Monday, January 05, 2009

Book Review: "Let's Get Ready for Kindergarten!" and "Let's Get Ready for First Grade!"

My twins just turned 5 and are in pre-Kindergarten. This is a really critical age in their education as they are learning about letters and numbers, short words, shapes and colors, money and time, the calendar, and so much more! I’m just amazed at all of the knowledge they’ve picked up this year, as well as how those little wheels in their brains have been turning! Every day, they seem to get smarter and amaze me with what they know.

Parents of kids this age often want to know if their children are on target. How high should they be able to count? Should they be able to recognize both upper- and lowercase letters? Is it too early to learn small words? So, I was really excited to find the books Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready for First Grade! published by Cedar Valley Publishing. These children’s books demonstrate exactly what kids should be learning to be ready for school.

I must admit that I was a little hesitant to review these books because I envisioned the boring workbooks that you often see at the store. But I was highly surprised to find that these books are very different! Each book is centered on a classroom of children (called the Cedar Valley Kids) led by a teacher. The characters are colorfully and engagingly illustrated, and appear on various pages of the book. The extra-heavy-duty pages of the book allow families to read them over and over again as children get better at learning each lesson. But the real test for me was my children’s response to the books. I’m pleased to announce that they absolutely loved them! Honestly, they’ve asked me to read these books to them over and over again, and they delight in being able to answer more questions with each reading.

As I said, my boys are in pre-K, so they can do most of the lessons in Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten!, although there are still a few that they need to learn, such as recognizing numbers over 20 and the various coins we use. Of course, there is a lot more that they don’t know in Let’s Get Ready for First Grade!, but now I can really see how much they’ll progress in just one year, and help them move toward the goal of mastering that book, too.

These books were created by Stacey Kannenberg, who has morphed from a mom and wife into an author, publisher, speaker, motivator, consultant, blogger, and spokesperson! She started her own publishing company, Cedar Valley Publishing, which also publishes other books. And Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten! will soon be available in a Spanish/English version! Her books are not only award-winning, but they’re currently used in more than 350 school districts across the nation. Best of all, she donates 10% of the profits to literacy causes and schools.

I highly recommend Let’s Get Ready for Kindergarten! and Let’s Get Ready for First Grade! for preschool and early elementary children. Your kids will like them so much that they will embrace learning without frustration. And you’ll love that you can help them learn new skills while having fun together.

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