Readiness and Self Help Skills


Click on the links below for:

Kindergarten Readiness Checklist


School Readiness




Readiness Skills

Name Writing           

Your child should know their own name and recognize their name in print. Practice writing their name using the capital letter first and all the rest lower case letters. This is their name, teach it correctly the first time. Please review each letter in their name by having them say as they write it. If your child is having difficulty, then work on one letter at a time. See the letter formation guide included in this booklet.


Tracing Practice Booklet





Using a Pair of Scissors 

All children are individuals and develop at different rates. Using a pair of scissors is a skill that children develop over time with practice and support! It is very important to motivate and encourage children. This can be achieved with praise and encouragement at each milestone. Please do not worry if your child has not mastered this skill by the time they start school but awareness of this skill will be helpful. Your child will get plenty of support when they start school.


Cutting with scissors takes a great deal of finger coordination and control. This task can be frustrating for young children especially in September. They are adjusting to our school day and the teacher wants me to what - CUT! Working on this over the summer will help your child be more comfortable with this skill. Please show your child how to hold the scissors correctly so that they use their pointer finger as the helper finger (see picture above) or two fingers in the bottom hole (if they fit).


Cutting Practice Booklet



Personal Information  

It is very important that your child know their first and last name as well as their address and telephone number, please include the zip code. This is for your child's safety, please review over the summer.


I Know My Address Badge

Correct Position for Holding a Crayon or a Pencil 

1. The pencil should be held loosely. It should not be gripped tightly by the fingers.

2. Your child should have plenty of practice writing on a chalkboard or white board before writing on smaller size paper. This will encourage greater freedom of arm movement.

3. Please encourage the correct way to hold a crayon with the 2 fingers holding (a pinch grip) and the other 3 fingers tucked under - see picture above.



Sequencing Days Events or Activities   

Arrange a series of picture cards into the logical order to create the story from beginning to end or review the sequence of events of a daily activity such as getting ready for bed. Encourage your child to speak in full sentences.




Learning to rhyme is an important skill that will help your child learn to read. Here are a few suggestions that you can do with your child at home.


1. Read nursery rhymes or sing songs with rhyming words. Exaggerate the rhyming words. See if your child can tell you which words rhyme.

2. Vary the above activity by leaving out the rhyming words and letting your child fill in the blanks. For example, say "Jack and Jill went up the ____."

3. Read Dr. Seuss books or other books with a lot of rhyming words. Help your child find the rhyming words.

4. Help your child think of words that rhyme with his or her name, names of family members, animals, etc. Throw in some nonsense words for extra fun and practice.



Before Learning to Read     

Before your child can learn to read, he or she needs to understand the

connection between words we say and what is printed. Below are three activities

that you can do with your child that will help with this skill.


1. When reading a book or story to your child, read a phrase or sentence and

help your child clap out syllables in words. Children participate in a series of

activities that help them realize that words are made up of syllables.


a. Syllable Clap -Talk with your child about why knowing about syllables can     

    help them when they read and write. Ask them to clap with you as

    you say these words:



sunshine calendar vacation
delicious dinner astronaut
alphabet communication school
wonderful merry-go-round television


b. Syllable Count

    Have children clap for each syllable you say. Begin with two or three

    syllable words and build up to longer words with more syllables:

               airplane  air  plane 2

               table  ta  ble 2

               porcupine  por  cu  pine 3

               communication  com  mun  i  ca  tion 5



2. Go through some photographs and ask your child for a sentence that

describes the photo. Write the sentence down (i.e. "That's me going down

the slide."). Together, count the words in the sentence and write the

number beside the sentence.



3. As you are reading to your child please point to each word.




Books provide information and enjoyment in our lives, and they are just as important to children. Even if children cannot read, they enjoy looking at the pictures and having someone read to them. It is important to read everyday to your child. Reading before bed will allow them to calm down and relax before falling asleep. This is a special night time activity.


Look for and encourage the following behaviors as you read books with your child:


Does your child:

*describe actions shown in illustrations?

*take part in reading by inserting words and phrases?

*gain information from books about real things?

*recite familiar books in an attempt to "read" from memory?

*indicate an interest in different kinds of books (fantasy, realistic fiction,

     and informational books)?

*follow along in a book as it is read?

*attempt to "read" by looking at illustrations?

*read some words by sounding them out?



Here are some activities that will help your child develop some of these behaviors:



1. Recite a familiar poem or nursery rhyme and allow your child to insert the missing word or words. For example, say, Hey diddle diddle, the cat and the ____, the ____ jumped over the moon. When you're reading to your child you can point to the words, so your child will begin to follow along, reading from left to right.



2. Share a variety of picture books with your child. If your child shows a particular interest in a specific topic, gather picture books that reflect your child's interest area.



3. Reading and telling stories to your child not only provides enjoyment, but helps develop listening skills and increases vocabulary. As you read or tell a story, stop and talk about the pictures or new vocabulary words. After your child has heard a book or a story told several times, your child may want to tell it to you.



4. To help create an interest in books, provide a bookcase for your child's own books. As you enjoy the books with your child, stress the importance of taking good care of books. An inexpensive way to make a bookcase is to cover a box with contact paper.



5. Take your child to the local public library.




Edited and revised - Originally from 1985 - Curriculum Associates, Inc. - Readiness Strategies and Practice




Self-Help Skills



Giving your child more freedom and responsibility in concrete ways helps you feel more confident that your child is capable of succeeding in taking the big step to Kindergarten. Teaching your child how to take care of himself/herself builds feeling of competence and confidence. Remember it is important to rehearse school-related activities.



Our goal is to provide opportunities for the development of the child's self, through respecting and caring for him or herself and others. Self help skills give children opportunities to become independent.



Putting on their Own Coat  


Please work with your child on getting their coat on and off by themselves. If the sleeve gets turn out the wrong way show them how to put their hand back in and pull it out by holding onto the cuff. Help them practice zipping up their coat and getting on and off their backpack over their coat. The more your child can do alone on busy school mornings, the better it is for your child and parents alike. Such self-help skills have a big pay-off in school. When children can get their own coats off, they do not have to ask for help and may, in fact, help others. Such acts can begin friendships.



Snack and Lunch   

Practice having snack and lunch at home with your child. Have your child open his/her own snack and juice box. Independence is encouraged at school. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for Kindergartners is managing a lunch box and juice boxes. Buy your children's lunch box early so that you can have picnic lunches and they can practice how to open all containers.


Please work with your child on all bathroom skills like turning on/off the faucet, washing their hands and flushing the toilet, etc. This should be an independent skill, we can't help.         



Hopefully, some of our students will arrive at school already knowing how to tie their shoes, but most likely, we will have a room full of hanging shoe strings. We would like to suggestion that you begin working on shoe tying at the very beginning of school. It helps if you remove the cord shoelaces that come with many sneakers and replace them with the traditional flat shoelaces. These shoelaces are easier for children to tie, and they stay tied longer than the cord shoelaces. Double knotting the bow helps them stay tied as well.



We think the most important point to remember when teaching a child to tie shoes is for the adult to STOP tying the shoes and give your child time to try themselves, even if it means that the child takes longer. Some children, especially left handers, may need extra time and help. You may consider having a left handed adult teach the left handed children shoe tying skills. Of course, if a child is really struggling, they may not be developmentally ready to learn. In that case, the adult should go ahead and tie the shoes and wait a few weeks or months to begin teaching the skill again.


Check Out My Shoe Lacing Page



This information was prepared with assistance from these sites:


Before Learning to Read