picgture Books to Read in Kindergarten." 

Tips for Reading Aloud to Kindergartners

Before you begin reading a book, tell your child the title of the book and the name of the author.  Spend some time looking at the cover illustration.  Ask your child what she or he thinks the story will be about. 

Recent research demonstrates that the most effective read-alouds are those in which children are actively in the read alound. These read-alouds, called dialogic reading, result in significant gains in vocabulary and comprehension.

You can make reading interactive and more beneficial by doing these simple things:

blue bullet  Asking your child to predict what he or she thinks will happen next. This sort of analytic thinking is particularly important for accelerating literacy development Encourage predictions or inferences that explain a character's motivation or connect events from different parts of the story.

blue bullet  Point out new information as you read.

blue bullet  Relate your child's experience to action in the book.

blue bullet  Have your child turn the pages of the book.

blue bullet  After you've read a book, start a converasation about the story.  Talking about books that your shared together, helps your child develop comprehension and thinking skills.

blue bullet  Encourage your chlld to retell or act out the story.

blue bullet  Reading the same book over and over again or reading several books on the same topic can be beneficial to your child's literacy development.

blue bullet  Some find it hard to sit still and listen to a story.  If this happens with you and your child, try giving your child paper and crayons.  Ask him or her to draw as you read.

More Activities to Encourage Learning

blue bullet  Play rhyming games with your child.  Rhyming acitivities help children hear the separate sounds that make up words.

blue bullet  Have fun with tongue twisters.  Alliteration or the repetition of the same sound at the beginning of words, helps your child understand that sounds combine to make words.

blue bullet  Make and “I Did It Myself” poster for your refrigerator or for your child’s room. Celebrate all of the things that your child has learned to do on his or her own by writing those things on the chart: "Put on my shoes," "Brush my teeth," Button my shirt," Zip my backpack," and "Ride my tricycle." 

blue bullet  Play school with your child. Take turns being the teacher. Ride in the bus or car, read stories, sing songs, draw pictures, play outdoors, eat lunch with lunch boxes on a tray, and play a game. Pretend to take your child to school.  With your child, think of lots of ways to say goodbye. Decide how you will say goodbye to each other on the first day of kindergarten.

blue bullet  Visit your child’s school and preview school activities. Explore the classroom. Look at the books and materials, find out where the children store backpacks and hang coats.

blue bullet  Find out about the daily schedule for your child’s class. For example, when do they have story time, lunch, outdoor play and rest time? Point out the restrooms, the water fountains, the lunch room, the playground, the principal’s office, the nurse’s office, media center and other special features of your school.

blue bullet  Once school starts, remember to maintain predictable family routines. Establish a regular bedtime for your child. We are healthier when we go to bed and wake up at about the same time everyday. Before bedtime, talk with your child about what clothes he or she will wear tomorrow. Be sure that everything is ready. 

books Books that deal with starting school:

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Franklin Goes to School by Paulette Bourgeois
Off to School, Baby Duck by Amy Hest
Ready to Read, based on Timothy Goes to School by Rosemary Wells
Will I Have a Friend? by Miriam Cohen

World Wide Web Recommended websites:

blue bullet Kindergarten transition made easier - Great tips from Kansas State University assistant professor of elementary education Lori Norton-Meier
blue bullet The Kindergarten Kickoff from Family Education

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