Question: I think that my child is truly ready for kindergarten. What worries me is that our school district expects children to begin to read during kindergarten. We have read to her forever, and she can read some words on signs such as "stop" and the names of fast-food restaurants. Is there any test that you know of that I could give her that would reassure me that she is ready to learn to read? -- Anxious
Answer: There definitely is a good test to see if your child is ready to learn to read. It can be found at GetReadyToRead.org and is called the "Get Ready to Read Screening Tool." It is designed specifically for children in the year before they start kindergarten. It only takes parents 10 to 15 minutes to give this test. Be sure to read what to do after using this test. This excellent website also has skill-building activities to help children get ready to read as well as animated online games. All are designed to enhance their pre-reading skills.
If your child shows an active interest in reading, we have developed a series of word family readers -- called "Skinny Books" -- that will get her started reading almost immediately. There are 42 rhyming word stories that children think are fun to read. They are on our DearTeacher.com website and soon will be available on a Skinny Book app. In both versions, children can hear the stories being read before they attempt to read them.