Monday, July 10, 2017

K is for Kindergarten

K is for Kindergarten
written by Erin Dealey; illustrated by Joseph Cowman
2017 (Sleeping Bear Press)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

C is for crayons and coloring
How creative can you be? 
Glitter, scissors, paste and yarn-
Make some art for all to see!

Future kindergarten students are probably in two camps in the last weeks leading up to their start of K-12. They're either super excited or a little anxious about this big event. Either way, K is for Kindergarten will be a splendid way to help them prepare. Since there are many books about beginning kindergarten, what sets this book apart from the crowd? First, writing the book with the alphabet as a template will catch the eye of students and their parents. Learning your letters is a big deal for the first year of school. Still, other books may have rhyming quatrains and incorporate the alphabet. What I think is a bigger deal are the tips and activities that accompany every two page spread. This is a very clever and helpful idea to integrate with the rhyming lines. For example, with the letter D, a game called Hidden Treasure will help children work on following directions. With step by step instructions, they get to direct a family member or friend to find a hidden object in a room. How much better is that idea than simply telling a child to follow directions in school? You are illustrating the importance of following directions through the use of a fun game. J stands for jitters so the activity is to have a family member draw a picture of what kindergarten was like for them. They compare their picture to what the incoming student has drawn. The two can compare and share how they feel about kindergarten. This book is full of ideas that will help prepare children for this important step. Another big plus is the artwork. It's fun, colorful, and full of diverse characters. These illustrations bring back fond memories of the times that I have worked with kindergarten students.

As a teacher, I think July is the perfect time to find this book. I like the idea of easing students into the path towards starting school. Spend a little time each day and maybe share one letter at bedtime or during the day. The activities will certainly be a benefit. K is for Kindergarten is a great way to kick off a landmark year in a child's life.

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