June, July, August:  Making the 90 days until kindergarten pay off

Sure, it is the season for sandcastles and swim fins. However, for kids starting kindergarten in the fall, it means just 3 months until beginning the adventure of a lifetime. Help them cross off tasks on their “to do” list in preparation for it! Investing some summer fun time into getting ready will pay off richly.

On the Get Ready to Read! website, the article, “Preparing for Kindergarten Begins the Year Before,”  by Karen Golembeski, M.Ed., offers some great ideas and resources for meeting kindergarten entry goals. Though the article suggests getting started in earnest “the year before,” much can be accomplished in the next few weeks—in between sunscreen and s’mores.

Golembeski, assistant director of public policy at the National Center for Learning Disabilities, writes, “The year before kindergarten is the time to learn important skills, such as tracing the shapes of letters and numbers on paper, following simple instructions, recognizing the title of a book, and matching rhyming sounds.” She notes these skills form a “foundation of strong prereading and prewriting skills necessary for future work with letters and sounds in kindergarten.”

She also observes that “Tasks that may be second nature to older children, like properly holding a pencil and listening to a story with a group, are some of the vital skills kindergarteners will be expected to know when school begins.”

Skills needed for a successful school start are often called “readiness skills,” implying readiness for school. Back in 2012 the Teach Mama blog featured an entry titled, “How to Prepare Your Child for Kindergarten—Summertime Prep,” on kindergarten readiness. The post focused on name-writing and  identifying letters and sounds, working with sight words, playing with numbers (including math poetry!), and “reading, reading, reading.” It also offered several fresh, fun ways to learn the alphabet, including ABC Hide and Seek.

Little Get Ready! books, including Get Ready for Kindergarten!, Get Ready for Math! and Get Ready to Read! are unique tablet-format workbooks with tear-out-pages featuring activities that develop readiness skills. They are just the right size for small hands and also an easy fit in backpacks or totes for take-along learning fun. The Alphabet Stickers Workbook, with 267 charming stickers, helps little ones get stuck on learning as they lock in ABCs. “Trace Q. Then write Q. Then place the stickers that show the Q sound, like Quarter and Queen.” When kids complete the book, a full-page Certificate of Achievement awaits.

On a slightly different note, the Little Thinkers Kindergarten workbook focuses on rhyming words, story order, and addition and subtraction skills. Dozens of quick, fun, and creative learning activities encourage looking—and thinking—carefully. Little Thinkers® have to compare, evaluate, and imagine.

Social-emotional development also factors into school readiness. About Parenting offers “5 Social Skills That Are Important for Kindergarten,” by Amanda Morin. One of the important skills noted is: “Can communicate needs and feelings verbally in a socially appropriate manner and understands/recognizes that other people have feelings.”

Summer means beach time, twilight bedtimes, and high doses of vitamin D-saturated sunshine. For little ones crossing the kindergarten threshold in the fall, it is also an important time to build ABC, 123, and empathy skills.