8 Things Your Pre-Kindergartner Should Know by Academic Achievers

Julian, at Academic Achiever's Kinder-Prep
Julian, a super-cute student at Academic Achiever’s KinderPrep


For some of you, helping your preschooler get ready for kindergarten is something you’re thinking a lot about, maybe even worried about. If so, Academic Achievers has a program designed with your family in mind–a pre-kindergarten literacy program to help promote a secure foundation for when your little one starts kindergarten. Here’s what your pre-kindergartner should know when they start kindergarten at many of L.A.’s private schools.These are exactly the skills they will learn in the one-on-one KinderPrep Summer Camp at Academic Achievers. You may recall the previous guest post written by Janis Adams, founder of KinderPrep. She’s in the loop with L.A.’s admissions directors. This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just information I’m sharing with our readers–Christina 


1. Explicit Instruction & Independent Practice: Our teachers first model, and then give explicit directions on learning strategies for our early learners. Once the student has had exposure to modeling of the specific learning skill, the student can begin to have independent practice with individual skills, which will help our teachers determine your student’s level of proficiency.


2. Shared Reading & Guided Reading: Early learners enrolled in our program will have unique exposure to shared and guided reading. During shared reading, students may review many literary terms such as characters, setting, vocabulary development, and more. During our guided reading time, students will be given pre-decodable and decodable stories based on their assessed level of development. Our teachers will pin point and monitor independent reading through this activity.


3. Phonological Awareness: Through a variety of activities encompassed in phonological awareness, children will explore through music, reading, and hands on fun!  Some of the specific skills we will focus on in our one on one sessions and summer program include: rhyming, syllabication, sentence segmentation, and onset/rime, the building blocks on phonological awareness.


4. Phonemic Awareness: Phonemic awareness is a great predictor of reading success and provides opportunities for young learners to blend, segment, and substitute sounds. Our teachers can provide kinesthetic opportunities for children to learn how to blend sounds by laying large letter cards on the carpet and having the student blend the sounds and walk by the word. This activity will reach learning through kinesthetic means and support active learners.


5. Oral Language Exposure: Our teachers use many forms musical experiences through songs, finger plays, and responsive communication to practice blending, segmenting, and substitution of sounds. For example, a teacher and child may sing the song Apples and Bananas, and substitute the word bananas for bononos!


6. Phonics Fun!: Our teachers use the latest in the application of letter and sound knowledge to teach consonants, short vowels, diagraphs, blends, and long vowels. Many of the fun activities we implement our sessions include word sorts, word work, and opportunities for interactive writing.


7. Vocabulary Development: Research by Tomkins (2011) suggests that kindergarten students should be able to identify words with opposite meanings and should have a repertoire of a few thousand vocabulary words. Here at Academic Achievers, teachers diligently work one on one with your child to ensure that their vocabulary is advancing through one on one conversations, the introduction to new vocabulary during shared reading time, and through word activities such as word sorts, which are used to group words by genre and word structure. Yet another activity we implement in our sessions is the use of Language Experience Approach (LEA), which gives children the opportunity to discuss stories and new information that has been learned.


8. Comprehension: Oftentimes, students can impact their depth and breadth of story content by retelling the events in recently read stories. Yet another strategy many of our teachers implement is the use of KWL charts to categorize the information that is known about a book, the information that is desired to be learned, and finally what was learned from the story. This activity helps children remember the information they knew at the beginning of reading and helps children see what they came away knowing.


By Elizabeth Fraley, M. Ed., Director, KinderPrep Camp, Academic Achievers, Santa Monica. For More Information, contact Academic Achievers at 310-883-5810 (June 23-July 31). Or click on Academic Achievers.