As summer turns to fall and students look toward a new grade, they tend to reflect on their own level of preparedness. This can be most intense when entering first grade; perhaps because so many families in the US harbor feelings that this grade begins “real school.” The pressure begins!
Having taught in a K-1 classroom early in my teaching career, I think it’s super smart to find summer play activities that pointedly assist kindergarteners to regain their footing from any possible summer slide, and enter first grade feeling confident in themselves as learners. Confidence in the learning process cannot be oversold.
Here I offer a quick list of resources to add to your family’s travel and playtime to support 5 different aspects of a smooth entry into first grade:
1. The Word Monsters: Learn to Read (by Mindconnex) is fantastic for beginning readers who could use a fun, playful reentry into the task of reading and decoding. It has a helpful little monster mentor who acts as their guide, which is especially valuable since returning to school also means a return to using specific guidance.
2. Penguin 1st Grade and Penguin Kindergarten (by Mrs. Judd’s Games) are excellent for those kindergarteners becoming first graders. Let them play alongside little penguins in a playful form of Q&A and memory work with letters, words, and math from Common Core subjects. I would begin with K-level first.
3. First graders begin new schedules and time-telling curriculum. Knowledge of clocks is very helpful. Clock exploration and quizzing are available in Interactive Telling Time (by GiggleUp). Tips: Get the full version versus the lite. Use the parent settings for “hour” intervals to begin with, then progress to half-hour, etc.
4. For those wishing to prepare kindergarteners for 1st grade school environments with bulletin boards and chalkboards, try back-to-school apps that reinforce basic skills in a pleasant school-desk setting. Two examples of these chalkboard apps are Easy as 1-2-3 Addition Tables (by Red Team) for math with addition tables 1-12, and ABC Write Listen Learn (by Derek Hounsel) for printing practice and exploration of illustrated word lists categorized by each letter. Others still may prefer the “Handwriting Without Tears” program.
5. If your child loved their kindergarten sand & water table or summertime sandbox, then bring sandcastles, shells, and learning into first grade! Crucial Common Core phonics skills and word-families are taught on a sunny beach in Crabby Writer: Phonics, Read & Write (by Mrs. Judd’s Games). Fun in learning is a first grade goal!