Yesterday I got an email about the results of a new study, compiled by PBS Kids and youth and family research firm Smarty Pants, on parents with young children aged 2-6 which found that American families are struggling to prepare their children for kindergarten with five out of 10 parents worrying that their child won’t have the basic skills they need when they start elementary school.
I shared this info on The Harried Mom’s Facebook page and asked readers along with some of my IRL (“In Real Life”) mommy friends to share with me their top tip to get kids onto the path to school readiness. The most common response I got was reading to/with children on a daily basis and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree!
Reading isn’t just fundamental to a child’s education and learning foundation, it’s essential. Children will be reading in one way or another – from books/magazines/social media to the ingredients in a recipe, from the directions of dosage on a medicine bottle to filling out job applications – their entire life. Reading helps to develop children’s minds and inspire their imaginations.
We try to read daily to our kidlets who are six (1st grade) and four (pre-school) and we make weekly trips to our local library. In addition to books that The Hubs, I or the kidlet’s sitter select for them, we always let them pick out a few books of their own choice to read for the week.
My son’s go-to reading book these days is any one from the “Elephant and Piggie” series by Mo Willems. This series feature two friends, an elephant named Gerald and a pig named, well, Piggie, who learn useful lessons about friendship, sharing, kindness and problem solving What I like about this series is that you do not have to read these books in any particular order. You can pick up any book in the series and start the reading fun from there.
“Elephant and Piggie” books are written in a conversational style – sort of like comic books where the words appear in bubbles above the character’s head which makes it not only easy for children to read, but also easy for them to understand who is saying what. Gerald and Piggie are drawn against a white background which keeps things uncluttered (and kids focused on the characters) but are able to convey the story and their feelings through super expressive faces and crazy body language.
My son loves these books so much that he did his first ever-book report – or should I say book float (which the entire 1st grade had to complete and then they took all the floats on book parade around the school – so fun!) on “A Big Guy Took My Ball.” The basic gist of the story is that Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! She runs to her best pal Gerald for help since he’s big, too…but is he big enough to help out his best friend vs a big blue whale?
My four-year old daughter is into more abstract books. She’s not yet reading independently so she loves to sit down and look at books that feature whimsical illustrations and visual humor.
Her favs these days are “I Want My Hat Back” by Jon Klassen which tells the story of a bear who almost gives up his search for his beloved missing hat until he remembers something important. The story is a little dark – all I’ll say is that does not end well for the rabbit, but its a fun read for both kids and adults.
Now it takes two hands to pick her up, and now this fussy eater finishes all her food in “Is That My Cat?” by Jonathan Allen from Sterling Children’s Books
She also just got a new book, “Is That My Cat” by Jonathan Allen that she seems to like. This is a silly story about a boy as he tries to figure out why his cat, normally playful, agile and lithe, has morphed into a plump feline who now struggles to get through the cat door, scarfs down her food and gets herself stuck up a tree. The boy eventually discovers his cat hiding in the closet and gets a big, happy surprise (let’s just say she’s not alone in there, she’s got a “fan club” and leave it at that).
So now it’s your turn to share. What is your top tip to get your kids on the path to school readiness? What’s on your kid’s reading list these days?
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