Written by Susan Chau
Community Librarian and Mother of Zoe (age 5)
Kindergarten is a critical age for learning, and as a parent myself we are our child’s first and best teacher. At this age, children make significant progress in developing the building blocks of reading and literacy.
As a community librarian, I am thrilled to see children explore the library and select their own reading materials. Part of how children develop a love of reading and begin the transition to independent reading is by expressing choice in terms of what they do and don’t want to read. When you see your child select their own picture books and check them out for the first time with their own FREE library card, you can’t help but smile! As a mom, this was a big, yet empowering moment for my child.
Here are 5 tips that you can use to ensure your little one is ready for their kindergarten journey:
1. Read – Read anything and everything! Read restaurant menus, labels on packages, and signs when you go for a walk or in the car. Children learn a lot by reading other kinds of print they see around them. These everyday playful experiences will expose children to a variety of reading experiences and the process of reading in everyday life.
2. Talk – Picture books have three times as many ‘rare’ words as most everyday speech, so encourage your child to talk about picture books with you! Your child is learning to form complex thoughts and will ask questions. Talk about whatever they want! Help them understand real and imaginative creatures after reading about them. Children will gain a better sense of their world when you talk to them about their reading.
3. Write - Scribbling leads to writing. Help your child write their name and your names, too. Give your child time to draw, scribble, and write. Practice writing messages to each other. Use magnetic letters on your fridge to help your child distinguish letters. The possibilities are endless!
4. Play – Play fun and silly word games. Match letters and sounds, or find patterns with rhyming. My daughter and I enjoy EPL’s Rhymes and practice the Daily 5 together; on the go, in the library, and at home. You can also perform stories that you read together, or better yet, create your own stories and let your imagination wander!
5. Sing – Singing will help your child hear the smaller sounds in words. It will also encourage them to sound out words when they start to read – a great ability to build up early on.
By practicing together, we are ready (and excited) for Kindergarten. Kindergarten readiness is about getting ready to learn and not about mastering new skills. Give these a try and set your child up for academic success!
Learn how the Edmonton Public Library can help make your child’s Kindergarten days easier to navigate.