Getting Ready for Kindergarten Series #2

Readers are made in the laps of their parents.

Emilie Buchwald

Before I had kids, I decided to train for a marathon. I had never run more than three miles, so I loaded up on a few how – to books. I learned when to carbo load, when to do speed work, and when to put in some long runs. I did all the right things and felt super ready for the upcoming marathon.

I totally had this….so I thought.

The week before the race, my mom got a phone call. It was from a coworker whose dad had run over 100 marathons. Somehow, he had gotten wind I was running the local marathon. (Thanks, mom.) He had asked her to tell my mom he was going to run the marathon with me because nobody should run a first marathon by themselves. Not if one wants to cross the finish line alive and feeling fairly okay on his two feet, that is.

“What? I don’t know him at all and what are we going to talk about for the four plus hours during the race?” I tell my mom I’ve got this…please tell him thanks so much, but I’m okay.

He met me at 5:30 the morning of the race and stayed with me until I crossed the finish line.

And I am so glad he did, too. (Again, thanks, Mom.)

My “apprenticeship in marathon running” began early that morning and lasted for the next four hours. I did not know what I didn’t know about running 26.2 miles.

None of the books could have taught me anything like this master runner did.

Running is a lot like reading.

Some races are long some races are short….just like books.

Some races are fun some are hard to get through…..just like books.

Some races teach great lessons about life…just like books.

Running races is easier if you have a master teacher with you…just like reading books.

In this blog series, we are talking about ways to get your child ready for kindergarten. One of the best things to do to set your child up for success in literacy and in school, is to enter into an apprenticeship of literacy with your child.

You are the master and your child is the apprentice.

Share the gift of literacy with your child.

The gift is gold.

Take a minute and think of all you know about books…all of it.

Share with your child as you read aloud tonight some of those things. For example, show them the front of the book, the back of the book, where you are going to start reading.

Yes…all of those. Those are the things your child will be first hearing from their kindergarten teacher. You want your child to be hearing the instructional language not only at school but also at home.

It’s your way to mesh those two worlds together for your child. Don’t keep them separate. They work better together for your child.

Read every night to your child. Share that you highly value everything about books and reading. Be that bonding agent…a love of books does not come naturally. We, as parents, must be the bonding agent.

If we value it, your child will certainly value it. Step One….but don’t forget it is an ongoing step.

Immerse your family in books. Talk about the authors and the illustrators of your child’s books. Get to know them. Become “friends” with them. Try an author or illustrator study.

You will find authors and illustrators are interesting characters…especially children’s authors! Who knew?

A few things to try tonight:

  1. Talk about the rhyming words. Give a thumbs up if you hear some.


  1. Point to the words at the beginning of the story. Tell your child this is where you will start to read… the beginning of the story. This will also show your child that print contains a message.


  1. Read a few books with the same author or illustrator. Start finding out a few facts about them with your child. Sandra Boynton is one of our favorites.


  1. Show your child how to interact with your book. Share, as you read, what thoughts or questions you might have. This shows your child how good readers are always interacting with books.


  1. Love what you are reading! Make it fun! Have fun oozing out all over you when you are reading books with your child! Even after the 100th reading of that book! You will find it is very contagious!


“Neither books nor people have Velcro sides – we don’t naturally attach to each other. In the beginning, there must be a bonding agent – parent, relative, neighbor, teacher, or librarian – someone who attaches child to book.” Jim Trelease The Read Aloud Handbook


What do you know about books that you want to pass on to your child tonight?

Think about it, take the time, and pass it on.


The payoff will be huge!


A little note:


Just in case you were wondering, I did finish the race. I crossed the finish line alive and on both feet. I actually crossed a few minutes ahead of my “master marathoner”.

He nudged me when I was ready.

We want our children to cross the finish line, too, successfully and on their own two feet.

Show them all you know….but don’t forget to nudge when it is time for them to run ahead! You will love it when they pass you!

That’s a sign of a well-run race, Mom and Dad! Way to go!






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