On the first day of kindergarten, your child officially becomes a student! It’s an exciting transition as young learners blend the playing and craft-making from preschool with more writing, reading, and math lessons. Kindergarteners get used to routines and learn how to be successful students for years to come.
The expectations for what students should achieve, and specifically whether they should know how to read and write by the end of kindergarten, vary across schools, so talk to your child’s teacher for details regarding the specific curriculum.
By laying the right foundation for your child’s success in kindergarten, you can prime them for accomplishing great academic strides for years to come. Make sure they are prepared for kindergarten and excels throughout the year with this comprehensive guide to success.
Want even more book and reading ideas? Sign up for our Scholastic Parents newsletter.
Kindergarten Reading Skills
In kindergarten, children begin to grow as independent readers and become more comfortable with reading, which is now part of their daily life. Students read books, the day’s schedule, class letters, songs, and poems throughout the day.
To build reading skills, your kindergartener:
- Learns all of the letters of the alphabet (upper case and lower case) and their sounds.
- Begins to “read” books themselves, mainly by memorization
- Reads and listens to stories and then talks about the stories, including their plots, characters, and events.
- Follows words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.
- Recognizes and can produce rhyming words.
- Recognizes several basic sight words such as I, my, you, is, and are.
- Adds or substitutes individual sounds in simple, one-syllable words to make new words, such as replacing the “C” in “Cat” with an “R” to create the word “Rat.”
Kindergarten Reading Activities
Read and Repeat: Ask your child to “read” their favorite book to you, using their memory, associations, and clues from the pictures.
Alphabet Books: Use drawings or pictures from magazines to create an alphabet book with a letter and an object that begins with that letter on each page.
Fill in the Blank: When you read a favorite picture book to your child and come across a short word that rhymes or is familiar to your child because they know the story, stop and let them say the word. Point to the word as they say it and spell it out.
Kindergarten Writing Skills
In kindergarten, your child begins to truly grow as a writer. Kindergartners start to write words (often using their own creative or invented spellings), and may even write their own mini books and stories about their lives or what they’ve learned.
Don’t worry if they're spelling most words incorrectly: Creative or invented spelling is a crucial part of developing writing skills at this age. Spelling words based on sounds helps your child consider our language’s building blocks and gain a deeper understanding of them. Most of the words your kindergartner will learn to spell correctly are one-syllable words which often follow the pattern of CVC, or CONSONANT, VOWEL, CONSONANT — think “cat,” “big,” or “rug.”
To build writing skills, your kindergartener:
- Writes uppercase and lowercase letters
- Writes their name.
- Writes some letters and words when they are dictated.
- Uses invented or creative spelling to write a variety of words.
- Uses conventional spelling to write some words (CVC and basic sight words).
- Writes, draws, and dictates about a variety of topics, including their opinion and descriptions of objects or moments and events in their life.
Kindergarten Writing Activities
Label Everything: Create labels with your child for different objects in your house, like books, toy bins, foods, kitchen objects, and clothes. You or your child can write the names of the objects, and your child can draw a picture to go along with it.
Play Guessing Games: Draw a picture and have your child guess the spelling of that word, giving them a few letters in the word as a hint. Alternatively, show your child two letters (like this: “_at”) and ask them to make as many words as they can with it.
Create a Photo Album: When you take pictures of events or people, ask your child to label the picture. Glue it to a piece of a paper so they can write a description of the event, what happened, who was there, etc.
Shop the best resources for kindergarten below! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store.
Explore other grade guides: