When I started school, a little over 30 years ago, I was not expected to be familiar with the alphabet when I entered kindergarten. Learning how to read was something that began in first grade. For my children, however, times are different. Children are often expected to have some basic literacy skills by the time they leave preschool.
With these kinds of expectations, I often have parents asking me questions regarding reading readiness for their preschooler. My response to this is that they should not be focused on reading readiness alone. Rather, when it comes to preparing your young child for kindergarten, you should be thinking about school readiness.
What is school readiness? And how is it different than reading readiness?
School readiness is so much more than reading, writing and math. It is the ability to function and be productive with teachers and other children in a classroom. It is understanding how to take turns or why sharing is important. It is mastering self-help skills like eating with utensils and zipping or buttoning a jacket. It is knowing how to follow directions and work within a schedule. These things don’t magically fall into place. They are things that children must learn to be ready for school, just like the alphabet or how to count.
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh can help you play an active role in teaching your little one several of these school readiness skills. For example, bringing your child to storytime helps him to learn how to socialize with other children and adults. It also involves watching a lead adult, learning the storytime routine, and transitioning from one activity to another during the storytime (like returning those shaker eggs to the basket after the songs are over). The specially designed Children’s spaces provide opportunities to practice skills like sharing or taking turns. Children’s Specialists are experts in early learning content and can recommend helpful school readiness books if you have questions about teaching proper potty manners or how to play with other children on the playground.
You are your child’s first and most important teacher. The Library is ready to support you as you help your child get ready for school!
Korie is part of the Library’s Early Learning BLAST Outreach team. Her favorite children’s authors are Kevin Henkes and Audrey and Don Wood. She enjoys making sensory bottles, taking long walks through small neighborhoods and ‘80’s era fantasy films.