You know that commerical with the dad prancing happily through the aisles of an office supply store, while Andy Williams' It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year plays in the background and two obviously unenthusiastic kids trail behind? I absolutely love that commercial!
It's true that Back to School season can be a joyous time for parents, but if this is the first time your child is going to school, the experience can be more nerve-wracking than celebratory. Add to that the complexities of being in a new country, and the experience can seem downright terrifying!
Don't worry! Toronto Public Library is here to help! If you want to get your preschooler ready for school, one of the most important things you can do is sign them up for one of our Ready for Reading storytimes. In fact, it's never too early to get your child ready for reading. From the moment your child is born, you can get a library card for them, and attend one of the many Ready for Reading Baby Time programs available at branches throughout the city.
Ready for Reading programs usually run once a week for six weeks. Each week, we cover a new skill that your child will need in order to develop their reading readiness.
The six skills that your child will need to develop in order to learn how to read are:
- Print Motivation - I Like Books!
- Phonological Awareness - I Hear Words!
- Vocabulary - I Know Words!
- Narrative Skills - I Can Tell a Story!
- Print Awareness - I See Words!
- Letter Knowledge - I Know Letters!
Ready for Reading storytimes are great, not only because they help your child develop these very important reading skills, but also because they will help your child develop the social skills they'll need to function well in a classroom setting.
If you can't make it to one of our Ready for Reading storytimes, you can access our YouTube videos for a sample of our Ready for Reading songs and rhymes:
Here are some of my favourite preschool Ready for Reading books:
ABC's & 123's
Another thing you can do with your child to help them get ready for school is read ABC and 123 books with them. At some branches, ABC and 123 books are shelved separately from the rest of the picture book collection, which makes them really easy to find and browse through. In other branches, ABC and 123 books are interfiled with the rest of the picture book collection, but can still be easily found by their special "ABC" and "123" labels.
Here are some of my favourite ABC and 123 books: