What do you say when your kindergarten parents ask for reading tips? Do you struggle to offer them concrete, practical activities to do at home? I sure did! Until I got my little secret weapon ready, I found myself digging through files and grabbing charts and flashcards to send home with students who needed a little more support. I didn’t really have a solid plan or solution ready when parents asked for it.
Kindergarten has changed so much since we were there. It’s similar to first grade in so many ways. Parents don’t always realize that when their first little one is in school. Making them aware and helping them help their child at home I have always felt is part of my job. The result is often more success for the student in reading.
The Solution: Reading Tips for Kindergarten Parents in a Packet
With the help of my old team, they shared an idea that they had been doing for years. I started to send home organized packets of reading tips for kindergarten parents. Most of the time, I sent these home over the summer. Then, I also decided to start sending some home in January. This would get struggling readers a little extra help during the year.
Making parents aware of where their student is in the middle of the year gives them an opportunity to try to help them get on level before first grade. If needed, I would readjust the packet some and send it home for the summer, too. I wanted to give parents as much support as possible so they felt confident in helping their own children.
What’s in the parent packet?
My team and I came up with a fabulous list of hands-on, simple, and effective activities parents could do at home. We also wanted something easy for us to put together that wasn’t too time-consuming.
Here’s what I decided to include:
- A parent letter | It’s important for parents to understand the academic progress that their child has made, and the progress they have yet to make. Transparency is key.
- 3 on level books | To boost reading skills, students must practice reading. I sent home three books on the child’s reading level to practice reading with their parents. (You can get your own set of books to send home and use in guided reading in my Kindergarten Guided Reading Bundle. It has six books for each level, scripted lesson plans, word work activities, parent involvement notes, and more!)
- Kindergarten sight word list | For some students, I would include both the list and a set of flashcards. You can easily make these in a document and print out several copies for all of your students who need one, or just write the words on note cards.
- An alphabet chart (Get it here FREE!) | At home, parents can quiz students over letters and letter sounds. They can also play simple games like I Spy, too. For the alphabet chart, students can touch each letter of the alphabet, say the sound, and name the corresponding picture. For example, “A. /a/ /a/ apple. B. /b/ /b/ bee.”
- A decoding strategies bookmark | This is super handy for students to use and for parents to learn what the decoding strategies are. You can grab mine in this bundle of decoding strategy posters.
- Activities focusing on letter names and sounds | These could be something from literacy stations they have been practicing or just simple activities parents can do at home with supplies they probably already have.
- Letter tracing book | If students were still struggling with letter identification in January, it became more critical that they master these to increase reading capabilities. You can download and print a FREE letter tracing book from this post HERE.
It all could fit in a large Ziploc baggie and very little of it is time-consuming. All of the activities could be done in about five minutes. Sometimes, that five extra minutes a day is all that a little one needs to give them that extra push.
Final Thoughts About Sharing Reading Tips with Kindergarten Parents
Be sure to talk to parents before sending the activities home. Personally, I liked to chat on the phone or have them come for a mini-conference. Then, I could show them everything in the packet and how to use it.
I wanted them to understand the importance of the reading tips packet, not have it get lost with the regular papers that go home every day. In other words, the key here is intentionality.
Other Helpful Resources
First Grade Guided Reading at Home is just what it sounds like – a parent-friendly version of guided reading. The bundle has levels E-J. Each of the levels has four books in printable and digital versions plus scripted lesson plans, word work components, and teaching posters. These kits make supporting reading at home a breeze!
If you want to help students practice specific phonemic awareness skills, check out the Phonemic Awareness Activities for Intervention. It has 27 activities plus assessments, data recording pages, and binder section dividers for you. If you have a student really struggling with something specific, you could include an activity from this pack in your parent packet.
To help track and monitor sight word progress, you should check out the Kindergarten Sight Word Data and Tracking kit. It has everything you need to assess students on their sight words, track and analyze data, include students in on tracking their own data, and make a class progress display.
My students who had a firm foundation of phonological awareness are my students who were on level or above grade level. They thrive in the classroom while learning how to read and understand phonics.
If you have any students struggling with reading, try sending home something like this parent packet to share reading tips for kindergarten parents. If you already do something like this, do you include anything else? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!