Ask A Houston Expert: 5 Tips For Getting Your Child Ready For Kindergarten

August 12, 2016 7:00 AM

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Is your preschool-age child ready to start kindergarten this year? Or do you have a child that will be going into kindergarten next year? Before your child starts, there are some things you need to do to ensure that he is ready. Here are some tips from Joni Delagarza, who has been teaching pre-K for 11 years and is currently at Francone Elementary in Cyfair ISD.
Read To Your Kids

One of the best things you can do is read to your children as much as possible. This gets them into the habit of hearing and seeing words, as well as learning to love books long before they start reading. Make it a nightly tradition to read bedtime stories or take the family on trips to the library so your kids can pick out books they want you to read to them.

 Related: Ask an Expert: Overcoming First Day of School Jitters

Make Sure They Know the Alphabet

Kindergarten students are more advanced today than in the past. So your children can keep pace with the others in class, make sure they can recognize the entire alphabet, in both upper and lower case. Mrs. Delagarza also suggests that you should go to the website for your children’s kindergarten and find a list of sight words. These are words that kindergarteners memorize to ease the transition into reading primary books. Aim for your child knowing at least 75 of those words. For more alphabet help, Mrs. Delagarza recommends the website ABCya.com for age-appropriate practice to help kids learn their letters.

Practice Fine Motor Skills

By a time a child gets to kindergarten, he should be able to use fine motor skills. Mrs. Delagarza suggests improving this important skill by getting your kids to play with Playdoh, which makes their fingers strong, enabling them to do other finer work. Something else that can help your kids is using tweezers or their fingers to pick up small items. When it comes to holding a pencil and writing, these skills will come in handy.

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Talk to Kids

Kids need to be exposed to a large vocabulary to help when they are learning to read. One way that as you, as a parent, can do this is to ask questions of your kids. Repeating what your children say while using more words can also help them learn synonyms for the words they are already using. The more you talk to your children, the easier it will be for them to gain a more varied vocabulary.

Make Sure They Know Counting And Number Sense

Most kids entering kindergarten are expected to have a rudimentary knowledge of counting and numbers. If you want to help your child with number sense and counting, practice counting with your kids at every chance you get. Something else that helps with number sense is to have your children sort toys into groups. Also, the same website Mrs. Delagarza suggests for reading help, ABCya.com, is also useful for teaching your kids about numbers and counting.

Crystal Hessong ia a freelance writer and a lifelong, fourth generation Houstonian. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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