Starting preschool is an exciting milestone in a young child's life: New possibilities await, and plenty of feelings surround the anticipation of the new experience. Give your child a boost of confidence for the big year ahead with read-aloud stories! The right ones can dramatically help them prepare to set off for preschool.
Based on my experience teaching early childhood students, these are the books I think every little one should read before their first day. (Here's how to get back on track with bedtime read-alouds.)
Read the descriptions of each book below, or head straight to the shopping list!
1. Zoe Gets Ready by Bethanie Murguia
We all know just how hectic getting ready for school in the morning can be, especially when your child isn’t in the mood to participate. This fun read will help by showing the process of picking out clothes for the day. After you read it together, design a plan with your child for selecting the next day's outfit and getting ready in the morning.
2. Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by Eric Litwin
Your child will explore the places inside a school, like the cafeteria and playground, in this super groovy book. After you read it together, spend some time talking about what types of activities occur in each part of the school! By the time preschool starts, that big building might just seem a little less scary to your little one.
3. Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
In preschool, little ones have to learn how to use manners, and this book is perfect for teaching them how to! Mr. Panda asks everyone if they'd like a doughnut, and a penguin, skunk, and whale all say yes — but they all forget to say "please" and "thank you"! Is anyone worthy of Mr. Panda's doughnuts?
4. The Night Before Preschool by Natasha Wing
Have this book on hand the night before the first day of preschool: In it, one little boy is having trouble sleeping before his big first day, and is wondering if he’ll have fun and make new friends. This story perfectly captures the anticipation and excitement your little one is likely feeling!
5. Little Quack’s New Friend by Lauren Thompson
Being around new people means children will have lots of opportunities to meet new friends, and this book teaches them that it's important to be welcoming and inviting of everyone they meet! When a new creature splunks into the pond, adorable Little Quack learns about friendship and acceptance.
6. Billy Bully by Alvaro & Ana Galan
Preschoolers haven’t learned the rules of friendship quite yet, but this book helps set a solid foundation for them to be good friends and classmates. In the story, Billy Bully learns that when we aren't friendly and do unkind things, our friends start to dwindle. This tale will teach your child how to maintain friendships — and will even sneak in a little counting practice.
7. Tool School by Joan Holub
The colorful tools in this book have to learn how to work together on their first day of school. The cute tale is a great opportunity to talk about teamwork, taking turns, and being a part of a community with your preschooler.
8. Waiting Is Not Easy by Mo Willems
One of the most challenging things about starting preschool for many children is learning how to wait. They can't always get their questions answered immediately, and they have to let others have their turn during playtime. This book beautifully addresses the frustration that may come along with that, and will give you the opportunity to brainstorm ways to practice patience with your child.
9. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
Your child may be away from home for the first time without a family member when she goes to preschool. This book addresses this big transition and allows you to reassure your child that you are always with her wherever she is. (The Kissing Hand is also a great pick for this topic!)
10. Sleepy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
Show your little one just how necessary lots of sleep is before heading off to preschool! This book about a spunky bird who just isn’t tired will make your preschooler giggle, all while showing the importance of bedtime rituals for catching z’s.
Connect with Jodie Rodriguez at Growing Book by Book.