No-Cost Program Helps Families Get Jump-Start on Kindergarten

Scholastic Book Fairs’ new, no-cost Kindergarten Readiness Program helps families prepare their children for the transition into kindergarten, supporting children's reading and learning success at school.

“The workshop really hammers home research-based information on the importance of reading to your child every day and the importance of practicing pre-reading skills with your children before they enter kindergarten,” explains program author and education consultant Zelna Windt, a former principal and early intervention coordinator for Los Angeles County.

Designed for use in preschool and kindergarten school-based parent-involvement workshops, the bilingual downloadable materials come complete with a program overview and facilitator talking points, in addition to a PowerPoint presentation and parent handouts.

Parental involvement is at the heart of the program. “Kindergarten Readiness is designed to help increase parent comfort levels with leaving their children in kindergarten on the first day of school. Its content enlightens parents about what to expect in kindergarten and the important role they play as their child’s first teacher,” Zelna says.

Through the program, parents receive handouts about the kindergarten curriculum, class routine, teacher expectations, pre-reading skills, and other skills and behaviors children "typically have" when they enter kindergarten.

The workshop and materials support the parent involvement requirements for school implementation plans aligned to the Common Core State Standards and Title 1.

The program draws upon research from such sources as the U.S. Department of Education, the International Reading Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and the International Literacy Association. The research, according to Zelna, all points to the importance of exposure to early literacy activities at home, a reality echoed in her own experience.

“My experiences parrot what research has shown, and that is when parents and childcare providers read to and provide other appropriate early-literacy activities to young children, the children are better prepared to experience success in learning how to read and succeed in school,” she shares. A 2005 study established a clear link between parental involvement and overall student success.

“The trends in early education are changing,” the longtime educator says. At the workshop, parents will learn about the current focus in kindergarten education, and they will be able to share their thoughts regarding how kindergarten has changed. In addition, the interactive component of the workshop has a warm and fuzzy side, one that will promote family bonding and create special memories.

Zelna quotes a mantra from Scholastic’s Global Literacy Campaign, which reads, “Literacy – the ability to read, write, and understand – is the birthright of every child in the world. Let’s consider ourselves guardians over that right.”

That call to action should be embraced by every parent and educator, in Zelna’s view. “Providing the nation’s schools with no-cost access to a literacy workshop and materials that help parents get their kindergarteners ready for school is one powerful way to make a difference,” she says.

To download the no-cost Kindergarten Readiness Program materials in either English or Spanish, click here.
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