Kindergarten Readiness Skills

What are "readiness" skills?

These skills will help your child have a successful kindergarten experience, build confidence and independence, and provide the foundation from which learning can grow. A student may demonstrate readiness skills when he/she:

  1. Demonstrates a desire to be independent and easily separates from parents/guardians.
  2. Displays developmentally appropriate self-regulation skills such as: listening/responding, following two-step directions, waiting for short amounts of time, and interacting positively with peers.
  3. Prints his or her first name properly using an upper-case first letter and lower-case remaining letters.
  4. Demonstrates familiarity with letter names and sounds.
  5. Practices correctly holding a pencil and/or crayon.  Provide opportunities to practice fine motor skills through writing, coloring, mazes, and dot to dot activities.
  6. Identifies the eight basic colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, black, brown.
  7. Sorts a group of items by color, shape or size
  8. Understands basic patterning – ABAB, AABAAB, ABBABB, etc.
  9. Is responsible for personal belongings and school supplies.
  10. Zips, buttons, and snaps clothing independently.
  11. Begins to learn how to tie shoelaces.
  12. Is potty trained and able to independently demonstrate bathroom skills.


Sight Word Activities

What are sight words?

Sight words are words that frequently occur in the English language. Common first semester sight words for School Town of Munster kindergarteners include: I, have, am, is, the, we, little, my, to, like, and a. While it’s important for students to notice these words in isolation, it’s even more essential that they encounter and recognize the words in books and text. This helps to develop early reading fluency.


Sight Word Activities

  1. While reading aloud to your child, occasionally point out sight words. At the conclusion of the story, your child can even use highlighting tape or a special pointer to find the sight words.
  2. Use an old Kleenex box to write sight words on every side of the box. Then, have your child “Roll, Read, and Write” the word that turns up after the roll.
  3. Write sight words with sidewalk chalk. You could even have your child play hopscotch by creating the squares with sight words instead of numbers.
  4. Use magnetic letters on a cookie sheet or refrigerator to make sight words.
  5. Write sight words on a beach ball.  When you toss the beach ball to your child, have him/her read the words that are touching both their right and left hands.
  6. Play Bingo! Create Bingo boards that have sight words in each square. Then, write the same words on index cards and take turns drawing from the index card pile and marking the sight words on the Bingo boards.
  7. Tape words on the wall or ceiling.  Turn off the lights.  Use a flashlight to shine on the word, then have your child read it.


Print Concept Activities

What is “print concept”?

Print concepts refer to the ability of emergent readers to recognize and distinguish certain features of print and how it works, such as:

  • Layout of text (front/back of the book)
  • Moving from left to right on the page
  • Differentiating between words and a picture
  • Differentiating between a letter and a word


Print Concept Activities

  1. Read aloud with your child. While reading, point out the front and back cover of the book.  Also, draw attention to where you begin reading and where the words are located on the page.  You may even follow along with your finger for a couple pages.
  2. Cut up your child’s name by individual letter and model how to put the letters together to form his/her name
  3. Have your child draw a picture that tells a story. Then, have your son/daughter dictate the words that go with the picture as you write them on the page.
  4. Notice print wherever you go! Point it out everywhere such as on billboards, shopping bags, cereal boxes, menus, sports programs, etc.
  5. Write together. Try thank you notes, birthday cards, and grocery lists, just to name a few!
  6. Read yourself. Model reading different types of text, such as books, newspapers, magazines, e-mail, and even bills!


Letter Sounds and Letter Recognition Activities

What is “letter sound and letter recognition” and why is it important?

The ability to name letters of the alphabet is called “letter recognition,” and the ability to identify sounds that letters produce is called “letter sounds.”  When referring to the first letter sound of a word, it is called “initial letter sound.”

Recognizing letters and letter sounds is a component of the developmental process for emergent readers.  It’s important to note that even though a child may not have all letters and sounds mastered, it’s still essential that he/she is exposed to real text and books. This can be accomplished through reading aloud to students and encouraging them to “read” by using the pictures of their favorite books.


