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School Readiness


There are many types of school readiness skills generally considered important for kids to master before they start kindergarten. 4-5 year olds develop at different rates, so your child might master some easily and not learn others before they start school. In general, being able to do the types of skills you’ll find on this page will help make your child’s transition to kindergarten more successful. A parent’s role in preparing a child for school is to create a healthy, safe, supportive, and engaging environment. Scroll down to find tips and fun activities to help you get your child ready for school success.


In lieu of an in-person preschool and kindergarten resource fair, visit our webpage with information and links about locals schools. Also, find how to sign up for free and reduce cost preschool programs and how to find quality daycare options!




Self-regulation is when your child knows how to control their behaviors and emotions in response to a particular situation. Here are a few examples:

  • Waiting for a turn
  • Playing independently or focus on one activity with a friend for up to 10 minutes
  • Managing bathroom needs
  • Listening to a story without interrupting
  • Separating from parents easily
  • Controlling emotions
  • Cleaning up after self

Practice criss cross apple sauce, a circle time skill, with Marlena!


Listening and following directions at school is necessary for a child to learn and practice what is being taught. Playing games is a fun way to master this skill. Be sure to take turns and let your child set the instructions sometimes too!

One example is to play Simon Says with two or three step directions. For example: “Simon Says jump up and down and shout hooray.”

Learn the song Bread and Butter with Ulana. Listen for how she tells you to say hello, then follow her instructions!


Your child should be able to work and play with others. Make sure to…

  • Give your child chances to play with other children
  • Teach your child how to express their feelings if they don’t like something
  • Encourage your child to speak using complete sentences
  • Teach your child to repeat full name, address, phone number, and birthday
  • Practice speaking with and listening to friends and adults
  • Teach turn-taking and cooperating with friends
  • Talk about how others feel to help your child develop empathy



Give your child old magazines or junk mail to practice cutting. Use the pieces to make a collage by gluing them to a piece of paper. Watch Marlena for rhyming tips on using (and sharing) school supplies successfully!


Playing with play dough strengthens the muscles of the hand that will be used for writing. Fun with scissors too!

Balls of colored dough in a row


Good physical health is important for learning and participating in school. Make sure your child eats a healthy diet, gets plenty of physical activity, follows a regular sleep schedule. And make sure they can dress themselves on their own.


  • Improving physical health
  • Developing creativity and imagination
  • Developing social and emotional skills
  • Developing friendships
  • Learning to share and solve problems with other children
  • Learning to overcome challenges and be resilient
  • Exploring worries or fears in imaginative play


  • Bounce a ball
  • Stand on one foot for more than 9 seconds
  • Do a somersault and hop
  • Walk up and down stairs without help
  • Pedal a tricycle

Kids learn to read at different times, depending on how their brain and hand-eye coordination develops. Knowing the ABCs, hearing letter sounds, noticing text on signs, and writing letters are all important pre-reading skills so when they are ready they will have the skills they need.


There are lots of fun ways to making learning the ABCs fun. Watch this video of people around the library and Ypsi, then click the button for more ideas. 


As you read, help your child learn the basic parts of a story– beginning, middle and end. Practice retelling the major parts together. What happened first? Then what happened? How did the story end? Traditional tales are a great way to master this skills. Find Marlena’s live retellings on YouTube!


  • Help your child notice and read text all around–boxes, street signs, billboards.
  • Run your finger under the words as you read to your child to help them learn that words go from left to right and top to bottom.
  • Teach them how to hold a book and turn pages from front to back.
  • As your child masters letters, move on to sight words!


Help your child practice writing letters. They should know how to grip a pencil, crayon, or marker correctly.

Teach your child how to write her name with an uppercase first letter and the remaining letters in lowercase.

Write in salt or sugar in a cake pan, in the sand with a stick, or on a foggy mirror to make practicing more fun and multi-sensory.


  • Teach your child the sound that each letter makes.
  • Hunt for objects around the house that begin with the same sound.
  • Overemphasize the first sound in words to help your child hear the individual sounds in words.
  • Play games with rhyming words to help your child hear similar sounds at the end of words, too.


Traditional songs often have lots of rhymes. Sing along with Pat to This Old Man and listen for the word that rhymes with each number. Can you make up your own rhymes?



Visit our Little Ones Interest Page and scroll down to find book lists on many topics. Visit our storytime page for resources and links to video read alouds you can listen to together.


There are lots of ways to practice early math skills. Watch Marlena for some fun ideas you can try at home!


  • Count throughout the day–the crackers or cereal you eat at snack, the stairs you climb, the number of pushes on a swing.
  • Point out numbers you see when you’re out on signs. Can your child name them?
  • Once your child can count to 20, practice counting backwards, then practice counting by twos, fives and tens.

