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The First Day of School is around the corner for many of us, and if your child is anything like mine, they are nervous, excited, anxious, worried, thrilled, and many more emotions! My 5 year old is downright “NOT GOING TO KINDERGARTEN” which he announced loud and clear in the checkout line at Target.
As a Reading Specialist, I decided to purchase some books that may help calm my little one’s fears and worries about school. I’ve put together a collection of what I believe are the best 15 books that can help your child deal with a variety of emotions about school.
First Day of School by Mercer Mayer
Little Critter books are recognizable and a favorite among many children. Little Critter is nervous while getting ready for school, and he anticipates all the things he’ll do while at school. But, there’s a lot he has to do before he can get ready for school. This book can help your child see that he/she can help with the school preparations too. Plus, this is a “Lift the Flap” adventure book about all the things in store for Little Critter at school.
Splat the Cat Back to School, Splat! by Rob Scotton
Splat the Cat is another recognizable character that children love. When Splat gets to school, he gets homework on the first night! His homework assignment is to pick just one of his favorite summer activities to share with his friends. What will the best part of his summer be? You’ll have to read to find out!
Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
This book is great for calming any fears about Kindergarten because it shows the readers both sides of getting ready for school. It shows the kids getting ready for school, as well as Miss Bindergarten preparing her classroom. What also makes this book great is that it’s a learning tool! Miss B. has 26 students in her class–and their names each begin with a letter of the alphabet. Their names are also the names of animals, Adam is an Alligator, Brenda is a Beaver, etc. What a great way to get some alphabet practice in while reading!
The Night Before First Grade by Natasha Wing
I love these books because they are rhyming books. Plus there are other titles, such as “The Night Before Kindergarten”, etc. This book is all about the realities of being nervous for your first day of school, so it gives kids a perspective on what to expect at school. It’s a great book for conquering first day jitters!
Mind Your Manners in School by Arianna Candell
This book is a collection of all the manners and behaviors that are appropriate for school. I think this book is great for any age just as a refresher on what’s appropriate for school, because all children get a little relaxed on manners during summer vacation. This book covers topics such as sharing, picking up after yourself, taking care of friendships, and many more! This is a great book for teachers and students alike.
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
This book is geared toward all ages as well. I feel that this is one of the more important books that should be read before going back to school, and even as a refresher in the middle of the school year. With all the bullying topics in the news today, this book can really address how students should act toward others. This book helps kids see that not everyone has the latest fashions, and that not everyone is as trendy as their neighbor. This book teaches the difference between “want” and “need”, and addresses the topic of accepting others for who they are, not what they may or may not have.
Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School by Herman Parish
Ok, who can resist Amelia Bedelia? I put this book in the collection because of the comic relief Amelia provides. She’s goofy and funny, and will make the children laugh. And sometimes laughter is all we need to calm our fears. Amelia’s excitement for school just explodes through the story, and it can really help your child become excited too! “Hooray for School!”
Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney
If you haven’t read any Llama, Llama books, you should! They are fantastic! This one is particular is great for addressing separation anxiety. Llama goes to school for the first time, and is devastated when his mommy leaves. His friends help him see just how fun preschool can be. The day goes by so fast, that Mama is back before little Llama knows it. It’s important for our younger children to realize that we will ALWAYS come back.
Countdown to Kindergarten by Alison McGhee
For all the new Kindergarteners out there! This is the perfect countdown book! It’s a counting book that counts down form only “10 days left till school”. We all know that one of the expectations of going to Kindergarten is learning how to tie your shoes–and this book addresses that. The cat in the story also provides a lot of comic relief. This is also a great book for parents to see that issues that we think are minor can cause much anxiety for our kids.
The Best Seat in Second Grade by Katharine Kenah
In this book, Sam wants to be the class “hamster helper” but his turn is taking a long time to come. Unfortunately instead of being patient, Sam takes matters into his own hands one day while his class is on a field trip. This is a great book about patience and how important it is to follow the rules. Because it’s an “I can Read Book” many 2nd graders may be able to read this one on their own.
If You Take A Mouse To School by Laura Numeroff
I included this book in the collection, because the “if you” series from Laura Numeroff are downright funny. If you take a mouse to school, he’ll ask for your lunchbox. When you give him your lunchbox, he’ll want…This book is an adventure all throughout the first day of school. This book is also great for teaching a very important reading skill: Prediction. Before you read the next part, let your child tell you what he thinks the mouse will ask for next.
Maisy Goes to Preschool by Lucy Cousins
Not all of our children are going to grade school for the first time, some are going to preschool this fall. I included this book because Maisy is an old favorite of mine. This book talks all about playtime, snack time, potty time, nap time, and more! This book will take your child through the day in the life of a preschooler. It’s a great book for showing your child what to expect on their first day of preschool.
Sam and Gram and the First Day of School by Dianne Blomberg
This book portrays a little boy’s first day of school. What I love most about this book is that it includes a parent/guardian section for adults on how they can help prepare their children to greet the first day of school with enthusiasm, confidence, and excitement. This book touches on a wide variety of feelings your child may feel on their first day, until everything becomes more familiar.
First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
This book is hilarious! This book is about Sarah and how scared she is to start over in a new school. She has a pit in her stomach and her nervousness consumes her, until she finds a new friend. Sarah finally pulls it together and goes to school to conquer the first day. The exciting twist? Sarah is Mrs. Sarah Hartwell, a TEACHER! Your kids will love the surprise of knowing that Sarah is actually a teacher who is feeling just as nervous as the students!
Follow the Line to School by Laura Ljungkvist
These “Follow The Line” books are just great all around. First, the illustrations are VERY well done as each picture is created by one single line that carries on and on throughout the whole book. This is a fun and interactive book that will quiet your child’s fear for just a moment while they explore this story. It’s unique, interactive, and engaging text takes children on an adventure through the whole school–from the classroom, to the library, to recess, to the science corner, and more!
That wraps up my collection! I hope you found some books you can pick up to read with your children before their first day of school. Don’t forget to read with your children at least 30 minutes a day. It’s crucial to their cognitive, social, and emotional development, and very important for their developing reading skills–you don’t always have to be the reader, let your child read to you too!