Younger kids can be scared about starting school, too! They might be going to daycare or preschool for the first time, and it can be scary and unfamiliar, especially if they're used to being home or with family. Here are some great books I've found for younger readers, specifically toddler to pre-kindergarten, but of course I think that these books are fun (and can be adapted) for kids of any age!
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Back to School: For Younger Readers
It's Your First Day of School, Busy Bus! by Jody Jensen Shaffer, illustrated by Claire Messer, is about Busy Bus being nervous as he prepares for his first day of school. This book gives great opportunities for physical engagement and movement, which is so important for younger readers! When Busy Bus tries out his new stop sign, wipers, and horn, I use some of the motions from Wheels on the Bus. It helps those younger kids (potentially unfamiliar with school, and almost always not fans of sitting still!) really engage with and stay interested in the story.
Choo-Choo School by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Mike Yamada, is a fun rhyming book about seven train cars going to school. The illustrations are bright and engaging, and what the trains learn are great jumping off points to relate back to the young students' new classroom rules and lessons. For example, the trains learn the classroom rules, how to be kind, how to count, and more.
So Big! by Mike Wohnoutka is a great book to use to talk about what's happening in the story and what emotions the characters are feeling. There are very few words - mostly just "so big" used in different ways to portray how Bear feels, or how the school looks to him. This is a book that can get readers involved in telling the story by asking them what they see on each page, how that makes Bear feel, how they feel, and more.
Bear's Big Day by Salina Yoon is a a sweet book about how young kids don't need to feel like they have to be "big" when they start school. Bear misses his stuffed bunny, Floppy, but thinks he's too big to take a stuffed animal to school. He feels alone and doesn't engage in any of the classroom activities because he misses Floppy too much. Bear talks to his teacher and together they work out the perfect solution! This is a nice jumping off point to ask students about stuffed animals or comfort objects they have at home (or at school, if they are allowed to bring them for nap). Salina Yoon's books are always adorably illustrated, too, though I'm slightly biased because she is one of the first authors my son would request when he was just learning to speak!