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Child's Abilities Confirm School Readiness

And How to Foster a Love of Reading in Your Child

Each week in Moms Talk, our Moms Council of experts and smart moms take your questions, give advice and share solutions.

Question: I am worried about whether or not my child is ready for kindergarten.

Answer: This is one of those all-time hard decisions we have to make as parents.  The following points will help you make that decision:

• Is your child enthusiastic toward learning? Is he eager to explore and discover? Is he comfortable asking questions? Does he persist even when a task is difficult?

• What are his/her language skills like? Does she communicate her needs? Express her feelings appropriately?

• Does your child have the ability to listen? Can he follow simple instructions? Is he able to listen to an entire story without interrupting?

• Does your child desire to be independent? Does she separate from parents for the school day? Is she starting to take responsibility for her personal belongings? Can she follow simple two-step tasks? Can she use the bathroom by herself?

• Does your child have the ability to interact with children and adults? Is he able to share, compromise, take turns and problem-solve?

• Does your child have strong fine-motor skills? Is she able to hold and use a pencil? Cut with scissors? Is she learning to write her name?

• Does your child have basic letter and number awareness? Can he sing and recite the alphabet and recognize some letters? Can he count to 10 and identify numbers one to five?

Question: My child is supposed to read every night but does not have a book series she loves. What can I do?

Answer: There are so many reasons why reading every night is important, but it is so important for your child to love what he or she reads. This might be a magazine such as American Girl or Sports Illustrated, or it may be the sports page of the local paper. It is even OK to read and re-read favorites over and over if that is what they love. Enlist your child’s teacher to help you find “just right” books for your child. 

The Book Wizard website by Scholastic is very helpful in choosing books based on what I know my child likes. It can help you search based on reading level or topic. I have also found my children to be motivated by my saying you can’t see the movie until you have read the book. So you can read a book like "Beezus and Ramona" by Beverly Clearly before seeing the movie.

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