Make and read back to school books with kids as they get ready to head into a new school year. It will help as they transition to a new classroom or school!
As a pre-k teacher, with a background teaching kindergarten, I’m often asked how to ease transitions between school years.
Whether it’s moving from preschool to kindergarten, or moving up an age group in preschool, I’m always happy to help with back to school tips.
One tip I always stress involves back to school books – reading them, talking about them, and making them!
Why are Back to School Books Important for Kids?
Young children don’t have a ton of previous experiences to draw from when it comes to back-to-school time. Some preschoolers don’t start until they’re four years old, while others start earlier. Early elementary kiddos run into those same situations. Either way, that’s not very many back-to-school memories!
Because of this, it’s helpful to provide extra information about the whole back-to-school experience. This way, children can learn more about what’s to come. That’s one way back to school books can help! Visiting the new classroom/school/teacher is another way for children to learn and prepare for the year ahead.
On top of that, children need reassurance as they approach new situations. Each child is different, of course, so some might need more reassurance than others (and that’s okay). Back to school books will give kids an opening to ask questions and share any concerns they might have. This can be helpful for parents, too, as it gives more insight into what is on the child’s mind.
Make Back to School Books with the Kids
I’m a big fan of book-making with children. It gives the kids a hands-on way to learn important early literacy skills, and it makes them excited to read! So, of course, I wanted to share how to make back to school books with kids! I love how it combines a trip to check out the new class with book-making.
First, talk with the child about the important parts of the new school day. Tell him you’re going to make a book together, all about the new school year! Talk to him about the different parts of his school and what he might do.
Then grab the camera and go on a trip with the kiddo. Pop over to the school – this is even more important if it’s a new school. Take a picture of the child in front of the school, and don’t forget a picture on the school’s playground. If the school is open (and you’re permitted), go inside and grab photos in other important areas (the classroom, the cafeteria, etc.). A picture with the new teacher would be great, if that’s possible (you can always get one at orientation).
Once you have all the photos, it’s time to get the book together. Make sure the kiddo helps out with this process! The photos can be printed at a local store, then added to a small photo album. They can also be printed out at home and placed in a mini photo book.
How to make your own books
I like to add text to books we make together, and I do this one of two ways. Sometimes I add the photos to a Word document. Once the photo’s in the document, I create a text box and place the text where I want it. This can also be done in Powerpoint or your favorite computer program.
The other way I put together homemade photo books is with PicMonkey, an online photo tool. I open up PicMoney, choose the collage feature, and then pick a simple two-part collage frame. The photo will go in one part, and I’ll leave the other spot blank for text. I save the collage, bring it up in editor, and then add the text.
Once the photo book pages are ready to go, we print them out. Then we staple the book together, or use a hole punch and a binder ring or two.
Then it’s time to read. Read it over and over as the first day of school approaches! Kids may even want to read it after the school year starts, especially since they’ll have experiences to share!
Possible back to school book topics to make
Make a book about the school (Here is my school. Here is my classroom. Here is my teacher. Etc.)
Create a book based on what the child will do each day (I will draw. I will build. I will listen to books. Etc.).
Put together a book about what the classroom will have (There will be pencils. There will be crayons. Etc.).
Once school has started, make a book about their class “family”. (I see Henry. I see Katie. Etc.)
Back to School Books to Read to the Kids
Of course I have to share some fun back to school books to read with the kiddos too! There are tons of back to school books out there, I know! Below are just some of my favorites.
More Ideas for Preschool Back to School
Back to School Tips for Parents PLUS Visual Morning Chart! by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
Starting Kindergarten-Books and Activities by Capri + 3
4 Back to School Tips: Preparing for School by Learning 2 Walk
Preparing for Preschool: Creative Center in a Box by Powerful Mothering
How to Plan for Preschool at Home by Mom Inspired Life
Supporting preschool learning at home by Rainy Day Mum
Setting Literacy Goals by Growing Book by Book
How to Use Preschool Busy Boxes by Play Teach Repeat
Traditional Preschool or Homeschool Preschool or Both? by Still Playing School
Teaching Preschool at Home by Raising Lifelong Learners
Preparing for School Brings Mixed Emotions for both Parents and Children by The Educators’ Spin On It
Preparing a Hands-On Preschool at Home by Life Over C’s
Originally published August 5, 2015