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Steps Before Kindergarten & Transitioning Into Kindergarten

Easing the transition into kindergarten for your child is extremely important.  It gives your child the opportunity to become academically and emotionally prepared as well as informs families about kindergarten.  Families and children might feel a little nervous about the transition, but there are many steps that can help make the transition into kindergarten successful and fun! Through the links below, you will find many resources that we hope are helpful and informative.

Why is reading important?

Books, Books, Books!

Book Recommendations

Family Tips



Why is reading important?

As children grow and develop, they begin to talk.  Talking to your baby allows him/her to begin to learn language, and, as he/she grows, he/she begins to use language too.  Reading to your baby is a form of talking.  When you read to your baby, you may notice babbling.  This is your baby trying out his/her voice.  Snuggling up with your baby and reading also help him/her feel safe and secure.

As your child grows, have him/her choose the book.  Children will want to hear the same story over and over again, but this is okay because it gives them the opportunity to feel connected with the story as well as feel in control of reading it.  Reading allows children to begin to develop a sustained focus and attention for periods of time, which is critical when they begin school.  Being able to sit, focus, and think about the story is a great way for them to begin their love of reading as well as build their attention span.

Children who read with their family begin to reap the benefits of so much learning that occurs through reading.  They begin to learn about concepts of print, that the objects on the page can represent real-life objects, that the words read are symbols that carry meaning (letters, words, sentences), numbers, and so much more!  As your child becomes older, you can pick a few of these to discuss with your child each time you read:

  • Author
  • Illustrator
  • Front cover
  • Back cover
  • Spine
  • Reading left to right
  • Any words they might pick out and know
  • Problems in the story
  • Solutions in the story
  • Characters in the story
  • Vocabulary
  • What happened at the beginning, middle, and end of the story?
  • Was the story real (non-fiction) or fake (fiction)?  How did you know?


Books About Beginning School:

Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come! by Nancy Carlson

Tom Goes To Kindergarten by Margaret Wild

The Night Before Kindergarten by Natasha Wing, Illustrated by Julie Durrell


Books About Transitions and Changes:

Baby Rattlesnake by Lynn Moroney

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

The Way I Feel by Janan Cain


Books, Books, Books!

Reading to your child is one of the best things you can do for him/her!


Here are some suggestions when reading to your baby:

  • Sturdy books are best because babies should touch books to experience them when reading together
  • Read to your baby multiple times a day but for short periods of time
  • Choose books with stimulating pages (bright colors)
  • Read with inflection, enthusiasm, and expression to engage your baby
  • Hold the book 7-8 inches away from your baby’s face to ensure he/she sees the pictures


Here are some suggestions when reading to your toddler:

  • Sturdy books can still be used until you feel that your child will be gentle with a book with pages
  • Read stories with sound, rhyming words, and repetitive text to engage your child
  • Model and discuss good book handling skills (ex: turning pages)
  • Again, read multiple times throughout the day in short periods of time with inflection, enthusiasm, and expression to engage your toddler
  • Allowing your toddler to choose the book can be a great way for him/her to take ownership of his/her reading


Book Recommendations:

Animal Crackers by Jane Dyer

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Baby! Baby! by Vicky Ceelen

Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long

Baby Cakes by Karma Wilson

In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming

Baby Danced the Polka by Karen Beaumont

Look at Baby's House by Peter Linenthal

Baby Faces by Maragret Miller

Mama Cat Has Three Kittens by Denise Fleming 

Baby's Lap Book by Kay Chorao 

"More, More, More" Said the Baby by Vera Williams

Baby Signs by Joy Allen

My Car by Byron Barton

Big Fat Hen by Keith Baker

Pat The Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

Peekaboo Morning by Marie Torres Cimarusti

Big Yellow Sunflower by Nancy Tafuri

Pio Peep! by Alma Flor Ada

Black and White by Tana Hoban

That's How Much I Love You by Julie A. Rudi

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr., Eric Carle (Illustrator) The Everything Book by Denise Fleming

Come Along Daisy by Jane Simmons

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Duckie's Splash by Frances Barry

This Little Piggy and Other Great Rhymes to Sing and Play by Jane Yolen

Fuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!: A Touch, Skritch & Tickle Book by Sandra Boynton

Whose Toes Are Those? by SAMi

Goodnight Max by Rosemary Wells 

Yellow Red Blue by SAMi

**Information collected by Pennsylvania Libraries**


Family Tips

Below are some resources for you and your child as he or she transitions into the school setting.  This tips contain a slew of great information including but not limited to social-emotional well-being, school transition, school safety, and more.


Head Start/ECLKC with U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: