Preparatory weeks in August before the First Day of School can be magical for some children, angst-filled for others: academic expectations, a new teacher, the expectancy of friends new and old, a thrill of brand new school supplies. Take a deep breath, caregivers, and read on for suggestions and story recommendations to help ease the back-to-school transition.
Use Reading as a Primer for Schoolwork
- Invigorate mental focus, reading fluency, decoding and comprehension, vocabulary, and even math skills with reading for pleasure
- Establish a regular practice of at least 20 minutes of family reading time that can be continued throughout the year. Read aloud a book together, or curl up in your favorite room as a group for independent reading (benefits: relaxation, family time, and model reading all-in-one!)
- Try partner reading – taking turns or reading aloud at the same time with your child – perhaps one paragraph for beginning readers, up to alternating chapters for fluent readers. Add entertainment value by using an expressive tone and varying your voice for different characters (discover other alternatives for oral reading)
- Listen to audiobooks (see blog post MCFL Kids: Audiobook Summer!)
- Re-read books that are “oldies but goodies” for pure contentment
- Make reading social by discussing a book your child is reading or in a book club setting
- Attend library programs and plan for extra time to discover new titles during your visit
- Incentivize with the library summer reading program (it’s not too late!)
Return to Bedtime Schedules
Send your child back-to-school on a full tank of restful sleep. Each night, back up “lights-out” time by 10-15 minutes until the desired bedtime for school nights is reached (see sleep guidelines by age from the American Academy of Pediatrics).
Ease First Day Jitters
Reading stories about other kids experiencing similar emotions can encourage children to talk about their own feelings of anticipation or discomfort.
After that First Day arrives – celebrate!