Friday, June 7, 2013

Simple Summer Literacy Activities to Help Children Prepare For Kindergarten

Hello again from Ayn at little illuminations!  

We've just ended our school year and summer has officially begun! In the last couple of weeks of school, I hold parent teacher conferences and one question seems on the top of the parents' list: "What can we do over the summer to help prepare my child for kindergarten?" Often parents want to know about workbooks or websites that they can use to help ready their child for kindergarten in the fall. Workbooks and websites are NOT the answer to kindergarten readiness---hands on learning is!!!

There are some very simple things that can be done via play to help your child get ready. 

Go Outside and Write!  
    Use sidewalk chalk or write in the dirt or sand with sticks. Practice letter formation or spelling simple sight words, depending on your child's current literacy level. 

Make letters or shapes in sand or shaving cream or with objects, or even with their bodies!

Go outside and READ!!! Take a blanket or a chair and a few books with you when you go out to play. Need a little rest from running around? Read a book for a few minutes!There is no rule that says you have to stay inside to read. (Some of my best reading is done at the beach!)

Read books together! 
   Take turns reading familiar stories. After you've read the book to your child, have them "read" to you, using the illustrations as a guide for the story. Don't worry that your child is not actually "reading" the words yet. This is a great first step in early literacy.

Draw a picture and dictate a story, retell a familiar tale or write a letter to your favorite storybook character! 

Visit the library! 
    Libraries frequently have summer story hours and activities. Plus, in this Google/Wikipedia world we live in, it is so easy to run to the internet to find answers. It is never too early to learn to use the library! The earlier children become acquainted with the library, the easier it will be for them to use the amenities later on, when researching.

Do an author/illustrator study! 
  Find an author or illustrator that your child enjoys and explore several of their works. Talk about similarities and differences. Draw a picture that is in the same style as the books you've chosen. After reading the "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive The Bus" series by Mo Willems, one of the kids drew several pictures of the pigeon with crayons, just like in the books. (This one is a pictorial representation of "The Pigeon Wants A Puppy".)

During a Dr. Seuss study, several child drew or made Seussical creatures, often with rhyming names.

While reading Joy Cowley's "Mrs. Wishy-Washy" books, several of the children put on farm animal puppet shows.

Practice measurement skills by cooking! Children love to participate in cooking experiences.  Have them help read the recipe. Get them measuring and pouring! For even more fun, have them dictate the recipe you used after cooking!

All of the above activity ideas are appropriate or adaptable for the early grades, as well as kindergarten age kids. I hope these tips help you to have a fun, active, and productive summer with your young child! Look for a post soon on little illuminations sharing more kindergarten readiness activities in math and science! 

If your family is traveling this summer and you need some good activities for traveling, be sure to check out my post from last summer: Travel Activities.

Stop by and visit me anytime at or visit the little illuminations fanpage on facebook! And be sure to check out PreK+K Sharing EEE!



  1. Great ideas Ayn! I have so many wonderful memories of summer reading activities with my kids! I pinned your post to my Summer Fun Board at

    1. Thanks, Deb! It's always a good time to read, but summer reading just seems sweeter! :)

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  2. Ayn these are some fun ideas. Building skills is important but so is fun (especially in the summer). Using the library is so simple and so accessible. Yet many of my families don't think about it until we remind them. Thanks, Ayn, for these ideas.

    1. You are right, Scott, many families don't think of the library. In my end of the year packets for parents, I include a list of favorite authors we've enjoyed reading. :)

  3. GREAT ideas that are so fun! We always try to pick a good family reading day when it rains, and you can incorporate these activities into a rainy day. Love it!

    1. Thanks, Laura! There is nothing like curling up on a rainy day with a good book!

  4. Pinned, wonderful, sound, and helpful information parents can really apply!


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