Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten Reading?

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Posted on: March 3, 2016

With only a few months remaining in the school year, parents, children, and schools are already beginning to plan for next year. Kindergarten round-up orientation sessions are being held in the coming weeks so families can learn what to expect as their children prepare to enter kindergarten. As a parent, schools will inform you of what will happen in the coming school year, but you also are probably wondering how to best prepare your child for school. You can use the checklist below to help you prepare your child for kindergarten reading. Our checklist includes skills and suggestions that will help set up your child for reading success. Within each foundational reading skill area, we have included questions for you to ask yourself. A “yes” answer can help reassure you that your child is getting ready for kindergarten reading. If you answer “no” to a question, we have provided suggestions for how you might help your child with this skill at home.  

Alphabet Knowledge

Ask yourself:

  • Can my child identify and name some letters of the alphabet?
  • Can my child identify some letter sounds?
  • Can my child identify the letters in his name?

How to help at home:

  • Point out letters around the house or in a store. Tell your child the letter name and the sound it makes. If you need a refresher on correct letter sounds, check out this video or these quick sheets.
  • Make letters using shaving cream or clay. Make a letter and have your child copy it. As he makes it, talk about the letter name and the sound it makes.
  • Write your child’s name as many places as possible. Talk about the letters in his name.

Print Has Meaning

Ask yourself:

  • Can my child recognize her name in print?
  • Does my child know that printed words tell the story, rather than the pictures?
  • Can my child recognize familiar print in everyday life?

How to help at home:

  • You can write her name on individual pieces of paper. Mix up the letters and have your child try to put them in the correct order for her name.
  • While you are reading with your child, follow the text with your finger as you read so that she understands the words are telling the story.
  • Point out the names of your child’s favorite snacks or stores.   See if she can recognize any labels.

Print Concepts

Ask yourself:

  • Can my child correctly hold a book? Does he understand there is a front and a back to the book?
  • Does my child know a page is read from left to right?
  • Can my child correctly turn pages from the front to the back of the book?

How to help at home:

  • Read books with your child as often as possible. As you begin a book, point out the title on the front of the book.
  • In addition to following the text with your finger as you read the words, sweep your finger from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.
  • Have your child help turn the pages as you read.

How a Story Works

Ask yourself:

  • Can my child follow along and listen to a story read aloud?
  • Is my child able to retell a story she listened to?

How to help at home:

  • While reading with your child, ask her questions about the story. You can ask her to make a prediction about the story or tell you what part of the story she liked best.
  • After your child listens to a story, ask her to tell you what happened in the beginning, the middle, and the end of the story.

Writing

Ask yourself:

  • Does my child understand that writing expresses ideas or a story?
  • Does my child have regular access to writing utensils (markers, crayons, pencils)?

How to help at home:

  • Write a quick story with your child. Have him dictate a story as you record it on paper.
  • Provide your child regular opportunities to write such as by writing a pretend grocery list, schedule, or short note to another family member. It does not matter if a very young child is not making the proper letters or writing all the words correctly yet. You simply want him to understand that the writing represents the words we say and has a message others can read.

  Spending time reading and talking with your child is the best way to help her be prepared for reading in school. Using the questions and suggestions on our checklist, you can help ensure you are setting up your child for academic success.


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