Letter Sounds and Letter Recognition Activities

  1. Your child’s name is the most important word at this phase! Practice writing his/her name and find objects around the house that begin with the same letter as the name. If you’re adventurous, you can even have your child practice writing his/her name in shaving cream or salt sprinkled on a cookie sheet. Emphasize the beginning sound of the name.
  2. Write letters on post-it notes and have your child label stuffed animals, toys, and household items with objects that start with the same letter. Encourage your child to say the beginning sound as they label items with the post-it notes.
  3. Notice and point out print that your child encounters naturally.  For example, say things like, “There’s your favorite store—McDonald’s. What does that start with? Mmmm…” or “Let’s watch your favorite cartoon—Sofia the First. What does Sofia start with? Ssss…”
  4. Show your child a sample of a letter, possibly the one his/her name begins with. Then, give him/her Play-doh to form the letter and say the sound.
  5. Letter magnets can be used on a refrigerator or cookie sheet. Some activities with magnetic letters include:
  • Sorting letters into 2 columns—letters that are in the child’s name and letters that aren’t in his/her name.
  • Naming the child’s favorite toy, food, or game and having them select the letter it begins with.


Fine Motor Activities

What is “fine motor”?

Fine motor skills are the small, precise muscle movements that are foundational for many skills such as holding a pencil, using utensils, or turning the pages of a book. It is important that your child have many opportunities to practice fine motor activities, such as those listed below.


Fine Motor Activities

  1. Allow your child to sort old buttons or beads into muffin pans.
  2. Encourage the use of crayons, paints, and play-doh.  Use tools with play-doh, such as rolling pins, cookie cutters, scissors, and Popsicle sticks.  Limit exposure to tapping and swiping that comes with excessive screen time on devices in favor of actual coloring with crayons.
  3. Have your son/daughter thread beads onto a pipe cleaner or string.
  4. Set up an activity where your child can “fish” for objects: float objects (colored ice cubes, beads, etc.) in water and “fish” with a strainer, tongs, slotted spoons, etc.
  5. Make “confetti” with your child—cut paper randomly in small pieces.
  6. Create “tear art” by ripping pieces of construction paper and gluing to make pictures.
  7. Allow your child to sort objects such as beads, cotton balls, and/or tissue with tongs and tweezers.


Early Math Concepts

Why are early math concepts important?

Early math skills include number identification, ordering, and oral counting. Children’s development of these skills establishes a foundation for representing numbers, problem-solving, and making connections between operations and processes.


Early Math Concepts Activities

  1. Model counting in everyday life. It can be as easy as driving down the road and counting the number of trees or walking down steps and counting each one. Count both by 1’s (1, 2, 3, …) and 10’s (10, 20, 30…).
  2. Find patterns and discuss what makes it a pattern. This can be done using snacks (gummy bear colors, animal crackers, etc.), any colored objects, or shape patterns. Also encourage your child to find patterns on the calendar and charts.
  3. Give your child a glimpse of a collection of objects and then take it away after a few seconds. Have him/her “estimate” about how many objects are in the collection.
  4. Discuss real-life story problems. Model your thinking by using language such as, “How many are there now?” or “How many did you start with?”  An example could be, “There are 5 swings on the playground. Two of them are being used by other kids. How many are left for you to choose from?” When possible, use real objects to model the story problem.
  5. Write numbers (start with numbers 1-10) on post-it notes and have your child put them in correct order. Your child can also find objects around the house that come in a set and label them with the correct post-it (for example, if there are 2 remotes laying on a table, your child could label the remotes with the number “2” post-it).
  6. Write numbers (start with numbers 1-10) on a set of index cards. On another set of index cards, draw dots (or other objects, if you prefer) that correspond to the numbers written on the first set. Play a matching game so that your child has to match the number card to the correct picture card. You can extend this activity by having your child put two picture cards together and count the total number.