Experts across the nation agree that the more prepared a child is for of kindergarten, the more likely that child is to succeed in school. While this may seem daunting, there are some key ways everyone in a child’s life can help get them ready to learn. Kindergarten readiness starts at birth. Here are some ways you can help your child.
The number of words a child hears spoken to them by another person (and not from a device) is a predictor of kindergarten readiness. Statistics show that low-income children hear 30 million fewer words by 18 months old than their middle- and upper-income peers. So, talk, talk, talk to your kids, every day!
The number of letters a child recognizes on Day 1 of kindergarten predicts whether they’ll learn to read on time. On average, a middle-income child recognizes 22 letters of the alphabet at kindergarten entry, while a low-income child only recognizes about 9. So, sing the alphabet song with your littlest kids and help them practice writing the letters of their names! Check out some of the links below for more ways to help build your child’s letter knowledge.
The more books a young child has at home, the stronger their early literacy skills will be. On average, a middle-income child has 13 books at home. For low-income children, there’s an average of 1 book for every 300 kids. Star City Reads works to reverse this trend by distributing books to children across the city. Since 2012, we’ve distributed over 130,000 books to Roanoke children!
Even if you can’t build a home library, you can expose your child to reading by bringing them to the closest public library. Visit https://roanokeva.gov/892/Libraries to find a library near you.
Roanoke Baby: Did you know that the Roanoke Public Libraries wrote a board book for babies? Did you also know that that book is given to every child born at Carilion Clinic? Copies can also be purchased at any Roanoke Public Libraries location for $10. [Link to https://starcityreads.org/our-programs/roanoke-baby-board-book/}]
Play is a crucial part of a child’s development. Inspired by another library, we have a circulating toy program at the Roanoke Public Libraries geared toward children from 6 months through 6 years of age. Families can check out toys that support critical developmental skills for young children, including fine motor skills, cognition, and imagination. Each toy comes with a book related to the toy or to the skill that toy supports. Toys can be checked out from the Main Library and returned to any Roanoke Valley Libraries location.
Learning starts long before a child goes to kindergarten. Preschool is a wonderful way to help build your child’s brain and social skills before they go to elementary school. Our friends at Smart Beginnings (https://www.uwrv.org/early-learners/smart-beginnings/) are working to make sure that every Roanoke preschooler attends a high-quality early learning program.
Looking for an affordable, quality preschool? There are multiple high-quality preschool options in Roanoke, including TAP Head Start and Early Head Start and the Roanoke City Public Schools pre-k classes. Check out:
- RCPS Pre-K: https://rcps.info/departments/instructional_department/preschool_programs.
- TAP Head Start: https://tapintohope.org/program/head-start-and-early-head-start/
- Virginia Quality’s Search Tool: https://www.virginiaquality.com/parents,
For more information about school readiness, visit: https://gradelevelreading.net/our-work/school-readiness
Here are some of our favorite school readiness websites:
ABC YA: https://www.abcya.com/
PBS Kids: https://pbskids.org/
Sesame Street for Caregivers: https://www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits
Talk With Me Baby: http://www.talkwithmebaby.org/