From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About the First Day of School

The first day of school is filled with possibility, promise, and maybe a little worry.

Aug 07, 2023



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About the First Day of School

Aug 07, 2023

Whether your child is entering kindergarten or a new grade as a returning student, the first day of school can be a source of both excitement and worry. It’s OK if your little one is nervous! The pressure to make friends and excel academically can be a lot on early learners. 

Plan to have conversations with your child ahead of the big day about what they are looking forward to and most hesitant about.

If your child is getting ready for kindergarten, check out this list of the top 20 skills they can expect to use in the year ahead. For those entering or returning to elementary school, help take the pressure off back-to-school season with these educator-approved tips to prepare for the first day of school.

When it comes to the topics of making friends and spending the day away from home, there are plenty of memorable stories that can soothe your child’s nerves or amplify their enthusiasm — whichever they need.

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of books, articles, and tips that make starting a conversation with your child about the first day of school easy, fun, and exciting. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.

Books for the First Day of School

Sometimes a comforting read with familiar characters is all it takes to reassure littles ones about their big worries. There’s no character more comforting than Clifford the Big Red Dog! 

In Clifford Goes to Kindergarten, Emily Elizabeth is headed to school and she's more than a little nervous.  Her teacher is letting each child bring something from home to make the transition a little easier. But she didn’t bet on Emily bringing Clifford! Check out this soothing read for adjusting to new schedules.

Every child, whether subdued or super-excited about attending classes, will laugh at the antics the title character gets into in David Goes to School. Previously a handful at home, David is now school-age — but no less of a troublemaker! A clever, indirect guide to showing kids how to be on their best behavior, the books in the No, David! series offer delight with every re-read. Plus, the repetitive text gives your child a chance to complete sentences from memory while improving their phonics and fluency.

For most children, the start of school means identifying where they fit in or carving out a place of their own in the crowd. 

Standing out is the primary theme of Ruby and the Booker Boys: Brand New School, Brave New Ruby, which follows 8-year-old Ruby Booker through her first day at a new school. But not every face is new: Ruby now shares the same hallways as her older brothers Marcellus, Roosevelt, and Tyner. Ruby has big plans for how to steal the spotlight — and make this first day of school her own!

Be sure to visit the Scholastic Bookshelf for more resources on the first day of school and other must-discuss topics. If you’re planning to talk with your child about other complex topics and seek tips or book recommendations, visit our Tough Topics hub. You’ll find a wealth of advice from Scholastic editors to help you navigate challenging conversations thoughtfully. Other popular topics include:

Shop books to get ready for the first day of school below! You can shop all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.

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First Day of School