Sunday, July 29, 2012

Great Books to Prepare Children to Start School

My wee five year old started school last week!

For many of us who work in the school system in Cherokee County, Georgia, the summer is almost over.  It was back to work this week for preplanning days and then, next week--school starts!  Children and parents alike start the school year with mixed feelings.  There is the anticipation and excitement about a new year.  There is regret and sadness that summer and all the activities that go along with it are over.
I’m reminded of a Peanuts cartoon I saw where Charlie Brown says to his little sister, 
“School starts Monday.” 
To which she replies, “Not for me!” 
“What do you mean, not for you?” Charlie Brown asks. 
“I went last year!” she says. 

I think many kids could empathize with that statement. Often the first day of school is one of fun and excitement, but what about the second day or the fiftieth or the hundredth day? Many children then feel the anticipation of a fun first day is over and there is the realization that this school stuff is more than a onetime thing. As one crying student told me the second week of school, “My brother didn’t tell me kindergarten would be so hard!”

There a are lots of great books that you can use either in a classroom or at home to help prepare children for the school days ahead.  Here are  several:  

I Love You All Day Long is a  lovely encouraging book by Francesca Rusackas.  It begins with an anxious child who asks his mother, "Do I have to go today?" to which his mother replies, "Yes you do have to go today...But you should always remember this, I love you when I'm with you and I love you when we're apart."  The remainder of the book involves the mother gently reassuring her son how much she loves him in all situations throughout the day, ending with a joyful reunion at the end.  I would definitely reccomend it to any anxious parent or child for a reassuring way to prepare for the inevitable separations of school and other activities.

No More Pencils, No More Books, by is another great book to read with a new first grader to reassure them about those questions they might have like, Will the teacher be nice?  Will first grade be too hard?  Will they make friends...

A book that I've used quite a few times to begin the year is Never Spit On Your Shoes by Denys Cazet.  It is a humorous look at the first day of school.  Students suggest rules for the classroom such as Never spit on your shoes, tour the building and learn their daily routine.  It will have you and your students chuckling at the real life  experiences in the book.  

Finally, stay tuned for the the next Wyatt book.  I am just now approving the final copy and should have it out in print in a few short weeks.  It is all about Wyatt starting kindergarten and learning that change can be a fun and exciting thing.  

Do you have any books you'd recommend for children to read as they start the school year?

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