Grandparents Teach Too: Tips for Kindergarten Kindergarten Feels Like First Grade

There was a time when kindergarteners went to school to learn how to share, stand in line, and sit on a group rug patiently listening to a story. Academic skills were introduced gradually. Now, caregivers are expected to work on reading readiness skills before children begin school. Kindergarten curriculum feels like First Grade used to.
It has deeper content and expectations. So, how can we incorporate literacy (listening, speaking, reading, writing) readiness activities that support preschool learning in kid-friendly, everyday ways?
First Speaking, Then Reading
Much information is available about the importance of reading aloud to children from birth on. It is the number one thing families can do help children learn to read. Daily read aloud time builds lasting relationships and provides story lessons filled with rich vocabulary.
Repetition, rhythm and rhyme of familiar words are the next valuable skill builders that support beginning reading and spelling. Readiness skills involving spoken language and phonemic awareness (knowing the sounds letters make) can be worked on any time or place families talk to children.
Begin With Rhymes
Recite a nursery rhyme like Hickory, Dickory Dock and see whether children can echo the lines. With older preschoolers, ask how many words they hear in a line. Can they tell you that “Hickory Dickory Dock” has three words and “The mouse ran up the clock” has six words? Help them count by holding up one finger as you say each word in a line. Then, point out that the words “clock” and “dock” rhyme, as do “one” and “run.”
Recite the poem Jack and Jill Went up the Hill. Ask children to tell you words that rhyme in the poem. If they cannot say two rhyming words, supply the words, like “Jill” and “hill” and ask, “Do they rhyme”?
If this is easy for your youngsters, move on to games where they must provide a word that rhymes with one you say. Try the word “fly.” Can they come up with ”by,” “try” or “cry”?
How about “me,” “he,” “we”? Can they make a connection with the sounds? Each time they can provide a rhyming word, tell them that words rhyme when they have the same last sounds so the learner associates the word rhyme with what it means.
Have children listen for the like sounds at the end of the words and say them. “Fly,” “by” and “cry” all say “I” at the end.  Keep it playful and short.
Use humorous poems. Incorporate a verse or rhyme daily. Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes books are perfect sources.
Encouraging children to memorize and recite pieces independently helps increase memory skills and attention span. They are useful for car rides and waiting with children.
For more ideas, and information, go online to

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