Sing this song with Jodi to practice counting by different multiples.



Science is about understanding and explaining the natural world. Kids are naturally scientists, watching and wondering about why things work they way they do. Let you child explore, observe, and talk about what they see, to help building their language skills as well as these science skills: 

  • Observing
  • Comparing
  • Classifying
  • Measuring
  • Communicating
  • Inferring
  • Predicting


  • Hunt for shapes or colors around the house or out and about town to make learning a game.
  • Teach your child the 2D and 3D names for shapes. Practice drawing them on paper or sculpting them with play dough.
  • Gather small toys, then sort them by color to practice color names and build math skills.


  • Lay out cereal or crackers or toys in repeating patterns. Goldfish, Cheerio, Goldfish, Cheerio, what comes next?
  • Line up toys big to small. Get out a ruler and find out how big each one is.
  • Play a matching game with a deck of cards or shoes to find pairs.

To help your child prepare for the transition to kindergarten, start developing a daily routine a few weeks before school starts. Have your child wake up, eat and go to bed at the same times each day. Talk about your child’s new school and listen to any concerns your child expresses. If possible, visit the school. Reading books together about starting school can also help your child know what to expect.

Adventure Annie goes to kindergarten

Buzzeo, Toni

Even though there are rules to follow, a little girl who loves adventure has an exciting first day of kindergarten.

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Chu’s First Day of School

Gaiman, Neil

On the first day of school, a young panda (Chu's Day, Chu's Day at the Beach) learns about the special things his animal classmates can do.

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Countdown to Kindergarten

McGhee, Alison, 1960-

Ten days before the start of kindergarten, a preschooler cannot tie her shoes by herself and fears the worst.

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Dad’s First Day

Wohnoutka, Mike

Oliver and Dad have spent a fun summer together but when it comes time for the first day of school, Dad discovers that he is not ready and does everything he can to postpone the big day.

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I Am Absolutely Too Small for School

Child, Lauren

When Lola is worried about starting school, her older brother Charlie reassures her.

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I Love School!

Sturges, Philemon

A brother and sister describe the things they love to do during their day at kindergarten.

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I’m telling you, Dex, kindergarten rocks!

Davis, Katie (Katie I.)

Dexter knows everything there is to know about kindergarten and is not at all scared about his first day there, but his stuffed dog, Rufus, is very nervous.

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Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten?

Vernick, Audrey

Although kindergarten provides unique challenges for a young buffalo, one who follows the rules and tries his best will get along fine.

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Jake Starts School

Wright, Michael, 1954-

No one can pry a frightened Jake away from his parents on the first day of school, and so the three must watch as his classmates have fun until, at the end of the day, his teacher finally gets him to let go.

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Lola Goes to School

McQuinn, Anna author.

Spunky Lola embarks on a new adventure--the first day of school!

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Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten!

Yum, Hyewon

A five-year-old boy, ready and eager on his first day at "the big kids' school," must calm his very worried mother.

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Monkey Not Ready for Kindergarten

Brown, Marc Tolon

Kindergarten is just a week away and monkey is not ready, but with help and encouragement from family and friends, he begins to get excited.

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Ollie’s school day : a yes-and-no book

Calmenson, Stephanie

Asks the reader a series of yes or no questions as Ollie gets dressed, spends a day at school, and returns home.

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On the Way to Kindergarten

Kroll, Virginia L.

A mother describes the increasing accomplishments of her five-year-old, from crying and sleeping, to riding a tricycle, then preparing for school.

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Planet Kindergarten

Ganz-Schmitt, Sue

A young child imagines going off to kindergarten as a journey to another planet.

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Preschool Here I Come!

Steinberg, David J., author.

Follows a child through preschool, from saying goodbye to parents on the very first day of school to watching butterflies hatch in spring.

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So Big!

Wohnoutka, Mike author, illustrator.

Just when a little bear starts to feel overwhelmed on his first day of school, he meets a new friend, and together they find the courage to overcome their fear.

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Something for School

Lee, Hyun Young

On the first day of kindergarten, Joon's teacher mistakes Joon, who has short hair and is wearing trousers, for a boy, something she finds very upsetting until she figures out a way to let everyone know who she is.

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The Bus for Us

Bloom Suzanne.

Tess is eagerly waiting for the school bus on her first day of school.

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The King of Kindergarten

Barnes, Derrick D. author.

Instilled with confidence by his parents, a young boy has a great first day of kindergarten.

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The Night Before Kindergarten

Wing, Natasha

In the narrative tradition of "The Night before Christmas," shows children from all over town preparing for their first day of kindergarten, imagining what wonders they will see.

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