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Get Ready for the First Day of K!


My girls are finally going to be seniors! It’s hard to imagine when it seems like yesterday we were getting ready for their first day of kindergarten. That said, many of you are just beginning the journey. I’m revising this list of picture books I posted many years ago for families looking to ease the transition to PreK and Kindergarten. This time I’m including links to YouTube Read-Alouds. If you have favorites that aren’t on this list, please share your favorites in the comments below.

Kindergarten is a great place to make new friends!

Top 10 Video Read-Alouds to Get Ready for the First Day of School!

My daughter show me her “kissing had” as my daughters’ head out on their first day of Kindergarten.

One of my favorite books of all time will always be Audrey Penn’s, the The Kissing Hand. In the story the Mama Raccoon sends her nervous baby off to school with a magical kissing hand that won’t rub off to give him a sense of safety as he embarks on his first day. My kids loved this idea and it became a way to provide comfort for one another when we knew we would not be able to physically be together during tough times.

YEARS LATER, my children even gave me kissing hands when they left for school while I was suffering the effects of chemotherapy during my cancer treatment. 🙂

So, for all the kiddos out there facing the big shift from summer to Pre-K, Kindergarten, or a new school for the first time I’ve put together my list of favorite Read Aloud videos to help ease the transition.

Top 10 Books that Ease the Transition to School

These books are great conversation starters to talk with your kids about the excitement and worries about going to school:

The School Book by Todd Parr

Recommended Age: 1-3

This book provides a preview for our littlest littles of what to expect with lots of silliness along the way. It also offers lots of good advice for Pre-K kids. Especially, remember not to pick your nose!

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Recommended Age: 1-3

Baby owls wake up and their mother is gone! This was one of the first books I ever read with my girls where the message carried on. We used this book as a reminder that “Momma owls always come back!”

I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas

Recommended Age: 1-3

When I asked for a recommendation from my girls, this one was on the top on their list. Mommy pig reassures her little one about being away at preschool.

My Preschool by Anne Rockwell

Recommended Age: 1-3

This book gives children entering preschool a good picture of what their day will be like. Colorful illustrations show your child the fun of preschool: storytime, playtime and making new friends.

Lola Goes to School by Anna McQuinn

Recommended Age: 2-5

Lola gives littles a preview of what a day at school is like. Follow Lola throughout her day.

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes and Vanessa Brantley-Newton

And read by Terry Crews!

Recommended Age: Kindergarten

I can’t tell what’s better, the animation or Terry Crews’ reading of the story. What a great way to pump up excitement for your child’s first day of K!

The Pigeon Has to Go to School by Mo Williams

Recommended Age: 2-8

I love the Pigeon books. If you child is expressing worries about their first day, this book is for you! This animated video of the book is a super silly way to talk about fears about your child’s first day of school. This one wasn’t out when my kids were little, but if it were, I would have shown them this video (or read it in my silliest voice) and asked for advice for Pigeon. (Giving advice is one way kids can build a sense of efficacy. Even littles want to feel a sense of personal power.)

The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

Recommended Age: 3-6

This is one of my all-time favorites! A mommy raccoon eases her baby raccoon’s worries about the first day by sending him to school with a kiss. Once you read this book, you will want to send your child to school with a “kissing hand” too.

When Pencil Met Eraser

Recommended Age: 4-7

A good read for the first week and potential adjustments with new peers. This book highlights that we all have different skills and perspectives to contribute.

Lunch Bunnies by Kathryn Lasky

Recommended Age: 4-8

Claude has horrible nightmares, worrying about his first day of school. His fears are of course fueled by his older brother Jefferson who tells him about the “mystery goosh” served by the scary, hairy, lunchroom ladies in the cafeteria. This is a great story for talking about overcoming our fears. It is also a good lesson about how when we take on new challenges we often find unforeseen opportunities to make new friends.

What books are your family favorites? Post your recommendations below!

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